A colleague sent me a video recently about the “this” that will revolutionize education.

So while you expect it to introduce some new type of technology or another way something old has been made into something new, it doesn’t.

Instead, it makes a strong case for the indispensability of teachers, especially in a technology-driven world. The video author argues that the question we should be asking is: What kinds of experiences promote the kind of thinking that is required for learning? It is the experiences we create that will revolutionize education, not the technology that we use.

  1. Yes, technology has improved and expanded learner experiences. Students are able to experience, visualize, and apply concepts in exciting and meaningful ways thanks to technology. Technology has made learning more accessible to many students, particularly those with disabilities.
  2. Yes, we have discovered which technology works better for which experiences and which technology does not work at all. For example, we know that animation works well for demonstrating relationships and that providing text with audio is distracting.
  3. But without a teacher to guide the learning process, technology packs little punch.

The video creator describes teachers as The Ones “who inspire and excite and challenge their students to want to learn.” But I also believe (and I’m certain he does too) that teachers don’t just will their students to be inspired and excited and challenged to learn. The great ones, the revolutionary ones, work really hard at it. They plan, they organize, they prepare, they collaborate, they deliver and sequence, they assess, they reteach, they interact, they adjust, they review, they assess, they reteach again and again.

They figure out exactly where in the process technology fits and how exactly it will be used to help their children learn.

This made me think of one teacher in particular. One I know pretty well.

Pretend there is a map on this page and we just zoomed in to a little corner of the world. And then we zoomed in ever closer to a particular day in that corner of the world, a snow day. Pretend we are watching as 27 parents/guardians of 27 kindergartners (all taught by a teacher we’ll call Mrs. W) open their email and are instructed to click on the link that Mrs. W has included in her email (and has prepared the parents/guardians to look for in the event of a snow day).

Clicking on that link takes you to a section on her teacher blog. This is what it looks like:

 

When we clicked on the first link, Superkids Review Lesson, this is what we heard:

When we clicked on The Mitten by Jan Brett link, we were directed to a YouTube video of the author telling the story.

But it isn’t SoundCloud or YouTube that makes this so…revolutionary. It’s the instruction, the guiding, and the prompting that Mrs. W provides around these tools. The learning happens through the questioning, the practicing, the applying, and the thinking that she guides the children through. The learning does not happen through the technology. Mrs. W uses the technology to reach and engage them, but she doesn’t rely on it to teach them.

Note: for those children who couldn't access the technology on a snow day, she encouraged them to complete an activity from the monthly enrichment calendar that she sends home.

If revolutionize means to change and transform, then it is happening in the learning experiences of students in classrooms all around the world, every single day (even on snow days) thanks to teachers like Mrs. W who understand there is no such thing as just push play.

The Indistar Connection + A Call to Action

The Indicators of Effective Practice in Indistar, particularly those in the Instructional Domain, describe what great teachers do every day.

Tell us how you or your teachers are implementing those practices. What do they do in small ways that get big results? How are they revolutionizing learning for their students? 

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