Week 3 Readings:
Deep Learning and Technology
Ideas about technology, just like technology itself, are constantly evolving. Whether technology is considered a tool, an enabler, an accelerator, a mindset or an entire system, the relevance of technology in education continues to develop. This week’s readings are seamlessly connected by two broad concepts: technology and learning. However, Transforming Learning Everywhere (TLE), Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL), and A Rich Seam re-conceptualize traditional ideas about education by suggesting new ways to think about the role of students, teachers, and technology in education, in order to enable deep learning.
Will Richardson’s statement, as quoted in Fullan and Langworthy’s (2014) text, resonated with my personal ideas about technology. “Simply adding a layer of expensive tools on top of the traditional curriculum does nothing to address the learning needs of modern learners” (Fullan and Langworthy, 2014, p. 7). In order for deep learning to take place, technology should be used to transform learning. It is not enough to use technology to simply replace the traditional “pen-and-paper” way of doing things. Technology has a greater potential to enable creativity, inquiry, socialization, and to extend learning beyond the classroom.
To achieve deep learning, a learning partnership between students and teachers is required. Students and teachers must work together to activate student curiosity so that students take ownership of their learning in order to produce more meaningful and deep learning. The IBL document develops this idea in more detail by stating, “when students are invited to take part in the learning process from start to finish, they experience a sense of agency and responsibility for their learning, an approach that lends itself to greater student engagement and intrinsic motivation” (2013, p. 6). By placing student interest, inquiry, and curiosity at the center of the learning experience, students will be motivated to lead their own investigations and develop/extend their learning beyond the classroom and into the real world.
So, where does technology come into play in inquiry-based learning? The TLE document and model explains its vision to create “a personalized, collaborative, inquiry-based learning environment for each student” by encouraging “students to drive the learning environment, supported by technology” (Malloy, 2014, p. 2). While I do not agree with the TLE model’s view of technology as a tool that accelerates learning, the following statement resonates with my aforementioned ideas: “we have to be careful that technology is not simply used to duplicate existing practices online” (Malloy, 2014, p. 4). Ultimately, the challenge for teachers and students is to achieve deep learning through an inquiry approach which incorporates technology to transform and extend ideas further – in the world beyond the school.