Saturday, May 10, 2008

Creating technology toolbelts...

At the Penn State One-to-One conference I stated in my wiki presentation that technology is not about the tool to create something that would replace a bulletin board, poster, etc. Instead it is a tool to transform learning and communication. I still have a bit to learn.

In Vicki Davis' latest post: "Get Past Teaching Apps: Build and Use a Student Technology Toolbelt", she reminds us all that these are just tools. They do not fit into a year or necessarily a project. They are tools and with every tool there is a right one for the job.

The ability to use technology well means that you can think about which tool to use, troubleshoot, replace the tool if necessary and most importantly find that there are parallels between all tools (ability to figure out a tool increases the more you play and see this).

She says...

We are truly still in the dark ages of computer use. Technology is still in its infancy.

However, if we
  • focus on tasks to be accomplished
  • focus on how to select tools and how to self-learn those tools without a lot of outside intervention.
  • focus on creativity and innovation and give time for meaningful technology-enabled projects that push the ability levels of students and are related to core-subjects or current events.
  • require students to research, learn practical guidelines for digital citizenship and safety, and how to publish safely...
  • teach them to think and construct personal learning networks AND methodologies to bring others easily into those networks of sharing on a common topic...
  • help them be unafraid and understand the file formats and basic codes that underpin all of the sharing (including RSS)...
  • help them become comfortable in virtual worlds and understand that they are interacting with avatars that represent real people...
  • help them understand that online activities have offline consequences...

I believe we will see the technologically fluent student emerge, ready to conquer the world.

She creates an analogy of shop class. Though there may be a class where you use a hammer or a certain saw more than others (and have some instruction) it is not the last time you will use the tool in your shop classes.

On the same thought, using a hammer for all shop work is not appropriate and students need to learn this and be exposed to as many tools as possible.

Tags: Vicki Davis, education


  1. I think this is something that we are all struggling with! Somehow PD today leaves us all feeling somehow unsatisfied and like we're not really getting from it what we need. It needs to evolve and change and we need to discuss and move towards that.

    PD should become embedded in our practice not extraneous. And these tools should become embedded in the many tasks we do. We should be descriptive about what is to be accomplished and not so prescriptive as to limit it. Some of the best work I've seen in a student movie was done using animations in Microsoft Paint! As a geek, I look down upon this tool, but the student knew it very well and got the job done. What if I had said the student needed something else because of my "tool snobbery?" The student wouldn't have done the amazing work!

  2. Great comment! Instead of stating a certain tool must be used, the door should be open for students to use what is best.