Teachers at my children’s school cannot be accused of suffering from technophobia: On the contrary, they are on the front lines of IT. It’s a subject from Kindergarden, and from 5th grade virtually all communication (outside the classroom) between teachers, students, and parents takes places electronically. The school’s website contains a wealth of information and is updated daily, and each student have his/her own MacBook from 6th grade. This is all well and good: When used wisely, IT is a great tool to make life easier and offer new learning opportunities: Like when students in music classes use their computers to put their own music pieces together as soundtrack for a movie; or when students work in groups via digital chat rooms; or when students check out homework in a digital forum.
Problems arise when enthusiasm for new technology gets out of hand, and more and more digital tools are used, without considering consequences for students. Each school year, paper agendas are handed out for students to write down homework during class hours. In addition, they need to check homework on up to FIVE different digital sites: Moodle, Google Classroom, Homework Link, Google email, Google Drive. Moreover, there is PowerSchool, a site showing grades and any missing assignments. This range of IT tools is convenient for teachers, each selecting the tool that suits them best. But for students it’s time consuming, and they risk overlooking assignments or homework. Of course it’s good to be able to check homework online if you’ve been absent or if you didn’t have time to write everything down in class, but FIVE digital places seem bit over the top.
I often hear teachers speak about the importance of students learning to be ‘organized’ and to manage their homework and deadlines. Maybe it’s about time that teachers take their own medicine by coordinating among themselves the use of IT tools for communication with students!