Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Means...Online Courses!

Each summer since 2009 I've had the privilege to lead an online course for teachers through Xavier University about using technology to differentiate and personalize instruction for learners.  My favorite part of facilitating and online course is how much I learn as a result of the discussions held about fundamental ideas around learning with participants.  One would think that technology has changed so much since the class began that the class would have gone through extensive changes in terms of content, but what I'm proud of is that the basic tenets of the class have NOT changed.  While tools have come and gone, and the uses of technology continue to evolve as more becomes possible, the emphasis of our course is on how to take advantage of technology to become stronger teachers and to help students to become better learners.  Sure, some of the arguments change - from "should we allow graphing calculators?" to "should we allow cell phones in the classroom?"  Teachers are a conservative lot, by and large, as they should be in some respects. They have a large and awesome responsibility to help all students in their classrooms learn, but they also have a responsibility to keep students safe and technology use often pushes the boundaries of what students have access to and in recent studies, how they interact with others.  But for those who can see past the dangers into the possibility and actually, have an understanding of the charge to help students navigate online tools in a safe and appropriate way, using technology helps us to expand beyond the four walls of our classrooms to become authentic creators of content and contributors to the larger body of knowledge that exists.

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