On Tuesday, our faculty had the privilege of learning from Dr. Judi Harris, of the College of William and Mary. Dr. Harris is a leader in the field of educational technology and there was much to be learned from her. Perhaps the most engaging and “touchstone” element of her presentation was the three-part test for the value of using technology to enhance or further a curriculum goal.
While I do not want to infringe on her copyright of the test, its basic gist is: Is it feasible? Is it Appropriate? Does it provide a Relative Advantage? Needless to say it provoked in me the idea that just because I understand how to use and am excited about a particular online tool it does not mean I must immediately use it. I’ll call it the square peg/round hole concept. If I am going to use a piece of educational technology, say a wiki or a voicethread, will is enhance or further the curriculum goal or is it just a “cool new thing”. Likewise, is the use of such a tool going to increase student achievement.
The ubitquitous concept of increasing student achievement is such a fine line in a school discipline where my students are not actually assessed on their academic achievement. My middle school students are assessed academically, but not my primary and intermediate students. Regardless, how does one measure the advancement of student achievement as it results from the use of educational technology. The verdict is still out.
Nevertheless, I will put my practice to the test to really look at matching the use of online tools appropriately for the ehancement of the curricular goals rather than just being the “cool teacher using tech stuff”. It is my hope that a more judicious point of view will lead to greater student achievement and understanding.