Some of you will remember with the first graphing calculators were introduced to our math classrooms in the late 80’s. I vividly remember my math teacher complaining about the calculators, obviously he was not the person in charge of the decision to use them, and how they would ruin our ability to be future mathematicians. I thought then as I do now, just exactly how many of us will actually be mathematicians and therefore, why are we all required to take all these math courses. The calculator, like the computer, is simply a tool and nothing more. I still had to learn the math concepts to apply the proper functions with the calculator because it wouldn’t, to my disappointment, automatically develop cosine graphs for me.
So why do some teachers and parents fear technology will teacher proof the classroom? How exactly can a classroom be teacher proofed anyway? Technology is a tool, let me say that again, a tool that is only as efficient as the skills exhibited by the user. There have been countless studies that link the effectiveness of the teacher to student outcomes. Dr. Sanders work out of Tennessee is a good place to start. Teachers who know how to developmentally use technology as a tool for students to engage in their learning and curiosity have seen many positives in their students. One of the greatest benefits is students now have more involvement in their learning. They are able to access greater amounts of real time information that is more relevant to the topic at hand. The teacher is there to put the verb in the title- to teach our students how to effectively use the tool. Technology is not teacher proofing the classroom. It is opening the world of learning, student engagement, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and how to be responsible technology citizens.