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One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Just because you can..

...doesn't mean you should!




I was reminded when reading this tweet of an essential truth that should underpin all teacher use of technology. Moving your activity online is not necessarily innovation, presenting a task though a website or in your VLE may not be an improvement over giving out a handout or setting work from a course book - in some cases it may even be worse! 

During my teacher training days (when dinosaurs ruled the earth) we were asked what language we could teach given just a box of matches. This lesson has stayed with me ever since. We can teach: tense (I will strike, I am striking, I struck - this will get attention!), pronouns and questions (guess what is in the box, is it a bug?) adjectives and adverbs ( it is a big flame, he struck the match quickly), even complex structures such as hypothesis and subjunctives (if I were you..., I wish you would...) and much more. These lessons can all be taught without electricity, although you may be well advised to have a fire extinguisher handy for health and safety reasons :)

So, my point is, when planning we need to take into account whether the "wow" factor we may experience in planning a digital session is really earning its place in our classroom with our students. Is it bringing something extra, adding value to the learning by increasing student autonomy, impacting on their experience of the learning points or offering greater opportunity for creativity and involvement? If not, we risk the student expressing something similar to the tweet above - same old, same old. So get your digital box of matches out and start sharing your best ideas with other educators, let' s make sure that the technology enhances the experience.