Many voices discuss technology in classrooms. The one which we should be hearing loud and clear is the student voice. Student engagement can build upon true reflection. It is not important only that the technology is there but that it is truly making a difference. As we learn with recent studies such as this recent Pew Research study, young people today are learning and interacting with technology in new ways each and every day as has never been seen before. This Edweek article by Katie Ash and Michele Davis discusses student reflection and technology.
I find this video to be interesting as the students are giving unique and honest appraisals of how they learn with technology.
The NETS-A standards for school administrators second standard -
Digital Age Learning Culture calls us to
create, promote, and sustain a dynamic, digital-age learning culture that provides a rigorous, relevant, and engaging education for all students
In visiting schools, I enjoy talking to students about what learning with technology means to them. I find that they are interested in exploring new learning tasks and new modes of communication. They are eager to share their thoughts on this. Technology is a subject that they are clearly comfortable discussing. Many recent visits I have done to schools are to classrooms where one to one laptops or netbooks are in use. They report that they are learning the same things that they learned before but in new and interesting ways. One student recently said simply, “It makes school easy. Everything I need to know I can find right here in my netbook.’
Questions to Ask Students on Technology Use For Learning
- How is learning different or better now that you use a netbook/laptop/technology each day?
- What do you like best about it? What are the challenges?
- How has it transformed classwork? Your interactions with your teacher?
- Are you communicating in new ways? Collaborating in new ways? Creating more?
- What new tools are you using and what kind of difference do they make in how you learn?
- Does the technology give you the opportunity to think deeply or critically about what you are learning? Give an example.
- Are the netbooks/laptops easy to manage? What new strategies did you have to put in place to care for it?
- In what ways does your teacher encourage learning with technology? How do they model technology use?
Some other very good sample questions are listed here on the Colearning wiki.
Ways to Gather Student Opinions on Technology Use for Learning
- Video Interviews
- Classroom Observations
- Discussions – Online and Face to Face
What are your favorite means as a school administrator or teacher gather student opinions on learning with technology?