Tech exciting teachers AND students?

I’m absolutely passionate and excited about the elearning revolution slowly sweeping through schools and classrooms. I guess this is because I’m part of the infinite ‘edu blogging’ revolution and I regularly try to integrate technology into my classroom practice.

Last year I was fortunate to go to the New Zealand ULearn‘ Conference and have the top blown off my professional development programme. Anyone who has been to these types of conferences knows the buzz they create in connecting with like minded people. This post, by Angela Maiers (one of my favourite bloggers), gives some benefits of these conferences for teachers
– meeting and developing your PLN
– a chance to reflect on your own and others classroom practice and beliefs
– being ‘warmed’ and surrounded by so many other similarly enthused people
– sharing and gathering tools and strategies for your classroom
– catching or reviving a passion for learning

Sometimes I wonder, however, whether this passion and enthusiasm for tech integration is shared amongst our students as much as it is with some teachers (and I write ‘some’ because there are many who are decidedly tepid about it, which I’m becoming okay about… slowly).

This wondering is heightened when our class seems just as enthused by a new packet of coloured felts for our modeling books as they are with a new application on our class blogsite. Recently they were given the choice to communicate their science learning digitally or by traditional ‘Tri-board’ and the class was split. 50/50. I guess that not every student will walk away from traditional methods in our classrooms. To them they are just another option.

What I have also noticed is that the students who DO get excited by a digital environment are the ones who, traditionally, have been the most likely to be those disengaged with the learning. They are the boys, the lower achievers and those whose interests are quite different from their teachers and peers. This has GOT to be a huge benefit to the classroom as a whole – for the atmosphere, the building of a classroom learning community and, at the very least, the reduction of time spent on behaviour management.

I don’t think that elearning will always excite every student. Neither will it , I’m willing to accept, empassion every teacher. What I think it is achieving at the moment is to draw those disengaged students into a new world of achievement and success. A world that’s pretty foreign to many.

What I’d like to see more of in the future is the type of conference that would inspire students through peer sharing as much as those that do this for teachers. It’s an interesting potential.

(Above photo used under Creative Commons, by ‘superkimbo in BKK’, sourced from Flickr)

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