In some ways this may be tied to the conversation around “digital natives”, because of the fact that some teachers tend to think two things when it comes to technology. One, that I should probably add some technology to my class to spice it up and two, the students already know what to do, they are just waiting for me.
Most of you that have been teaching for some time realize that both of the above claims are false and can lead to some bad outcomes. I feel like most K-12 teachers always do a project before they would assign it to the students (I may be wrong on this point). However, in higher ed, from my experience, this is rarely the case.
I have had many teachers assign a tech assignment, because students are tired of doing the same old thing. Now, I get that the “same ol’ thing” might be bad, but technology is no silver bullet. In fact you should never add anything for the above reason, it should be based on learning outcomes and goals.
It seems like the knee-jerk response to adding technology is to “have the students make a video”. Again, there are some good reasons to add a video assignment to your class, but they should be well thought out. My main concern is that higher ed teachers often times assign technology assignments without ever having done the project or having any clue about how to do the project. I fully believe that a teacher should never assign any technology project without ever having done the project. Period.
If you want to assign a movie project for a class, great, but first go and do the project yourself to see what it really entails. If the focus remains on the content and not the technology know how, and if you are comfortable doing it, then by all means, assign away. However, if you assign a major tech assignment and then proceed to say that I don’t even have a smart phone and am not good with technology, I will really question your motives.
Technology can be good and do good things, but it is just a tool. Using the right tool for the job can make all of the difference in the world. This is true when working on projects around the home and is especially true in teaching. Lets just always check to make sure that we are using the right tool to accomplish the task we want our students to achieve.