During the day, I masquerade as a Product Owner and UX Designer for a non-profit educational software company. This week I had the opportunity to attend a webinar put on by Hatch called “Teaching in the Digital Age: Smart Tools for Early Learners.” Brian Puerling from the Catherine Cook School in Chicago presented about how his school has been able to integrate technology effectively.
One point he made repeatedly resonated with me, and that is that technology should not be used for its own sake. This is true in all industries, but especially in education. There should be a purpose and a goal to every activity, and then technology can become a tool to help facilitate that purpose.
Some of the examples that Puerling gave struck me as fascinating. Even in working with preschool students, they are able to use technology as a way to open up possibilities and allow them to express themselves creatively. Students collaborate to create eBooks which are then published and presented at a publishing party to parents. Students works with a “tech buddy,” older students who serve as mentors on how to use technology, and in turn have tech buddies of their own. After studying a book or particular author, they have a Skype interview with that author and allow the students to connect in an extremely personal way.
Driving all of these examples was a concerted effort with dedicated planning to ensure that the outcomes would match the intended goal. This webinar was a great reminder of all the possibilities that technology offers educations, but also that only its deliberate use in proper situations will produce meaningful results.
Included here are my sketchnotes.