Don’t Add Technology to a Lesson Just for the Sake of Technology

My 5th grader spent five minutes crying about her homework when she arrived home from school, today. I could write an entire post on this, and have written similar posts, in the past. However, I noted one of the busywork activities she was asked to complete related to the use of Web 2.0 tools. As a former Classrooms for the Future teacher, I know a little something about integrating technology in the classroom. I am a powerful advocate for using technology in such a way that it supports a strong pedigogical implementation. This activity does not.

In preparation for a spelling test, my daughter was asked to create Wordle that used all 20 of her spelling words. Here’s a great post, from Elmira College, that talks about the “non-sensical” data that a Wordle may generate. In this case, there isn’t even any non-sensical data. It is just a list of 20 words that are now created in a colorful poster. The picture for this blog post is the result. I’m not sure how this helped her in preparation for the spelling test and I am certain that this isn’t a pedigogically sound way to implement the use of Wordle in the classroom. (Here’s another great post on why the way we “teach” spelling in the U.S. doesn’t work!)

Instead of using Wordle for the sake of using Wordle, try using it for any of the following approaches:

  • Paste a speech or other primary source document and analyze the frequencies of the uses of specific words
  • Paste a copy of a student generated essay or letter and analyze the word uses as a reflection tool
  • Paste the texts of multiple written works on the same topic and analyze the outcomes of each of the Wordles

Notice the use of word “analyze” in each of my proposed examples. What we want is for our students to move up to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in their uses of technology tools. Thus, each of these examples could be used as a scaffolding tool in a greater authentic learning experience.

Opinions expressed, in this blog, are my own. I look forward to your comments, in response.

Posted in Technology.

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