Ask a Mentor
By Gabe Kraljevic
As new teachers, we’re often encouraged to use technology as much as we can. Do you think that often lessons could be taught without integrating technology, and integrating more hands-on activities?
Not all lessons require technology. As with anything, a teacher has to assess the best methods of teaching a lesson and should not shoehorn technology—or anything else—into that lesson without thought or purpose. I agree that our lessons should be authentic and allow students the freedom to explore hands-on without resorting to pre-made data or simulations. It is not the technology that is so important, but how you use it. You have to judge what is better for your students’ learning.
Having said that, we must remember that a thermometer is technology. So are cameras, sensors, meters, and other devices. Technology is very hands-on and should be used whenever appropriate. What is more authentic: spending inordinate amounts of time hand-drawing graphs or creating charts of lab data, or using a spreadsheet to generate clean information and identify trends quickly? Should students draw pictures or take photographs and make videos of observations?
Some excellent apps allow students to share ideas and communicate their understanding. Cell phones have become incredible tools for science.
I think we should carefully assess the ways in which we teach science and ask ourselves, “Is this how a scientist does this?” As John Dewey said, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”
Hope this helps!