Sunday, December 13, 2009

So You Think You Can Teach with Tech Tools!

Since 2004 I have been teaching a course through the State University of NY at Buffalo presently called Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts in L2.  The purpose of the course is to familiarize pre-service and in-service teachers with various free, online tools that they can use to enhance the teaching/learning experience.  I could feel the excitement of the students as they blogged about how they could use these tools in their own classrooms, but then I began to worry that in their enthusiasm they might lose sight of their instructional goals.  

Judi Harris and Mark Hofer wrote in Grounded Tech Integration in the ISTE magazine Learning and Leading with Technology,  "Most technology integration strategies begin with and focus on the technologies' affordances and constraints - what they can help us do and their limitations.  Unfortunately, this approach does not ensure that educational technologies will be well integrated into instruction that is keyed to specific content-based learning goals".

However, I have decided that the tools I teach about and the teaching goals the students need to keep in mind are like the partners in a dance.  The tools that we as educators have literally at our  fingertips today are recent  developments. Before we can decide  how to use them to meet instructional goals, it is necessary to become familiar with what each tool  can and cannot do.   So I visualize teaching with tech tools  as a continual, partnered dance between new tech tools and teaching goals.  At some points in the dance one of the partners shines more brightly, but at other times the other takes center stage.  However, both dancers are essential to creating a great performance!

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