From the Director’s Corner: Fostering Creativity and Commitment in the Classroom Using Technology or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the I-Pad
By Morgan Appel
As educators approach new challenges with vigor, we strive to keep pace with what often feels like sea changes in pedagogy and instructional technology. A quick survey of the American classroom seems to suggest that more than ever before, new web-based platforms and handheld devices appear to be the linchpin fastening creativity, commitment and enjoyment of learning. Manipulation of multiple complex tools and systems appears to be second nature to even our youngest pupils. In the meantime, those of us who consider ourselves somewhat savvy can be easily left behind—even in coming to grips with the allure of the latest and greatest gadget.
The Sirens’ song of technology is compelling, even for more seasoned individuals such as yours truly—those of us who stood in awe (and lost hundreds of dollars in quarters in the bargain) of quasi-futuristic games like Pong, Space Invaders and Defender. Even our most rudimentary understanding of technologies portend that they can facilitate our work in differentiating instruction in an environment equally characterized by formal (classroom-based) and informal (all-over, but the web more specifically) learning. This is to say that our pupils draw upon multiple sources for information, effectively balancing out a largely textbook- and teacher-centered curriculum. In this rather chaotic and porous landscape, data sources are plentiful, whilst guidance on becoming critical consumers of information is sorely lacking. In other words, our roles as educators may have changed dramatically without our knowledge. What are we to do?
In a forthcoming presentation (Rewards and Focus: Cultivating Creativity and Commitment Using Practical, Brain-Focused Technologies ) to the Orange County Council for Gifted and Talented Education (OCC GATE), the neuroscience of everyday technologies is explored as a means to engage the brain and promote immersion; engagement; metacognition; creativity and commitment among diverse groups of pupils. Cutting-edge tools and technology-fueled individual/collaborative pedagogies are examined, including gaming, using interactive whiteboards and Personalized Learning Environments. The presentation also offers quickly implementable strategies to begin the classroom technology adventure in earnest.
If you are interested in a preview of the presentation or have questions about this article or its contents, please contact Morgan Appel, director of UC San Diego Extension's Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.