Revisiting my commitment

Last year I re-established my commitment to use technology that was meaningful for learning.  I have spent most of today working on building various presentations and generally geeking-out with the tools.

I have re-discovered some pitfalls that have caught me in the past.  First, it is so very tempting to sit down with a new tool and start playing.  That is what I did today with Keynote on my iPad.  Its pretty rad and I think I created some cool stuff.  But, I worked for 6+ hours today and I don’t really have much to show for it.  Learning new tools is slow business.

It has also become obvious again to me just how much I am content playing with the cool shiny tools instead of creating meaningful support.  I really don’t want to just use technology because I have it, but that is pretty much what I did today.

Am I just out of practice “thinking with” my technology? I could have done this by hand in less than 25% of the time I took to do it today with my iPad.  If I keep going will I get faster and then waste less time?

Am I falling into the trap of investing in bells and whistles and polished presentations over deep, meaningful content?

These fears parallel my fears in deepening my commitment to making my students work together.  I have learned the hard way that the best way to quickly sour your students against group work is to assign them to a group to work on a task that doesn’t require they work together – – when you simply make them sit together and talk together but they really ought to be working alone, or collaborating with a neighbor only when needed.

I want to create meaningful activities for my students, infused with and delivered by up-to-date, powerful and attractive technology.  I want this technology to empower my students, not just entertain them.

This is really hard to do well