I am working with a colleague on integrating technology into his teaching. He is a seasoned band director who has been teaching for longer than I have been alive! He is very interested in the emerging technology side of our profession, and I of course am encouraging it.
As I am watching him teach his lesson (I’m blogging this as he is doing his lesson) he is experiencing resistance from the class that I don’t normally get. Here is the problem in a nutshell: He is using a laptop to project the lesson on a screen and having the students use wireless laptops to follow along. While this seems to be a logical way to implement the lesson, you must consider how our student’s brains are now wired. One of the students called me over and whispered “why did he give us laptops if he is going to project it on the screen?”. A valid point! We must remember that the single most important factor in a successful technology lesson is scaffolding.
We must allow the students to be able to move at their own pace. Trying to keep everyone on a laptop “right with you” as you are presenting is counterproductive. The students who “get it” need to move on so as not to get frustrated. The students that need extra time should be allowed to review at their own pace.
Therefore, a technology lesson in the bandroom looks very different from a traditional lesson or rehearsal. To the untrained eye, it will look like the students are playing on the computer- seemingly going in every direction at once. By putting them in cooperative groups (Kagan) and allowing them to collaborate, they will be able to learn the material all by themselves, and our role becomes more of a “guide”.
We are inviting classroom management problems when we try to keep everyone at the same pace using computers! I urge you all to really think about what the lesson will look like and to partner with a technology person as you plan. Another suggestion would be to videotape the lesson and review. The seasoned teacher will immediately see the problem.
I’m about 30 minutes away from debriefing my colleague and I am nervous. He is many times my senior and has had a brilliant career already as a band director. I will choose my words very carefully and respectfully.