Friday, August 5, 2011

It’s Not About the Angry Birds—Or is it?

How are our students using technology?  As you are no doubt aware, Angry Birds is an incredibly popular game.  However, if our students’ use of technology were limited to playing Angry Birds, we would not be effectively leveraging technology for learning.
Superintendents, principals, teacher-leaders and other leaders should promote a shared vision of how technology supports teaching and learning.  The essential conditions for leveraging technology identified by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) include the existence of a shared vision.  The Consortium for School Networking Initiative emphasizes that leaders need to “develop a vision of web 2.0 for achieving your district’s goals.”  Without a shared vision relating to technology, the educators in your school community who use technology may just be techno-cheerleaders, the term Mark Bauerlein uses to describe people who assume that technology automatically yields benefits.
Your vision for technology should be linked to your overall vision for teaching and learning.  Because they are at the heart of our district’s vision for teaching and learning, the concepts of student engagement and 21st century rigor drive our efforts to leverage technology for learning.  Another blog post provides examples of student use of technology which reflects engagement and rigor.  ISTE, in fact, encourages leaders to promote a culture “that provides a rigorous, relevant and engaging education.

The point isn’t that you must use the concepts of engagement and rigor to leverage technology.  Your district’s vision for teaching and learning may revolve around other hooks, such as project-based learning, problem-based learning or differentiated instruction.  Embed your technology initiatives in your district’s vision.
I recently was preparing for a presentation (slideshare link) at the #BLC11 Conference hosted by Alan November.  When I shared the concepts with a colleague (@ccrudy), she gently suggested that I reconsider my statement that it (integrating technology) is not about the Angry Birds.  She shared a link to a blog post entitled Angry Birds in the Physics Classroom.  The author shared multiple investigations that students could carry out relating to Angry Birds and physics.  For example, one video clip of an angry bird is accompanied by the question, “Does the blue angry bird conserve momentum during its split into three?”  This blog post led me to recognize that perhaps leveraging technology is about Angry Birds in the sense that we can use this game to tap student interest in digital tools to engage them in rigorous learning experiences.  So, before you dismiss Angry Birds, ask how this game, or any technology, can help your school community realize its vision of teaching and learning.

For a podcast discussion I had with Alan November regarding fostering change through leadership, visit this link.

1 comment:

  1. Angry Birds is an incredibly popular game. This is very good use of technology.
    I like it very much....

    Online Graduate Program
    Online Courses