To put tech into any lesson, start with the lesson

How to use devices and apps to support specific learning objectives

tech-learningSeymour Papert begins his landmark book “Mindstorms” with a story about a set of gears he played with as a child. The tangible experience of working with gears accelerated his understanding of physics in a way that would have been much harder with only books and lectures. Because of this, he refers to gears as “objects-to-think-with.”

One simple way of understanding our ed-tech pedagogical theory is that we don’t want computing devices to just become replacements for notebooks and textbooks. We want them to be objects to think with. We want students to use them to construct understanding, to demonstrate their learning within their courses of study, and to mess around with.

In workshops and presentations, we frequently get asked: “What can the iPad/Chromebook/Surface actually do?” We encourage folks to use a different language, one that positions people as actors rather than technology. What can a teacher do with an iPad/Chromebook/Surface? Even more importantly, what can our students do?

Whenever possible we want people acting with computing devices, rather than technology acting upon people—or out there by itself.

Next page: Moving from goals to apps

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