Several times a year, I teach an online class called the Tech-infused Classroom. Here, we discuss the idea that tech-infusing a class isn’t about replacing activities with technology, rather enhancing and extending learning with the wonderful tech tools now available (think M or R on the SAMR Model).
One of my students, Matthew DiSiena, a PK-8 grade tech teacher in Queens New York, wrote a top-notch description of what he sees as the tech-infused classroom:
The tech-infused classroom is a place where we use technology.
We use technology.
I know, that sounds too simple and too short of an explanation. We use technology for everything! I use technology to teach, the students use technology to learn and teach each other. Students run into a problem on the computer, they know how to solve it, they try to solve it, or they ask a friend next to them to teach them how to solve it, so they know how to solve it in the future. We always explain, step by step, how to do something, never taking the mouse out of someone’s hand. If you want to teach someone how to kick a soccer ball, you tell them how to kick a soccer ball, then they try and kick the soccer ball themselves. If we just kicked the soccer ball for someone then they would never learn how to become a good soccer player themselves.
If there is work we want to save for later, we know how to do that in a variety of ways. We save to our flash drives, we save to our network class folder, we know how to name our file so that we can find it easily, and work on it later. We send an e-mail, we upload to the cloud, we know what to do! If the internet is down, we don’t panic, if our app isn’t working… we don’t panic! We use it as an opportunity to learn. We restart the computer, we do something else until the WiFi returns. What is Paint? Oh, I can use Paint, or Microsoft Office, or whatever apps are found locally on my computer until the Internet is back up? That is fine. I won’t freak out. To me, these are all examples of what a tech-infused classroom is. Yes, we are learning everything we can with technology as our conduit, but we are also not afraid of technology, we are not afraid of obstacles that sometimes interfere with our learning, we stay calm, we help each other, we learn from each other, we troubleshoot, we use dictionary.com to find out what a word means and we return to that article we were reading, or that document we were typing.
We are digital citizens! We know that the internet is like a pool, that has a shallow end and a deep end. We need to learn how to swim in order to get to the deep end. We need lifeguards, we need to protect ourselves. If the pool analogy does not work for you, then we can use a neighborhood analogy. Don’t talk to strangers, make sure your parents know what you are doing, and you need to have some street smarts. Know that there are places that are not safe to go to, and we need to understand those warning signs. Who do we talk to if we accidentally see something we shouldn’t, what are the proper precautions?
Finally, we are up to date. We are reaching out to the outside world, and constantly growing because of it. We may have used an app to learn something or create something, but is there something better out there? Is there something that we can learn or use that will make our lives easier, and allow us to be more efficient with our time? I used to have the students upload all of their work to my Weebly account, but now that I have network folders, that process has become obsolete! And I think that is wonderful. These are some examples as to what the tech-infused classroom should look like, and we should be tech-infused learners and teachers as well.
I wish I’d said that…
–If you want to find Matthew, try his blog or his Twitter handle, @MD7068
More on the tech-infused classroom:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.