Studio B Productions asked 35 top education experts the same simple question: “What are the most effective uses of technology in online and mobile education?” Each of the 35 responses were put into a slideshow. The introduction to this project spells out the common theme that emerged from the short essays: advances in mobile and online tools, social networks, and content are putting students at the center of learning.
I contributed to this collection of essays. Below is what I submitted.
Explaining It to Grandma: Turning What You Learn into Something to Teach
While there are great websites and apps that deliver content, I think the best use of technology in education is to make something with what you're learning. This might include producing a video, authoring a blog post, recording a puppet show, creating a college, narrating a slideshow, designing a comic book, or somehow making your own media and study aids.
Albert Einstein's said, "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." Technology gives us many avenues for explaining our learning. It also can give us an audience, whether that audience is a grandmother, a friend, or a stranger. What's more, technology often allows for the audience to provide feedback to the learner.
Yes, there are loads of drill and skill apps, digital books, and electronic response systems that can be very useful in classrooms. What's more exciting to me are apps that empower students to be creative and expressive.
It's powerful to process what you're learning and turn it into something to teach others. As a fifth grade teacher, I had groups of students focus on different topics. Each group was responsible for teaching the rest of the class what they learned. I believe in giving students choices in how they convey information, so there was always a variety of learning artifacts.
My students enjoyed learning by teaching others. They loved using technology. As learners it just makes sense to use technology to help ourselves and others understand what we're learning.
To see some online and mobile tools that empower students to show what they know, check out my infographic.