Sunday, October 14, 2007

What are we searching for?

This morning I'm taking a few minutes to go back through my Statcounter account. It's interesting to take a look at the visitor activity but most especially to look at the search terms that people are using. Overwhelmingly, I'm noticing that people are looking for information about how technology affects student learning. And I'm wondering - what blogs are addressing this question well enough to satisfy those who are looking for that information? I'm pretty sure mine isn't - mostly because I'm not a classroom teacher - I'm a technology specialist so I'm reflecting on the issues that are directly affecting me - issues that I'm trying to work through by writing about them.

In the first session I attended at the NECC conference this past summer, the presenter's main purpose was to talk about things we can do with technology that would affect student learning - but not just the technology. She was also talking about the instruction that supports the use of the technology. I'll admit, the presenter was a little difficult to warm up to, but several people got up and walked out. I considered it myself but stayed anyway and was pleasantly surprised at how the session unfolded. I walked away from that session thinking how smart the presenter was in the approach she took to the presentation. But then, I wondered, why didn't other people stay? What were they looking for that they didn't find in this session?

This question of what our teachers and other staff are looking for where technology is concerned has been bothering me a lot lately. I keep thinking they're looking for the "magic bullet" - that one little thing that they can easily implement that will make a difference in student learning. But, there isn't any such thing really -just as there is no "magic bullet" that will help every student to learn to read and read well. We need to try different strategies and different tools until we find what fits our students needs, interests and learning styles. No amount of talking about all the really cool tools out there will help until we as teachers dig in, do our own investigating and try something new supported by well established instructional strategies.

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