I’m participating this week in a series of workshops on teaching, learning, and technology. There’s a lot of talk about what you have to consider when you’re implementing a technology-enhanced learning project. We’re supposed to think about how the technological enhancements are contributing to student learning. It shouldn’t be just something you’re doing because it’s shiny, or because everyone else is doing it.
But so I’ve been thinking about what counts as technology, and what counts as technological enhancement. Writing is a technology. Taking notes in class, writing on the blackboard — these are technological enhancements, and all the same questions apply. When I’m writing on the board, how does that enhance student learning? It shouldn’t just be something I’m doing because everyone else is doing it.
There’s a lot of talk about the flipped classroom model, in which lectures are video recorded so students can watch them at home, which makes space in the classroom to work together to engage more deeply with the material, in ways that used to be shoved off into homework. This is talked up as something new that “technology” enables for us.
But if you think about it, what was the first flipped classroom? I’d say it was the first time someone assigned a reading. This is great! It frees up so much class time for discussion! I used to have to tell my students everything I wanted them to learn, but now I can have them read something in a book (scroll? papyrus?) and come prepared for class! They’re doing work on their own and hearing other writers’ voices!
I’m interested to learn about new electronic platforms for doing this in different ways, but what’s really new here?