Critical Thinking, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration…

Photo credit: Wolfgang Lonien via Flickr cc

Scrolling through Digg Reader and I came across an article related to technology integration in the classroom.  The 4Cs of Tech Implementation discusses the benefits of using technology for both teachers and students.  The 4Cs of Tech Integration are used as a way to simplify the complex benefits and possibilities when integrating technology into a classroom.  I want to break down my own opinions and thoughts for each category.

Critical Thinking

The article does not actually fully explain how technology inspires critical thinking, aside from the fact that students need to know they cannot trust everything they read or see on the web.  In my mind, critical thinking goes further than this.  Teachers can utilize technology in a way to enhance and promote critical thinking skills by encouraging students to ask questions.  By using tools such as social media, students can improve their own questioning techniques, a skill related to critical thinking.  Teachers could also integrate a tool such as student blogs in which they are encouraged to create their own posts with opinions, questions, and persuasive writing.

Communication

When it comes to technology, communication has become much more convenient and simple for many people.  This is no exception when integrating technology in a classroom.  There are so many opportunities for simplified communication between students, teacher, parents/guardians, etc.  Once again, I found that this article lacks a thorough explanation of how technology fosters a better communication system.  Yes, students are now able to text and email with others very easily.  But I think we should dig deeper than this.  Not only can teachers easily communication with students and parents/guardians through web tools and apps such as Remind and Class Dojo, teachers can actually educate students through tech tools.  For example, teachers now have the option of creating flipped classrooms, in which students learn through videos and teacher-made modules outside of school hours, freeing up time in the classroom for a deeper exploration of knowledge and information.  In addition, Google Classroom can be a great tool for communicating with students.

Here is a breakdown of how Google Classroom can help a teacher digitally communicate with students:

Creativity

There is no doubt in my mind that technology is an opportunity to truly foster each student’s unique thoughts, contributions, and opinions.  Technology can provide classrooms with inquiry-based learning using tools that are able to differentiate, allow students to choose the ways in which they like to demonstrate their learning, and provide that opportunity to learn what you want to learn.  Students can really demonstrate creativity by allowing student choice and utilizing tech tools that revert to a standardized way of learning or assessment.  TeachThought’s article on iPad apps provides several examples of tech tools that encourage creativity and inquiry learning.

Collaboration

The article discusses the possibilities of technology regarding student group work and projects.  There are so many new apps and websites developed to assist students with work that requires some collaboration, making it more convenient and suitable to different learners’ needs.  The article states, “with the ability to constantly communicate using technology, students can much more easily work on projects together and hone their skills of becoming a ‘team player.'”  Technology can provide new opportunities for collaboration between students and teachers, without hindering individual creativity.  For example, Google Drive is mentioned as a beneficial tool for students collaborating on work together.

Here is a video with a breakdown of Google Drive:

Other resources for creating a more tech-inspired collaborative classroom –

EmergingEdTech – 20 Fun Free Tools for Interactive Classroom Collaboration

Classroom Aid – Tools for Collaboration

Educators Technology – 5 Great Web Tools to Enhance Collaboration in Class

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