The following is an excerpt from the eBook, #RealPBL Deleted Scenes, which contains excerpts that didn’t make it into the final draft of the book, Project Based Learning: Real Questions. Real Answers.
Background Information: Here’s the final section from the Introduction that didn’t make the cut. Whereas the previous section stuck around for awhile, this one was written and then deleted shortly thereafter. While we believe the problem posed by this section – tech addiction – is worth addressing, it is covered throughout the book, in one way or another.
PBL Helps Us Overcome Tech Addiction
Toward the beginning of both of our teaching careers, we admittedly participated in what we now call “the technology pissing contest.” In short, we were always on the lookout for “cool tools,” and we wanted to be the first ones to use them at our school, even if we had to construct overly contrived activities.
Take, for example, these directions from an iPad project:
Using iMovie, shoot a silent scene of two actors portraying characters from a novel. Save the video to your Camera Roll. Open the Tellagami app, and use a solid green image as your background. Have the avatar in Tellagami explain what is going on in the silent movie scene. Finally, use DoInk Green Screen to combine the video created with iMovie with the Tellagami commentary. Save the finished product to the Camera Roll.
When we teach in this way, and we just have to use certain technologies with our students, we plan by “beginning with the technology in mind,” as opposed to planning that begins by considering what we want students to learn. And, we know our teaching is in the wrong place when students first and foremost believe their goal is to learn all about [insert technology].
This overemphasis on technology isn’t just a problem that exists at the classroom level. Based on our experiences, countless schools and districts are heavily investing in devices, sometimes as if it’s the answer. Then, to make sure money isn’t wasted, teachers are required to use these tools, and technology walkthroughs are implemented on a wide scale.
While we fully appreciate schools and districts moving toward technology integration, it has become increasingly obvious to us that technology amplifies (for better or worse) what’s already taking place. If we have a dynamic teacher and meaningful learning, technology can help to elevate these conditions. If we have a lackluster teacher and insignificant learning, not only will technology not help, but its entity could potentially mask what’s truly transpiring.
In addition, technology can be defined as something that was invented in our lifetime. For most of our students, these technologies aren’t a novelty but rather a way of life. We need to do what we can to ensure student access, but then we don’t need to take the use of these tools and hold it up on a pedestal. Also, the majority of the time, our students know more about these tools than we do, but we don’t ask them for help. As a result, our students miss out on valuable opportunities when we’re hesitant to use technology because we haven’t fully “mastered it.”
On a classroom, school, and district level, many of our technology-related problems (as well as other problems) dissipate when we prioritize pedagogy by integrating technology into meaningful teaching and learning, not the other way around. Or, as Michael Fullan succinctly puts it, “Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator.” (And in some instances, technology is the roadblock.)[Read more…] about Project Based Learning Helps Us Overcome Technology Addiction #RealPBL