We only have a limited time to spend on development, so are we spending too much time learning about tech and not enough learning about teaching?
Duncan Foord started as he meant to go on, by getting us to reflect on our uses of tech. To kick off, he asked the audience to reflect on their most recent lesson and how it might have gone different with or without technology.
He mapped the development of technology throughout his life, noting that a lot of what we use has basically aided in the presentation of information and not much else. He highlighted the example of how listening has, or rather hasn’t, evolved in classrooms: once the cassette recorder became available, the basic premise has remained the same regardless of the CD or the mp3 player or whatever comes next.
Duncan took a balanced view throughout the talk, looking at both sides of the ‘argument.’
Reasons to unplug
- Transmission versus experience
- Opportunity versus uptake
- Making room for students
- Teaching ‘live’ and close up
Reasons to plug in
- Creating, connecting and making life easier
He led the audience into drawing some conclusions of their own about the role of technology in their classes and considered some unplugged developmental activities which draw on the “here and now” of the teacher.
Duncan highlighted the importance of the ‘live presence’ of the teacher – questioning the effectiveness of technology in the process – in the room, noting that showing video clips and the like are all well and good, but asked if it is more beneficial to create a live one-off event in which teaching and learning is taking place.
Duncan thus led us into contemplating the thesis of his talk: are we using tech well or are we wasting time learning how to use it which could be better used teaching our students?
Adam Simpson for the roving reporter team