Archive for the 'Waste' Category

Organic Learning With Technology or Inorganic Learning?

I drove past a farmer’s stand that proudly proclaimed itself as organic. I laughed. When I was growing up on a farm, everything was organic. Cows produced the fertilizer for the fields.

I wonder if we have made changes to make the learning process less organic. Have we gone to using technologies in which that might reduce learning? Do our PowerPoints truly energize the learners into deeper learning or do the PowerPoints put them to sleep? Does the time we have the students spend on creating a podcast really reflect in-depth learning about the course’s standard or does the time reflect surface only learning over multiple days? Do our students spend time in responding to others in a blog when the other people do not read their comments? Do our students spend time in creating fancy projects that include many visuals when the visuals do not add more meaning to the project? Do we have students create the same information on a wiki that is presently available in another location? Do we have students virtually visit a location (like a zoo) without having them learn critical standards information?

Have we used technology to interfere with students’ learning instead of helping them to grow in-depth and comprehensively in the standards? How organic is your classroom or have you covered it with harmful fertilizers?

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education


Teacher Technology Use For Students: On Task or a Waste of Time?

Technology Use Learning or Waste

I heard a classroom teacher say, “Do a few Math exercises on the computer and then you can play games for the rest of the period.”

When I heard this, I was shocked. I wanted to scream. This school has very low state math scores and yet the students are going to play non-academic games. I kept track and most students finished the Math in ten minutes so they played for thirty minutes.

It reminded me of a school where every Friday the Special Education students got to play computer games as a reward for working hard the rest of the week. So for working 4/5 days, they got to waste time, a full class period, on the computer. It meant that for 20% of every week, they did not learn. 20% of an 180 school year was 36 days of not learning. I do not know of any student that could miss 36 days of learning and be successful.

Do you use your students’ time effectively when they are using technology? How do you maximize thinking time and minimize hyper-jumping? How do you scaffold the technology-use to help them quickly climb up the thinking levels? How does every minute using technology bring the students closer to being proficient in the standard?


Technology Integration Projects: Structuring,Time, and Student Learning

Structured Learning or Wasted technology

I watched as a teacher had her students prepare a presentation on a famous person. I heard the teacher say to one student “You’ve been looking at the pictures of her for 20 minutes. Maybe you want to find some information.” Also, the teacher said to another student, “I know he has some good songs but you have just been listening to the songs. Are there some websites about him?” At the 45 minutes of the class, I noticed that most students had produced one screen in their PowerPoint presentation. The screen generally said, “__ is a famous singer.” or there was a picture of the famous person.

Yes, it was a wasted 45 minutes. Was it due to the technology? No! The teacher had not structured the experience for the students. There was no handout that walked the students step by step through going from the knowledge level of thinking to the analysis level of thinking. She had not told students what she expected them to produce by the end of the period. She had not specified the depth of information she wanted from the students. She did not model what she wanted. Without her structuring, the students wasted away the period.

How do you structure your technology integrated projects for successful student learning in an efficient time manner?


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