01 November 2009

What Do You Make of This

If you're an 80's kind of child, then the header to this post probably engenders a response of "This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl..." as once uttered by the character Johnny in the movie Airplane! What I'm wondering about at the moment, however, is the various ways you might use video clips like the one above in class---and whether or not using one "counts" as technology integration.

I've been pondering this while sifting through the mountain of links I inherited. Most of the links are fine (and are tagged under a list of "integration resources"), but I don't know that we can assume that just handing a link to a teacher is enough to assume that integration of technology is occurring.

When I think about video clips like the one above, I see potential for a lot of things. I see a launch for a unit of study---especially the opportunity for predictions and observations. I see a chance for formative assessment. I spy (with my little eye) a resource for reteaching or an intervention activity. I also smell a model summative assessment---something to prime kids' pumps before they go out and document an inquiry lesson within their own classroom.

Maybe Johnny was wrong in his thinking about the hat/brooch/pterodactyl. Perhaps I need to look at these links in a more Magritte sort of way:

Ceci n'est pas une YouTube video! Ceci est une "instructional material." Mais oui!

But do other teachers look at such resources in this way? Will they if I simply hand them the link---or are supporting documents necessary?

The bigger question for me, however, is whether or not using a video clip as an instructional material means that technology is being integrated into the classroom. I have been wondering if the answer is dependent upon who is using the clip. If, as a teacher, I use the pickle clip at the beginning of this post at the beginning of a unit, then I may be integrating technology (both hardware and software) into my lesson...but has it been integrated into student learning? Is it better than me actually doing the demonstration for students? Why would I choose a video clip over a "live" option?

When does something stop being a vanilla instructional resource and become technology integration? If a teacher goes to a website and downloads a worksheet to print for students---is that teaching with technology? What if s/he projects the same worksheet on an interactive whiteboard and students answer the questions or edit the passages there? Is a classroom with a single computer (and just at the teacher's workstation) able to integrate technology---or does it require x number of student computers? How many sites need to be able to get through the &$#@*! internet filter? I don't expect a single line here that will divide the issue into "this is integration" and "this is not." However, if we can't at least come up with some guidelines, how will be bring along those teachers who are still struggling to add a row to an Excel sheet or change the size of a font in a document? How do we get them to see the same possibilities as Johnny did for a piece of newspaper in Airplane! when someone sends a link to video on YouTube?


Roger Sweeny said...

When does something stop being a vanilla instructional resource and become technology integration?

What the $#@! does it matter? This business is too concerned with process and not enough concerned with results.

All that really matters is what the students learn.

The Science Goddess said...

For some reason, it matters a lot to many many people. I think that for them the "how" (instructional resource) and the "what" (technology) are almost the same goals. In other words, teachers integrate technology not only to foster learning of content, but of the tool as well---it's both process and results. Two great tastes that taste great together.

Those who are most impassioned by educational technology use the argument that without it, kids will be unprepared for real life as adults. I don't think this is the best approach. Teachers have been doing that for decades. I do think that looking for ways that tech integration promotes learning (what really matters) would be more meaningful. Stay tuned.

Angela Rand said...

You ask some very good questions and I see your point. While I find it very difficult to see that magical line that says "that's integration, that's not integration" of technology, I do know that using technology to teach can be beneficial. For me it's more like the porn question: I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. Would I ever go back to a world that does NOT use technology? NO WAY! For one thing, I couldn't be having conversations with a group of very smart people who are willing to ask questions and plow through the ditches of deep questions that need to be asked about what's wrong with education today. How can we make it more cost effective, efficient, applicable to life, interesting and how can we be sure students are learning? Can we be sure? Sorry, I meant to say and only ended up asking more questions. :)