Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age

Twenty-first century technology has fundamentally changed the educational landscape for teachers and students alike. Most people are comfortable with the thought of computers in the classroom, but what about video games? And now that many people have Skype and high-speed Internet, are classrooms even necessary? How much screen time is too much? Should third graders be allowed to bring cell phones to school? Where do we draw the line? These are questions that parents and teachers grapple with every day in our technology-rich society. Rather than creating a minefield in the classroom, technology ought to be enhancing that landscape. In other words, when harnessed appropriately, digital technologies can be powerful tools that offer unique educational opportunities… but what does it mean to use technology appropriately? Teachers need to be informed citizens who evaluate the potential of each product for his/her individual students, but who also remember that, ultimately, technology is a tool to be used in the service of teaching, rather than as a teacher in and of itself. This course will explore developmentally appropriate and effective strategies for using technology—including digital cameras, audio recorders, tablet computers, video games, and more—as tools to facilitate children’s learning.

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