I have a sense, that for one reason or another, educators who work at the secondary level make less use of technology in their teaching. I reach this conclusion from the active participation of teacher conversations I observe online. What I observe and what is actually happening in classrooms may differ or what I observe may be accurate. Many may assume that writing using a device or searching online to acquire the information needed for an assignment meet expectations for tech integration and such activities are so common that sharing that your students do such things is not worth doing.
I am assuming for the purpose of this post that secondary students do make less innovative use of technology because I want to propose an innovation that fits naturally with the heavier emphasis many secondary courses place on the consumption of content. I believe that the personal processing of content is an important life skill and while the format of this information may change as it exists in a digital age, reading, studying, deep reading, media literacy or whatever variant is in vogue does change the importance of developing content processing skills for the present and future work of learning.
Here is the opportunity I think secondary educators are missing and that could be productively integrated onto the existing heavy emphasis on content processing. Onto is the word I prefer to “into” because I think of the change as “layering” opportunities on top of existing content. Some of the layering opportunities are familiar to content processing at the college level or outside of academic settings – e.g., highlighting, notetaking. Some of the opportunities we see applied by content providers, but seldom find ways to apply ourselves (as teachers or students) – integrated questions, suggestions for connections or perspective. Some of these opportunities we apply to students but fail to show them how to apply these opportunities themselves and with peers – any of the tactics I have mentioned.
I have been writing about these tactics for about a year now – visit my other blog and use the built-in Google search capability to search for “layer”.
Another source for a subset of these ideas has been pushed by the developers of an online highlighting and commenting service called hypothes.is. Here is a conference presentation sponsored by this group that provides background and examples of the applications they propose.
Secondary educators and tech facilitators – take a look.