Thursday, June 18, 2009

Validation and Authenticity

Interesting post over at Copy / Paste concerning student perceptions of what their answers mean to a teacher.
Students learn that their comments are of provisional value until "approved" by the teacher. Over time, students stop listening to each other and only focus on what the teacher says or validates.

I'm interested in how this observation applies to technology in the classroom.

There's been a lot of talk over whether or not technology 'helps' students see things more broadly, let alone whether it helps students take part in the learning process in a more authentic and effective manner.

The fact of the matter is, when it comes to the value of technology, it's all a matter of how you use it.

If your laptop/LCD setup is merely being used as a flashy overhead projector, then you might as well not be using it. If you are just using ed software to give easily graded multiple choice tests, then you might as well go with the Scantron.

The successful 21st century classroom will be the one in which the teacher's and the students' minds and the teacher's and the students' technology work seamlessly towards facilitating a fluid, transparent, open ended discussion between the teacher, the students, and the expanse of the connected network. It is a classroom that integrates authentic globally connected social media and authentic face-to-face conversation together into a learning reality.

Because when it comes to the matter of student validation, it's a matter of authenticity.

The whole thing revolves around a teacher who understands how to use and is comfortable working in a connected environment and who sets a tone of learning that suggests to the students that their answers carry the weight of intellectual identity and should be more than vain attempts to mimic what the teacher 'wants'.

The whole thing revolves around a teacher who understands how to integrate social media in such a way that the students are responding to one another and taking part in the big conversation beyond the classroom walls.

Otherwise, the students only learn to seek validity. And as Pappas states:
With no teacher to validate their comments, they naturally gravitate to other subjects where peer comments are valued - "what are you doing this weekend?"

1 comment:

  1. Interesting application to technology in the classroom. Your observations on PPT and Scantron are painfully true. Too often students are left watching the teachers use technology.

    Students should be using technology in ways that allow them to research, think, collaborate, problem solve in new ways. Not simply automate something they did before. Example - Wordle


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