Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't discount the old school tech just yet...

I came across this article (or blog post?) from a fellow Greek a while back.

The topic is "Why Tablet PCs are better". Of course the natural questions is: better than what?

When it comes to instructional technology I think that a lot of people go for what's new and shiny and forget that there is existing (or old school as I like to call it) technology that does the job right, and work without electricity! (Good for those instances that you want to go all Socratic on your students and teach class in the open Green!)

In any case, while I do agree with the author that there are some definite advantages to working with newer tech in the classroom, it's important to diversify your materials and not focus on one technology.

One thing that stood out is this:

I can archive and share my presentation after class - Many teachers report that they create a "master file" of their lesson plans, and present from a copy so they can annotate and save it for post-class distribution. This has an interesting effect of changing student note-taking - they start to shift from "transcribers" to "thinkers".

Honestly, in all classes that I've taken where the professor just hands out his notes (and/or PowerPoint slides) after class (or worse before!) there is little incentive to pay attention in class. Yes it's nice to shift from transcription to thinking, however transcribing from the board is not necessary. This is a process of becoming a student. As an undergraduate I wrote down everything, even the most mundane things. As I became an more experienced student I only noted things of interest, and references to go back and read follow up articles.

Even in transcribing there is a mental process occurring that helps knowledge settle (if you do it mindfully of course). So just giving out notes does not necessarily help students become better thinkers.

my 2 cents
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