Thursday, October 9, 2014

Driving Force: Technology or Curriculum?

Day 28 of the Teach Thought Blogging Challenge asks, "Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?" Great question. With all the shiny toys that the digital world has to offer, I need to keep asking, "Am I being seduced by all the bells and whistles? Or does the technology actually facilitate student learning?"

In my case, instruction is writing. This means that whatever I do in class, whatever projects students undertake, the manifest objective should be about students publishing ideas worth sharing. When I'm at my best, I ask myself guiding questions: How does today's activity help with drafting and revising? How well does the exercise work toward developing student voices and perspectives? Is this project the most effective way for students to experience the burn of writing for a real audience? Those queries animate my lesson planning.

And when assessing student learning, I go back to the same kinds of question: How effective was that prompt at teaching persuasive writing? What from the project accounts facilitated students' voice? Did that exercise demonstrate to students the significance of rhetorical appeals From the start to finish, learning outcomes frame and book-end the process. 

That's what I understand now from reflection and practice (thanks, PLN!). This, coming from someone easily dazzled by software! I've traveled quite a bit of distance away from giving in to the allure of technology without considering curricular goals. I'm sure I'll always be in process, guided by the principle that technology is a tool, not the outcome.