Honestly “student-centric education” should be the norm but we are yet to get there. Mainly because there is still the sense that “simply investing in state-of-the-art learning software and technology” will move us forward. However, Christensen and Horn’s Disrupting Class: Student-Centric Education Is the Future: How radical innovation will change the way we teach and students learn. http://www.edutopia.org/student-centric-education-technology shows us why adopting the strategy of placing the hardware in school will not move us forward because “many innovative learning-software approaches already exist, (and yet) they have not had much traction in the classroom — and, where used, they have tended not to transform teaching and learning.” This last point echoes the thoughts and questions I have.
I am lucky to work at a school that is providing us with the latest and best technology out there. I believe that “the key to transforming the classroomwith technology is in how it is implemented.” So I am looking at the i-pads I have in the classroom and already asking myself, “the apps are great but what else can we do with these to further the learning happening in the room?”
I know many even wonder why and if using technology at this grade level is a good idea? Technology use with the youngest students is an area where a lot of conversations need to take place. Which is why I find Christensen and Horn’s idea that “when an innovation is introduced disruptively and planted – it can take root, begin to improve, and over time, transform the way students learn,” interesting and thought-provoking. Perhaps this is why using i-pads at the Preschool/Pre-K level is an effective use of technology. After all, these students have been the non-consumers. Introducing i-pads in their classrooms is disruptive. In the past their needs were not met by the existing technologies due to constraints such as developing fine motor, visual, and literacy skills. Now these younger students are able to use i-pads and extend their learning by independently participating in activities that they find engaging and which allow them to develop at their own pace.
I might be wrong but perhaps this is the kindof “disruptive approach that presents a promising path toward at long last realizing the vision of a transformed classroom.” I sure hope so!