A little while ago, I was chuffed to be asked by the good folks at Bloomsbury to take part in their CPD library series. My contribution would be on technology in the classroom. How technology, pedagogy and curriculum intersect has always fascinated me, but I have long suspected that the use of technology in the classroom is generally poorly understood and, as a consequence, its impact is both unfairly maligned by detractors and disproportionately embellished by many of its proponents – often simultaneously.
The book starts from the principle that in order to be able to think critically about using technology in the classroom, you must first know about how technology can be used to support teaching and learning. I adopt the premise that the use of technology can be both positive and negative and that it’s how it is used and for what purpose that really matters. And so the book sets out to dispel myths about what technology is and isn’t good for and is aimed at anyone who is interested in exploring, from an evidence-informed perspective, how technology can be put to good use in the classroom, drawing from both research and classroom practice.
Below is an extract from the opening chapter:
This book is about using technology effectively to support great teaching and learning. It will look beyond the whizz and bang traditionally associated with the use of technology and will explore practical, pedagogically sound ways in which technology can improve outcomes and add value within a school’s context, both in the classroom and beyond. Our focus will be on the great teaching and learning that can happen when technology is used appropriately and successfully, and not on using technology for its own sake.
In the rest of this book’s two main parts we will assess and investigate what we know – both as individuals and as a profession – about the effective use of technology in schools, and will combine this with research-informed strategies that have been shown to improve the quality of teaching and learning. We will explore well-established theory and its implications on practice, evaluating and bringing together findings from the fields of educational technology and cognitive psychology, among others.
Equipped with knowledge about how technology works best, what makes great teaching and how to make learning stick, we will then develop context-specific strategies to adopt the use of technology when it is pedagogically profitable to do so. The goal will be to integrate technology seamlessly into daily practice so that technology is used almost reflexively, intuitively and without fuss. Throughout this process we will evaluate and reflect on the impact of these strategies, picking out the best and using them as the basis of a school-wide professional development programme with the effective use of technology at its core.
The provision of technology-focused CPD often promotes the use of eye-catching digital tools and equipment without due consideration to pedagogical factors and, crucially, the individual school’s context. In the second part of this book we will look more closely at the knowledge and skills required to design, plan and implement an effective, technology-focused CPD programme that will have a positive and lasting impact on practice.
Using technology in the classroom is released on 16 November and is available for pre-order here.