Filed under: Articles
Sometimes I still come across some good information in the good ‘ole paper newspaper. Usually I use the Grand Rapids Press as a firestarter for camp fires and to start my charcoal grill, but every once in a while I pick up the paper while I’m eating breakfast. OK, enough small talk… and onward to the reason of this blog post.
While reading the newspaper, I came across an opinion article by a Special Education Technology Scholar at Michigan State University. He also wrote the Blog post cleverly titled: “Don’t Hang Up on Your Students’ Futures“. I was excited to read this article because there had recently been some talk among colleagues here at GRCC that some teachers are banning the use of laptops by students in their classes. Being a techie, I can’t understand the logic of telling someone that they can’t use a productivity tool to learn with. But at the same time, I do understand disruptive behavior by students requiring the professor to step in to intervene since the behavior is likely reducing the effectiveness of the classroom learning.
I do often wonder though, how far this goes in classrooms today. That is, how far does a professor go in banning the use of technology in their classrooms? Where is the line drawn?
I admire professors and educators like Ira Socol at MSU and Garry Brand, Laurie Foster, and Bill Faber (to name just a few) here at GRCC who spend extra time and effort that it can take to investigate the options that technology can bring to the teaching and learning process. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction of “You can’t use that!”, these progressive faculty entertain the unique capabilities that technology can bring to teaching. It’s about meeting students where they are, and allowing them to add to the richness of the classroom with devices that they are comfortable using. After all, teaching and learning is about communication and collaboration. And as Ira mentioned in his blog post, the cell phone is likely the single most powerful communication device in human history that has ever been created.
I also think that Ira hit the nail on the head, by saying: “…simply suggesting that if we cannot figure out how to teach with a tool this powerful we are surely failing as educators.” One of the most important aspects of an educator is to use all resources available to help facilitate learning and to create as rich an experience as possible.
As educators, let’s stop saying you can’t use that, and instead start asking how CAN we use that to create a more effective learning experience here at GRCC and beyond!
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