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Technology and Student-Centered Teaching: Shouldn’t the Two Align?

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ed techA few months ago Education Week published an article titled “Why Ed Tech Is Not Transforming How Teachers Teach.” The subtitle was “Student-centered, technology-driven instruction remains elusive for most” and the piece included this sentence: “The student-centered, hands-on, personalized instruction envisioned by ed-tech proponents remains the exception to the rule.”

Naturally, because I host Studentcentricity: Practical Strategies for Teaching with Students at the Center, I took notice and invited Leslie Wilson, CEO of the One-to-One Institute, and Brian Aspinall, a teacher and author of “The Real 1:1 Is Not About Devices” to join me for a discussion on the topic.

Following our conversation, Leslie sent me the takeaways below:

Moving to a learner-centric model must be a focus aligned with strategies that help educators shift their traditional adult-centered approach.

This process must first encompass a vision: what does a learner-centered ecosystem look like? Sound like? Feel like? To what actions do we aspire? Then, how do we move in that direction? It is a process not a turnkey solution.

Professional learning is fundamental to making this happen. There must be an embedded, ongoing system for educators to design, implement, reflect upon techniques for getting to ‘school’ where students have authentic agency.

It is not tinkering around the edges; it is real change which at first sounds/feels amorphous. It takes on shape and definition as educators collaborate, implement and debrief/reflect together.

I invite you to listen to the discussion here and to read the two articles cited above. To further explore the topic, you might also want to read the following:

“David Greene: Teachers or Technology?”

“Why New Technologies Could Never Replace Great Teaching”

“Technology Will Not Replace Teachers”

As Leslie was quoted as saying in the ED Week piece, “If schools take all this technology and use it like a textbook, or just have teachers show PowerPoint, or use drill-and-kill software, they might as well not even have it.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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Rae Pica has been an education consultant specializing in the development and education of the whole child, children's physical activity, and active learning since 1980. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the author of 19 books, including the text Experiences in Movement and Music and, most recently, What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children's Lives. Rae has shared her expertise with such groups as the Sesame Street Research Department, the Head Start Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, Gymboree, Nike, and state health departments throughout the country. She is a member of the executive committee of the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences and is co-founder of BAM Radio Network, where she hosts Studentcentricity, interviewing experts in education, child development, play research, the neurosciences, and more on teaching with students at the center.

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Guest Friday, 21 October 2016