Teachnology Musings and Questions

The comments between me and Quantum Progress on my post Maybe we need to think of it as teachnology rather than technology still have me thinking.  Here is the he-said-she-said that I continue to think about:

Quantum Progress

“I want us to teach out students to develop a sense of when technology will help them, and then the ability to learn how to use that technology with minimal guidance from a teacher. ”

Me too.  This caused me to reply

“Our students want their teachers to develop a sense of when technology will help them as well as the ability to learn how to use that technology.”

This applies to many areas of our teaching and learning.  How often do we assume that our learners won’t use technology appropriately and deny them the opportunity to try? 

We really have to ask ourselves how much do we know about technology and when it is appropriate to use it to learn.  Are we learning alongside our colleagues and learners?  Or, are we making decisions without doing our homework?  Have we stopped to ask our learners why they choose to use technology when they do?  Maybe, just maybe, they could teach us a thing or two.

Let’s take the #20minwms Social Media Experiment: Brain & Learning; Formative Assessment we have happening on campus.  Almost as many students have joined the experiment as faculty.  More would join if only we would allow them to have their Smart devices out in class.  Why is it, again, that we deny them the opportunity to use this type of technology?

At the Parent Parley with the Principal, @boadams1 spoke about teaching young learners to use technology appropriately.  Too often we tell the children what not to do with technology.  When do we help them learn what to do?  If we are frustrated with how they use technology, then maybe we should ask ourselves a couple of questions as their teachers.

  1. Have I shown my learners the appropriate use of technology to think and learn? 
  2. Have I modeled learning with technology as one of their leaders?
  3. Have I coached them when they use technology inappropriately or do I just fuss?
  4. Have I stopped to consider that they are using technology the only way that they know how? 
  5. Have I asked is this really essential to learn in the absence of technology?  Am I just teaching this out of habit and history?  Do I know if there is another, better, different way?

In his post, Developing Technology Vision Statements, Bill Ferriter asks principals if they can answer the several important questions. I want classroom teachers to answer one of them. 

“Describe the kinds of things you’d like to see students doing with technology—and more importantly, how those actions and behaviors will ensure that your students and your school are more successful than they currently are?”

I have an answer.  Do you?  If yes, would you write it in the comment of this blog for others to read? Please?

My answer:

I want my learners to use technology to think and learn collaboratively.  My learners should use technology to

  • ask questions, investigate, make predictions, test hypotheses.
  • fail and try again and again while learning to learn.
  • connect to others to share and increase knowledge and understanding.
  • stay connected to me so that I can coach, intervene and support when needed.
  • have fun and find success while learning.

I am shocked with my answer; there is no math in it.  I wrote my answer as a teacher of young learners studying algebra.  I am shocked because this is also what I want when I use technology to write.

For the visual learner, I think the video shows my learners using teachnology.  Watching is one thing; listening is another.  There is information about learning in both.

Do you see learners using technology as teachnology?  Are they aksing questions investigating, making predictions and testing?  Are they willing to fail and try again and again until they’ve got it?  Are they connected to each sharing what they know to increase learning?  Am I connected to them to coach, intervene and support learning when needed? Are they having fun and finding success?

Can we

“Describe the kinds of things you’d like to see students doing with technology—and more importantly, how those actions and behaviors will ensure that your students and your school are more successful than they currently are?”

I shared my answer.  Will you?  If yes, will you write it in the comment of this blog for others to read? If you are willing to write, won’t you be doing the things in the above bullet points?


  1. The kinds of things I’d like to see students doing with technology?

    Students taking ownership of their own learning.
    Students asking relevant questions that they can then research in real time and share with the class.
    Students presenting work in the format of their choice, allowing the presentation to become authentically their own.
    Students engaging in critical thinking while using technology to “plug and chug”.
    Collaboration without the boundaries of the classroom.

    That and much more…


  2. I want students to use technology for the same reasons that you eloquently list. In another representation, I want them to use technology to enhance their:
    1. Inquiry and deep questioning,
    2. Data collection and analysis,
    3. Collaboration and communication,
    4. Problem identification and solution.

    I particularly believe that technology enables this generation to keep on learning even after the teacher is “done” with an assignment, paper, test, etc. For instance, with a blog, the writing as learning continues past the physical paper that gets a grade on it and stops developing.


  3. Agree with previous posts.

    For me, I’d like to see students use technology to:
    –have more control of their learning
    –have more input into their learning
    –make more connections within their learning
    –expand when and where and at what pace and frequency learning occurs
    –to more effectively collaborate, create, communicate, and critically evalute


  4. I would like to see our instrumental students using SmartMusic. I would also like for instrumental music students to use technology instead of music for reading in performance and rehearsals.


  5. Technology is potentially a wonderful tool; just that.
    I want my students to be able to:
    1)Ask good questions
    2)Know how to discern quality data from inferior data.
    3)Expedite classroom discussions by bringing accurate data into play without disrupting the flow of conversation.


  6. I would like my students to use technology to:
    – streamline communication (in and outside of class)
    – work collaboratively
    – generate questions from “real life” situations
    – answer their own questions using accurate sources that they are able to comprehend
    – connect with learners outside our community
    – connect with experts
    – simulate situations that can not safely be created within the classroom
    – set goals and self-monitor their progress


  7. I am captured by the immediacy and the authenticity that technology brings into my life and my classroom. As a teacher, I want to share the energy and enthusiasm that I feel when technology spawns new ideas, new relationships and new connections and to provide my students with the requisite opportunities and the means to access it.


  8. I want to see students who are engaged in their learning and each other as they create meaning from the information they locate, evaluate, process, and share with others. The right technology at the right time can encourage these behaviors.


  9. I want to see students connecting to the world with technology, but I am seeing quite the opposite effect right now. I see students more and more creating their own enclosed space, while the real world recedes. I asked a class of 19 yesterday what had been going on in Tunisia and in Egypt. Three guessed about unrest in Tunisia (one was wild guessing about an earthquake,) and less than half had vaguely heard about events in Egypt.
    I do not think we are doing a good job yet at using technology to reach out into the world. I sometimes feel like I have a bunch of hermits in my classes.
    I would like to see our students turn this tendency around. Instead of usign technology to isolate themselves from the world, I would like students to be curious about what is going on, hungry for information, want to connect with others far and wide.
    Even at a local level, back in November, the day we had elections, most of my students did not know that elections were goign on, let alone which kinds of elections: “We are electing a governor today?”
    This cannot go on. How do we expect our students to be world changers if they have no clue about what is going on in their neighborhood, their city, their country, and major events in the world, and the environment?
    To be fair, there are a few students who are on the ball, but we need to make sure all students graduate from here with a clear understanding of local, national, and international issues.


    • Agnes, I think this is super important. Technology makes it incredibly easy to connect with others around the globe, but it doesn’t necessarily give students the desire to do so. How do we teach that desire to experience and interact with other cultures, keep up with current events, etc?


  10. I would hope to use technology to:
    Get our students excited about math, and push them to explore individual interests
    To inquire outside the classroom and the textbook
    Collect relevant, time sensitive data
    Collaborate with students in other countries
    Help teach students how to critically evaluate information/data
    Help students and faculty make better use of their time, and maybe even replace some time spent on classroom instruction ( for those with ridiculously busy schedules)


  11. I would like to see my students use technology in the following ways:

    – To connect with native speakers
    – To access authentic documents
    – To use their language in authentic, relevant ways
    – To take charge of their own learning
    – To learn beyond the walls of the classroom, eliminating time and curriculum constraints
    – To learn how to use the language tools that are available (online translators, spell/grammar check, etc.)
    – To use the Internet in a safe, ethical, and discerning manner
    – To give a voice to students who may not feel comfortable speaking up in class or in more traditional classroom settings
    – To teach students to think creatively and to work efficiently


  12. One of the things I love about math is that there are often many viable ways to obtain “the answer”. Using technology in the classroom provides another vehicle through which students can gain an appreciation for the variety of methods there are to get to a certain result. Recently we have been using graphing calculators to explore exponential functions. We have found answers algebraically and then obtained the same results by examining graphs on the calculator. I hope students do not see the calculator as something that does the thinking for them but rather a device that will help them to think even more deeply about a concept.


  13. I want my students to be able to investigate, explore and solve problems in mathematics using appropriate technology. If a task requires a calculation or algebra I want them to use the technology and the be able to explain why they did the operation and what the answer represents in the problem setting.


  14. It would be amazing for our students to see beyond the textbook, worksheet or novel, and become so inspired to ask so many questions that the latter platforms wouldn’t be enough to satisfy their curiosity.
    It would be amazing if our students could then use technology to engage in conversations with peers across the world who have the same questions.
    It would be amazing if as a result of this dialogue and inquiry, each child left Westminster having created or engaged in something that benefitted the world.
    That would be amazing.


  15. I’d like to see the use of technology used to guide a student driven curriculum. Let’s allow students the privilege to learn about what they want to learn (even if it is chosen from a list of suggested topics).


  16. I want to see students using technology to explore their interests. I want them to learn how to find information and then use the information they find to create something new. Then with their creation, I want students to share their findings with other students. As teachers we know that you know something best when you share it with others.


  17. I want my students to be able to utilize technology in effective & resourceful ways. I want my elementary students to learn to distinguish between reputable & reliable technology sources and those that they cannot trust. I would like to see more assessments done on the computer, through projects and blogs, rather than paper & pencil. Our students will not only become better versed in current technology, but also, they will learn to work in teams and navigate conflicts that often arise from group work. Working in this way encourages a student to be aware and cognizant of others, a student who is not so internally focused that he/she has trouble socializing and interacting with others. This will ultimately lead to a more “successful” school!


  18. I agree with almost everything above, but I also want my students to learn about the technology. I want them not to see it as a black box, but to recognize they have the power to peer inside that box. I want them to see that technology is a tool, and a foremost skill to develop is knowing when to use it. I want them to yearn for a spreadsheet with doing a tedious list of calculations, or to beg for photoshop when try compost an image. I also want them to see that the technology is a tool for thinking—it does exactly what you tell it, nothing more, and nothing less. And finally, I want them to see that they aren’t limited by the options technology presents them at present—they have the power to create more options within technology through programming.


  19. 1. Connect to authentic, age-appropriate sources on the web.
    2. Share those sources with their co-learners in a forum that fosters dialogue and reflection.
    3. Think critically and collaboratively about those sources, whether in creating an accurate mosaic of another culture or collecting data points in the study of a global or regional problem.
    4. Interact orally and in written form and to do it in a public forum.
    5. Experience authentic “extracultural” virtual environments.


  20. How do I want students to use technology?

    – to remove the burden of doing the “mechanics” of problems so that they can focus on the “ideas” they are using.

    – to test hypotheses rather than just “asking an oracle” for an answer or verification.

    – to motivate moving from asking “how do I” questions to “what if” questions.

    – to motivate the in-depth pursuit of the questions that they and their classmates formulate.

    – to learn how to communicate authentically—to ask questions, to listen to answers, to resolve disagreements cordially, to agree to disagree without resolution (still cordially)—to help see “the big picture” and the variability that occurs within it.


  21. Technology plays a very big role in our lives and our students’ lives outside of school already. This is why I want students and teachers to learn when to disconnect from the screen and spend more time face-to-face with the person/student next to us. I want technology to support a lot of learning outside the class, so that we can spend much of our class time, face-to-face, working in our physical community, and not staring at a screen.
    I also do not want technology to complicate things unnecessarily. In language class, if students need to spend a lot of time learning the technology, maybe that particular technology is not the best for that purpose.


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