Presented during the Frontiers in Teaching Conference at Xavier School, Manila, Philippines (April 2016)
As an EdTech consultant and trainer, I find inspiration from teachers who show openness and enthusiasm during professional development sessions.
Deep, meaningful, and relevant discussion about tech tools and learning devices in teaching and learning are often fuelled by curiosity and the will to learn. Conducting PD sessions with fellow educators and school leaders is also a learning experience for me. The raw and fresh insights from participants are often inspiring. Here are some of them.
1. “Oh! My mobile device is more than a selfie machine!”
Mobile devices can become learning devices. The possibility is real and unlimited. It might be a simple statement but the process up ahead is exciting and challenging! Now, it’s time to articulate that vision that would fuel and affect the decisions up ahead.
2. “My iPad is more that a book substitute.”
Thinking of mobile devices as book substitute puts the process into a dead-end. There are more innovative ways to use mobile devices as learning and teaching devices. Explore and discover!
3. “Tech tools are TOOLS! I still need my learning goals.”
Designing learning activities that use tech tools still calls for the teacher to start with the learning objectives or learning goals. These must be articulated clearly before thinking about the apps or tools to be used. Tech tools, such as apps, should not drive the instructional design. Pedagogy should be prioritised. Then, tech tools come in as means or support to achieving the learning goals.
4. “I cannot just use any app in my class, even if it’s my favourite.”
Tech integration should be purposeful and meaningful. The use of mobile apps in class should be well planned. Just because the app is popular or a personal or a student favorite does not give you the reason to use it already in class.
5. “I need to rethink the way I teach.”
The use of mobile devices in class alters teaching styles, pushing the teacher to move from traditional methods into more progressive and innovative teaching methods.
6. “I can be a globally connected teacher. I am now creating my PLN account in Twitter!”
Teachers can learn and improve their teaching styles through connecting with other teachers around the world. Creating a social media account for PLN reason can improve the learning curve of a teacher. Of course, it is a given that the teacher follows credible educator accounts around the world. It is worth-trying to join educational chats, too.
7. “Papers? No? Kids, how about you choose your own medium?”
Tech tools can support students to choose how they can demonstrate and apply their learnings in class. Students are now independent and can even create more meaningful and authentic artefacts of learnings using mobile devices and apps. Just make sure that these are carefully planned.
8. “I need enough time and data to decide what learning device I will need.”
Invest on devices that offer the best possible tools that can enhance and transform teaching and learning. Sometimes, the more expensive ones must be considered because they can last longer and offer more educational apps. Buying the less expensive ones, but will require the instalment of paid productivity apps cancels the supposed savings. Again, balance and consider all the factors that affect the decision.
9. “Do your homework. Don’t just buy or enter into a contract with a supplier.”
Consider the ecosystem surrounding the device, i.e. the more learning apps, more updates for security and stability purposes, more support, more possibility, the better!
10. “We’re all in this together!”
Teachers need the support of school leaders, in every aspect of the process: means of purchasing these devices, further training, long term goals, etc. Involve all members of the school community. Have a shared vision!