1. George, I totally agree! Regardless if teachers are using technology in their lesson or not, “engagement” should be the byproduct of great instruction, NOT the objective. It’s all about empowering students to construct their own knowledge! Great post and thanks for sharing!

  2. Garth Trask

    What an excellent article. A true reminder that the teacher needs to let go of control of learning. The end goal is student “flow” for knowledge through exploration, construction, creativity, and collaboration. Empower the student and only step-in to guide and assist, like a coach.

  3. Michelle Baldwin

    “Engagement” is that buzzword, isn’t it? For some teachers, engagement looks like kids working and busy. For others, it means that the kids connect to what they’re learning, are asking questions, and eager to learn more. What’s better for the student?

    I wrote a post about the myth of engagement last fall (http://avenue4learning.com/2013/09/14/the-myth-of-engagement/) and mentioned that technology tools sometimes become the gimmick or “trick” to get kids hooked. Bad pedagogy and bad lessons are still bad, even (especially?) when technology is in the mix. A digital worksheet is still a worksheet. Kids aren’t stupid, and they know that the work they do on a worksheet doesn’t necessarily go anywhere.

    Thank you for bringing up the difference between engagement and empowerment. When kids understand that their learning makes a difference in the world, the learning changes. THAT is what I want for my students, not just busy work on a device.

  4. Andrew Pass

    George, I’m thinking about the concept of empowerment that you mention. In the 21st Century we all need to continue to learn all the time because knowledge is not stagnant. If this is true, than we need to be empowered as adults to learn. But empowered learning may or may not come naturally. I think that it is something that students must learn how to do effectively in school Consequently, when educators empower students to learn, they don’t only empower them for the moment but they empower them for the future.


  5. Victoria Miliucci

    Couldn’t agree more with this post. As a soon-to-be teacher (currently still enrolled in my pre-service program) we are constantly encouraged to incorporate technology into the classroom. There are so many valuable resources and it is often through trial and error that we figure out what works best for our students.

    Unfortunately, many people are still under the impression that showing a video or having the students perform a task using the internet means that we are incorporating “21st Century teaching.” I fully agree that it is not enough just to present the students with technology, but that we must also engage and empower them to perform a meaningful task that they will enjoy.

    Figuring out how to do that is always the tough part! But at least if student engagement/empowerment is our central focus, we will be more likely to find success.

    • Dave Riddell

      “…fully agree that it is not enough just to present the students with technology, but that we must also engage and empower them to perform a meaningful task that they will enjoy.

      Figuring out how to do that is always the tough part!”

      Love the last part of your statement Victoria..except you should have said ‘figuring out how to do that is always the ‘most rewarding’ part…as that truly is the essence of teaching for me anyways. Sadly, when teachers realize that developing and constructing ‘meaningful’ tasks is ‘tough’…they more often than not do not persevere and think through the design of a possible meaningful task, claiming they do not have ‘time’. That’s when you see most resort to showing videos and throwing meaningless tasks out to a class involving a laptop that really accomplishes nothing while claiming their students are ‘engaged’. Keep persevering Victoria and when in doubt continue to push forward and persevere to find those ‘meaningful and rewarding’ tasks…after 30 years it still gives me thrills.

  6. Nash Phil

    Please address the issue of “all technology” being credible education tools.
    Classroom tech is often given a blanket approval because some teacher or speaker “says” “it’s a great tool for the classroom”.
    Seriously, Give the term educational value real meaning. Twitter is NOT valuable as an educational tool, Regardless of how many quacks proclaim it as one. How about raising your hand and responding with a complete sentence!
    QR codes???? Really, why can’t the teacher just put a Link to the place you want to go?
    I have the same problem with using PowerPoint and others instead of writing a thought filled essay. Present facts, great. Thoughts and personal statements, Not happening.

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