In today’s digital age, there is in my opinion, an appropriate amount of emphasis placed on increasing student engagement. Wonderful tools, such as the eleot, exist to accurately measure student engagement in the learning process. As an educational consultant, my research in schools typically uncovers a common reality: many teachers utilize web 1.0 tools and dip their toes into the water of web 2.0 tools while students are masters of web 2.0 tools and are dipping their toes into the water of web 3.0.
Peppered within school are teachers who have taken a deep dive into the digital water and are using web 2.0 tools to impact learning in the classroom. However, in some cases teachers may find a web 2.0 tool and then use it unceasingly. The overuse makes it less effective in increasing student engagement. This was often the case when Prezi replaced Power Point in classrooms across the country. Even more common is the practice of having students put away their devices so they can better pay attention to the teacher. Certainly, access to a device alone doesn’t increase student engagement. Key to effective use of web 2.0 tools is teachers and students being co-creators of content and partners in the learning process.
Whenever I observe, reflect on, or provide feedback to a school on their use of technology to increase student engagement and enhance learning, I often reference the work of Eric Sheninger. His book, Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times, provides wonderful examples of the technological trends and how the use of technology can impact the learning taking place in classrooms today. Even the often-confused understanding of the difference between web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 is broken down simply as: web 1.0 is informational, 2.0 is relational and 3.0 is anticipatory (preface, xxi).
Perhaps this is our starting point within a school. Schools leaders that have been successful in this area utilize a common metric to provide teachers with feedback such as the RAT framework used in conjunction with a tool such as the eleot to support teachers in achieving a baseline of information to assess their own use of web 2.0 tools. From there they empower them to seek out best practices and give them the time necessary to learn how to integrate the digital tools into their classroom instruction.
As much as we may want to resist it and ask the students to put away their devices, we need to better prepare students to work in a technology rich and technology driven world. What resources are you finding helpful in this area of challenge and promise?