In Support of Student Owned Technology in the Classroom
Today's guest blog post comes to us from Jeannie Galindo. Jeannie has served public education in the state of Florida for twenty-three years as a classroom teacher and administrator. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC and a Master’s Degree in the Administration of Educational Programs from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Certifications from the State of Florida include Secondary Social Studies and School Principal. National Board Certification was achieved in Adolescence and Young Adulthood Social Studies - History.
Should students be able to use their own technology in the classroom?
As districts struggle to meet the challenge of unfunded mandates with shrinking budgets, it makes sense to explore ways to not only maximize the return on technology investment but also to leverage the potential of all available technology to transform teaching and learning.
While opponents argue that tablets, computers and cell phones in school contribute to student distraction and facilitate cheating, the truth of the matter is that distraction occurs when students lack meaningful, relevant interaction with content and that cheating is greatly diminished when assessments require students apply what they have learned to solving complex real world problems
Much has been learned from 1:1 computing initiatives across the country. Implementers concur that when each student is equipped with a computing device, the opportunities for individualized, facilitated hands-on learning increases. Students will devote increased attention to their work and learning can be differentiated to accommodate individual learning styles. Additionally, 1:1 computing provides expanded access to information and resources.
Today’s mobile devices, including but not limited to student owned cell phones, are essentially computers. They tend to exploit newer input technologies, (for instance, gestures, accelerometers and gyroscopes), that are more intuitive than keystrokes and commands. You can do virtually the same things on all devices, albeit in different ways. Given that districts can’t begin to find dollars in this economy to fund 1:1 computing, it makes sense to exploit the computing power of the devices students are carrying around in their backpacks and pockets.
Students in general become distracted when they find little meaningful connection between what they are being asked to know and be able to do and their own experience of the real world. Opponents may argue that technology in the classroom is a source of the distraction rather than critically examining both the rigor and relevance of the day’s learning. If 65% of students have admitted to texting in class, why not use texting as a means to increase student collaboration and engagement
? It’s how this generation communicates.
Others argue that technology in the classroom facilitate cheating.
Technology is essentially a collection of tools available for use to innovate, create and collaborate
. While the potential exists to use available technology for ill, I would suggest that cheating is more a function of poorly designed assessments than it is the result of student-to-student communication. When student knowledge, achievement and understanding is measured by assessments that require them to apply what they have learned to solve real world problems, instances of cheating are greatly diminished.
In short, while districts mourn the loss of funding from all sources, efforts must be made to maximize the potential of existing resources, including student owned mobile computing devices and open educational resources like CK-12. Increasing student engagement through interaction with curriculum that is both rigorous and relevant, utilizing whatever technology is available, will decrease the degree to which students are distractible. When assessments are designed to challenge students to demonstrate understanding at increasing levels of cognitive complexity, cheating becomes an ineffective strategy.
Click below to contribute to the CK-12 blog.