I prefer the term student, but that is a different conversation.
A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time with the chair to one of the departments I am working with in my position. Part of my role is to take the needs of the department and see if there are technological solutions to said needs. The initial discussions have been much like this image. In this case, it even goes as far as saying, "What do I want faculty to do with technology?"
In the world of digital literacy, we can spend forever talking about the technology that they should learn. Most importantly, we need to spend time talking about what it is they are really learning or why they are learning it.
One of these needs that she identified was a Facebook Page. I said it like this for a reason. The first question in our discussion was, "Who is your audience?" followed by, "What are you going to use it for?" The real need is a place to connect and engage current students with current events, job openings, tips and tricks of the teaching profession in an environment that most are familiar with.
That is the learning outcome! The tool: a Facebook Page. Though the membership is small as most students we want to connect with are still away on vacation, the interactions are excellent! With the focus on current students, we then asked ourselves, "What would current students want to read?" Immediately, we thought of classroom ideas! Sharing ideas for decorations, ways to teach a particular lesson, and other classroom related posts would not only be really fun, but would provide a wide variety of assistance as these students get into the classroom for their internships and ultimately, their first teaching position.
When the conversation is more about what it is you want to do, the tool now has meaning.
While teaching Google Drive to the department chair (different learning outcome), we stumbled into my tutorials that I have been building for this site. She asked me a rather deep question.
Why do you do this? What is your motivation?
I joked, "Clearly, not for the money." In all seriousness, I do this because there is a need. When we look at our classrooms and what it is we want students to do, we have all the "right answers." We want to motivate our students to do everything and more that sits in the "right answers" column. To accomplish this and meet where are students are, technology becomes a tool. We get in trouble on this in two different ways. The first is many faculty/teachers do not know it, so err on the side of caution and do not teach it. I can not blame anything for that. All I can do is hope to be able to hear the needs and help teach it. The other way we end up messing this up is assuming that because our students are technologically savvy, they must just know it and can use it when we ask them to use it.
How many of us assign presentations in class and then are killed by PowerPoint? How many of us think that it may be because we emulate one style (I'll say it: a horrible style) of presenting that our students then assume is the way to do it?
While we teach content, we also need to spend time and teach the tools so the learning objectives can be met while exceeding expectations. Will students have an easier time learning because they are "tech savvy"? That is a larger conversation. At the end of the day, there needs to be more conversations in our classrooms and the materials we share about the technology. To a certain extent how to do it, but a larger time spent of how it is going to do something much larger.
I am here to help bridge the gap between "those not talking about using technology to support overall classroom learning" and those not "providing the support once introducing the tools to the classroom."