I have been reading another excellent book about technology and the learner. It is called Learning First, Technology Second by Liz Kolb. At first, I thought it was going to be one of those books written to bash technology. On the contrary, it places technology in what I consider the best spot: in the hands of the learner.
Just using technology without effective pedagogy will not work. Oh yes, to some extent you will find technology will keep the attention of students, for a while! But like anything else, once the newness wears off we are back to where we started. Here is where the professional training of educators comes into the picture. Kolb states: “technology should be helping students meet learning goals in ways they could not easily do without the tools.” This makes sense for most teachers. Kolb determines the need for three components: Engagement in learning goals, Enhancement in learning goals, and Extension in learning goals.
She has taken a whole book to explain these important components and I would suggest every teacher come to understand the significance of these components as they grow in their learning about technology integration in the classroom.
Engagement is how students focus on the learning goals and tasks. Enhancement supports how students develop an understanding of the learning goals which they could not otherwise. Extension reflects the bridge between classroom learning and the real world.
Regardless of the device you are using (iPad, Mac, PC, Laptop) or the software, in all cases we must go beyond the technology to ensure its use promotes and enhances the learning for every student. Technology is added only after the learning goals are defined. Just being excited about technology does not mean students are effectively engaged.