1 Thing Teachers Should Know about Teaching with Technology

Anne Leftwich

Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.

For teachers, the one thing that I believe is most important for them to know is….{drumroll}… to understand when technology can improve teaching or learning. When architects create a plan, they need to carefully consider what materials will best support their plan. Like an architect, teachers need to consider how the materials we select will impact our end goal of student learning.
To arrive at this point, in my classes, I like to remind them to consider the 3 e’s (based off of the Newby, Lehman, Stepich, and Russell book): Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Enhancement. Technology should only be used when it can do one of these three e’s to student learning. Here are three quick examples:

  1. Efficiency: Students may be better able to produce writing drafts and quickly edit them by using a word processor and saving their drafts. Once they review it for mistakes, they can bring up the draft and quickly edit it as opposed to re-writing the piece.
  2. Effectiveness: As students review the three different types of matter (gas, liquids, solids), they may need reinforcement of certain principles. Therefore, a tutorial  where student answer certain questions based on these principles, and when answered, the computer supplies a review of that information with a short flash movie, explaining the principles, students may be more likely to remember this principle and thus impact the effectiveness of the instruction.
  3. Enhancement: Enhancement refers to technology that includes motivational elements, or just allows the teacher/student to do something that was otherwise impossible or difficult. Students may be investigating the Revolutionary War. Believe it or not, this topic is taught much differently in the United Kingdom as opposed to the United States. Students in the US may use technology to discuss the topic with students in the UK, gaining a broader perspective, thus enhancing their understanding of the topic.

While all of these are possible without technology, technology seems to be a great option in these cases to either increase the efficiency, effectiveness, or enhancement or certain teaching and learning opportunities. So, in conclusion, the most important thing I believe we should teach our teachers is that technology is a tool to impact learning, but needs to be carefully considered like any other strategy or tool.

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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

One thought on “1 Thing Teachers Should Know about Teaching with Technology”

  1. Anne
    Thanks for reminding me of the 3e’s. What an excellent assessment tool to pass on to teachers learning to integrate technology. Thanks for all you do!

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