Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The Buck Stops Here
In much the same way, we teachers ultimately have a responsible to foster learning in the classroom; but on the other side of the coin, it's important to remember the authority we have in making key choices.
I bring up this point because I noticed in class that we talked at length about our responsibility as teachers to cater to students learning needs -- and that various technological tools can help us do that. Again, we have the authority to act on our best judgment.
But I think our best judgment must include more than simply the students: it must include us. I believe for teachers to effectively use any learning tool, they must first be comfortable with it themselves.
Let me give you an example. I once taught a course on public relations writing, of which blogging assignments were a critical component. Like our EDHI course, I chose Blogger as the platform -- and for many of the same reasons we discussed in class (access through Google, ease of use, benefits of a universal platform, etc.).
However, before I made this decision I reviewed other options and sought the input of students. By far, Blogger and WordPress were the preferred options, so I played around with both. In my opinion, WordPress is far more powerful, customizable, and ultimately useful.
In the end, however, I was simply more comfortable with Blogger, which is the main reason I went with it. Sure, I was worried that the complexities of WordPress would lead to confusion on the students' part, but I was more afraid they would lead to incompetence on my part. I wasn't comfortable integrating a technology into a classroom with which I was not personally confident using.
Important as the student perspective is in learning, I think it's critical to remember that we, as teachers, are a big part of that equation as well. Ultimately, the buck stops with us.