Technology is Changing Education
Just as technology has revolutionized other industries, it has the power to transform education. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Last week, Holly referenced an EdWeek article that identifies reasons educators fail to implement to transformative, student-centered and technology-driven instruction. The article points out one big issue, “Many teachers lack an understanding of how educational technology works.” It is for this reason I want focus on ways that technology can make learning happen in ways that were impossible in the past. The smartphones that many students carry in their pockets are much more powerful than the technology used to send a man to the moon. Students are able to use these devices to access massive amounts of information, connect virtually to anyone on the planet and to create impressive digital products. These are exciting times for education, but it is our challenge to use technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for students that will equip them for their futures. In my book, Ditch that Textbook, I point out ways that as educators we can use technology to be different, innovative, creative and hands on. While there are so many great online resources, apps, and other tools that we can use to enhance teaching and learning, I want to focus on the use of video. According to Eric Jensen and others, at least 60% of students are visual or visual-kinesthetic learners. Because of this, video can have a huge impact on student learning. The increased interest in flipped instruction over the past few years demonstrates how technology is changing teaching and learning. Swivl is a great tool to have in the classroom for teacher and student use. The Swivl Capture App is free and can be used on iOS and Android device and the Swivl robot works with any smartphone or tablet. Here are three the ways that I see technology used in my classroom that was unable in the past.
- Self Reflection is not only important for teachers, but it is also beneficial for students. Teachers might capture instruction and classroom interactions to analyze and identify areas for growth. A student with behavior issues can look back at the video and work with teachers to set goals and adjust his or her conduct. While I use Swivl to capture instruction and reflect on the effectiveness of my lessons, I also allow students to use Swivl to capture their interactions in small groups. This helps them to reflect on their participation and performance in discussions and group activities.
- Video Based Assessments are a welcome alternative to paper/pencil tests. In my Spanish classes, I might use Swivl to capture student conversations and discussions or I may ask them to read a passage aloud. These videos allow me to assess more than written concepts. My students don’t feel anxious by having me stand over them. By uploading videos to Swivl Cloud they are accessible on any device with a browser. Students can even record themselves explaining concepts to use to teach others or use video clips within a digital portfolio.
- Mystery Skype is a global guessing game for students that encourages critical thinking through in depth questioning and discussion. Swivl makes it easy to connect with other classrooms by placing a tablet into the robot and using dual markers to capture high quality audio. (Visit the Swivl booth at ISTE to hear more about Mystery Skype from Katrina Keene.) I use Swivl Live, an alternative for Skype to help my Spanish students learn about other cultures.