Student Voice with Tablets vs. Pens?

So many discussions about technology in education begin with a conversation about either the woes of how technology is driving the curriculum or of some fear it will replace the teacher. 

Tech is another tool.  I hold nothing in my hand.  Now I pick up a pen.  What can I do now that I hold a pen that I couldn’t before I had the pen in my hand?  What a powerful tool the pen is!  How it has shaped our world.

Will the pen do all the work for me?  Does the pen have the words and ability to make them jump on the paper?  Silly.  Yet we often start discussions of today’s technology this way.  To use the tablet or not?  What if we had just let the pen sit there and never explored it’s potential in education?  What if we only gave wealthy students access to the pen? Etc.

Three weeks this summer, I worked in a summer camp for high school migrant youth.  Some of them had held an iPad before and knew more about its uses than me.  For others, this was their first time.  Within a few hours with minimal guidance of a college staff leader, they shared their voices.  They created about themselves on topics of relevance to them.  Check out their videos here!

I sense this is only the beginning.  With many of these emerging technologies, it’s like picking up the pen for the first time and realizing, “This has potential in my hands—wait, it has more potential in my students’ hands!”  We’re wrapping our heads around this.  Play, create, share, and reflect.  Think in terms of collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and culture.  The framework of my tech course is becoming more important to me as I think about the emerging technologies.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post about some of the how-tos and my instructional tech take-aways of this summer migrant leadership camp experience.

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