I have worked with educational technology in institutions around the world since 1995, when I built my first website to share my lesson plans and handouts with students. The response from that early effort has driven me over the 25 years since, to look for every opportunity to infuse curriculum projects with technology. I have worked with educational technology in institutions of higher learning, in institutions dedicated to vocational studies, in K-12 institutions, in several different countries, all of which wanted to improve outcomes for their students.
In all of these cases, they used their educational technology to support curriculum development, communication between stakeholders, to support interactions between teachers and students, to support interactions between students and students. Here at our institution, we have a wide range of excellent educational technology tools. We too want the best opportunities for our students. We too need to support curriculum development, communications, and interactions between teachers and students, between students and students.
If we can demonstrate to ourselves the value of enhancing the uses of educational technology, then we will be on the road to finding more time to communicate and interact, more ways to communicate and interact, and eventually more ways to produce better outcomes for our students.
First, our students already use many different tools to tackle the complex problems they must master in our demanding curriculum. In fact, many of our students far exceed us, their teachers, in their use of educational and internet-based technologies to support their own learning and educational outcomes.
We must ensure that we are building the use of these tools into our curriculum and pedagogic practices in order to facilitate and allow our students to better access resources including us. Let us use some of the social media tools they use to communicate with them. Let us use some of the tools with which they are familiar to share resources and ideas with them. Let us let them demonstrate to us how to use these tools to better serve their needs.
Second, it is our responsibility to use the vast array and range of tools that have been provided by our institution to our students’ best advantage, to give them every opportunity to be successful.
Our institutional tools are ‘industry standard’. They are already embedded into many of our practices. Let us better utilize these tools. Let us show our students how we use these tools and how they can use these tools to better communicate, to access the many electronic resources we have ready for them.
And, while we are at it, let us let them share their thoughts on our usage. There are far many more students using these tools than there are of us teachers. Surely their combined experience will teach us many things about these tools.
We love our students and we love our disciplines. Imagine the success we can have, and that our students can have, if we take advantage of the tools at our disposal to help our students be the best that they can be. Imagine if, when the printing press was invented, that we decided that textbooks would not be useful. How wrong we would have been.
Let us pick up the tools that will enable our students to experience greater success. These tools are sitting at our fingertips.