1. Do assignments foster critical thinking on the web?
If the answered to all these questions is “no” then technology is only being used as a $1000.00 pencil. We are just replicating old practices with new technology. Students are using the title of the teacher’s assignment as Google search criteria as means to research the information for the particular assignment. More often than not, students are not reviewing the search findings beyond the first page. Students and teachers don’t understand the Google operators, country codes (us, can, uk, ir), and domain extensions (edu, ac, com) to isolate specific information queries. The point of view and the primary source is something we are not teaching our students.
2. Do assignments foster lines of inquiry?
Alan is concerned that teachers and students do not understand the what, why, and how to use search engine queries to locate the most relevant information at a given point in time. A majority of the student Google queries are presenting information based on their IP address (Internet Protocol) and geographic location.
3. Do assignments make thinking visible?
Technology provides a form of “Digital Metacognition” where teachers can see what students are thinking, and students can see what other students are thinking through the use of sophisticated search engine algorithms.
4. Do assignments engage an authentic audience?
Currently, we lack that sense of urgency for teachers and students to utilize technology to support collaborative learning environments. It seems to be more about accessing information rather than working with others to develop new understanding instead of just “finding” information. A globe audience may motivate students to be actively engaged in their learning environment.
5. Do assignments create a contribution?
Learning environments that promote and encourage teachers and students to contribute and share their learning experiences with a community beyond the classroom.
6. Do assignments encourage students to own their learning?
Are the assignments engaging and motivating students to own and personalize their learning? A majority of the assignments in the United States have been designed before the Internet as we know it. Alan states that teachers in the States need to rewrite and align the curriculum and assignments to technology that exists today. The information and tools are there, but we are not teaching students how to use them properly. He goes as far to say that all schools and school districts should have the following resources on their websites so teachers and students can learn how to use the tools to find the most relevant information.
From an IT-ET perspective Alan November’s TEDx talk is another example that highlights how educational leaders and teachers are using “hope” as a tactic when it comes to introducing technology into the classroom.
Leaders and teachers are hoping that students (digital natives) acquire and align technology skills through some magical osmotic process within the classroom. I am speaking from experience on this one. Google search techniques, curriculum align with technology, and digital citizenship skills are just a few of the TPACK attributes we expect teachers and students to develop through some technical osmotic process. From an instructional design perspective, it is critical to identify all the prerequisite knowledge and skills before making assumptions about how the technology can be aligned to support the teaching and learning process.
It’s not about the technology, but it is!
One of the most important responsibilities of an IT-ET leader is identifying the TPACK variables required to enhance the instructional and learning activities within the classroom. Alan November’s assumption about the $1000.00 pencil or those endless blog postings describing how technology has failed to transform educational practices will continue to perpetuate a hit and miss approach to technology integration if educational leaders fail to provide and an instructional design framework to guide the integration and alignment of technology.
Leaders take a spray and pray approach to integrating technology within the classroom – Alan November
Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) attempts to identify the nature of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. The TPACK framework extends Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.
You can’t ASSUME or use HOPE as a tactic when it comes to teachers and students acquiring TPACK attributes through some form of osmosis within the classroom.
In this day and age of “Fake News” our teachers and students need to understand how to use search engine algorithms principles (operators, domains, extensions) to narrow search criteria, isolate reliable source information, and identify the essential information required to complete the learning outcomes. Moreover, as Alan has indicated, we need to redesign our curriculum outcomes and assignments to align with today’s technology.
I challenge you to ask your teachers and students how they use Google queries to enhance teaching and learning practices. Let me know what they say.