I recently had a discussion with a Social Studies teacher who was telling me about the great project her students were doing.
She told that the students researched their famous person, spent several days to put it in PowerPoint and a day to present it. I asked her what a project contained. She said it had the person, his/her birthday and place, what his/her accomplishment was, and the impact of the accomplishment. I really liked the accomplishment and impact aspect of the project. However, when she told me that this project took “only” a week to do (one day to get the information, three days to do the PowerPoint, and one day to present); I realized that it was a technology project and not an academic learning project. The students spent one out of five days or 20% in learning the academic information. This information is readily available in most encyclopedias or websites such as Wikipedia so student could find it in little time. They spent most of their time in decorating their PowerPoint statements about the person such as finding a map of the state he or she was born. They could have found the information, found a critical picture that illustrates the accomplishment or impact, and presented in one period. When students have a clear learning purpose (the accomplishments of people), they can thoroughly accomplish the task through meaningful and effective uses of technology. I wonder why the teacher allowed her students to waste four valuable learning days.
Do you focus on student learning or technology in your students’ technology-infused learning?