What's your focus teaching or learning?

So many times we use the phrase “Teaching & Learning” but really we need to be asking ourselves: Are we focusing on teaching or learning? This came up in a discussion with Kim earlier today, (BTW….the two of us in a room for longer than 10 minutes is enough deep conversation to keep me going the rest of the day) that what we are focusing on is not necessary student learning, but instead teachers teaching. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and take our eye off of what we’re really here for. As we continue to support teachers using technology tools in their classrooms we need to realize that teachers’ use of technology is not the same as supporting teachers teaching with technology. In these early days I’ve been supporting the use of technology. Answering questions about SmartBoards, Entourage, Office 2008, OSX 10.5, etc. Although it’s important to support teachers in the use of technology it’s much different then supporting teachers teaching with technology. Supporting the use of technolgy Supporting the use of technology focuses on the tool itself. Not on the learning or the students. When we support teachers by helping them with a SmartBoard Notebook file, or teaching them some new trick in Office, we are supporting their use of the tool, not their use of that tool for learning. One can easily get sucked into supporting the use of technology full time (such as I have lately) and not make a true impact with technology in the classroom as a learning engine. As long as we continue to think of technology as a tool for learning we are going to get caught in this circle of supporting teachers use of the tools, rather than focusing on student learning. Technology as a tool worked when the impact on learning was small. I think of the use of Word or any Office application for that matter. It was a tool that we used to replace a way we had/have always done things. Technology for Learning is Bigger than the Tool! Technology for learning is about connecting students to information and using applications that allow students to manipulate data, ask questions and interact with information. I think of the use of Google Earth…not to study the Earth being round (using the tool like a globe) but instead using Google Earth with an overlay of migration patterns...

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