E is for effective

e-Learning is a recurrent theme in my recent presentations and discussions with visitors to Taupaki School. 21st century learning dominates conversations. We end up talking gadgets or apps and how to get teachers using them. When we get down to the nuts and bolts it really is about effective teaching and learning not the gadget or app!


I like to use an example from when I was a primary school student in the 1980’s The gadget – The Overhead Projector.

Most teachers thought – ‘Great I can write all the content for the class once, next year I use it again!’ I was lucky to have a teacher who used the OHP for the first Powerpoint I had seen – he used multiple transparency sheets to display the parts of a volcano. He then let us use the OHP to create shadow puppet plays. SAMR that! He thought of every creative way he could use that device – he failed, he redesigned and tried again! A quality example of learning.┬áThe point of the story is that the technology, the gadget or the app isn’t the silver bullet!

We often think that we need to ‘Professionally Develop’ teachers to get them ‘up to speed’ with technology. Do we need time set aside to allow teachers to play with the technology? Perhaps we need school cultures where risk-taking and mistake making extend to teachers. We definitely need to have a collective mental model that we need not be experts in order to use technology with kids.

I am often asked what is the killer app or device. The answer is very simple ┬áthere is one killer app in our schools – A thinking teacher who adapts to change by using the technology of the day effectively.

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