Sunday, February 09, 2014

Tools Matter

In schools, it is about the tools. Are you intentional about your tool choices. Do your students get a say?

When they have trouble writing their ideas because of difficulty forming letters legibly and you only offer paper and pencil, you may be preventing many learners from demonstrating what they know. Some students have difficulty with spelling and their printed word choices don't reflect their vocabulary. (You've said it, "They have great ideas, but they can't get them on paper.") So do you insist that the students in your classroom continue to show you what they know with paper and pencil and worksheets and packets? Do you realize you may be inhibiting their learning?

When you choose to use an interactive whiteboard and do not record the video from your lesson you may be preventing students from learning. When they need repetition and review and all you do is repeat your instruction verbally, you may be preventing students from being in control of their learning. When you have access to an iPad and choose not to create screencasts for later review by students who need previewing, repetition and review, you are missing an opportunity to promote success and independence.

When you repeat your instruction the same way, you may be preventing your learners from engagement and learning. Give options; use multiple methods of presentation and engagement to reach students. They learn best that way.

Be intentional. Offer options. Use a variety of tools to reach all the learners in your classroom.  

(To access a list of free tools, check out the UDL Tech Toolkit) 


Michael at QuizBean said...

I must say, though, that instruction has come a lot further in recent years - and I'm only 26. When I was in high school, it was the chalkboard or straight lecture. No visuals.

I like that teachers are starting to incorporate mixed media into their lessons plans because there are so many other ways students learn, then simply auditory.

Thanks for the great post!

Unknown said...

I find that what you say is so true. I work at a school that focuses on behavior, no matter the cause. My specific program focuses on the behaviors that are brought about due to disabilities, (eg. autism.) We have recently received a grant to purchase a new building and put in the latest technology. I had the pleasure of having an apple TV installed with my my Mimio Board (an interactive whiteboard system.)The challenge that I face is how incorporate the technology in my classroom. I find that since I am the one that is willing to have this technology installed that the school is looking to me to find the answer of how to use all of the new tech! Any suggestions would be great,but I have some already.

Chris Hughes said...

I completely agree with you. I firmly believe in holding people (even children) to high standards, but at the same time, you must set students up for success.