Building A Thinking Classroom Without Technology

Do You Really Need Technology For Learning?

by TeachThought Staff

What’s possible in a classroom?

With a traditional ‘four classroom walls’ approach, what can clever, thoughtful design get us?

Where can it get us?

It’s an interesting idea in the midst of an industry frenzy with remote teaching, Google Classroom, flipped classrooms, iPads, virtual reality, and other gadget-based experimentation, we tend to be reactive. We respond to changes. At best, we review and respond with iteration.

Defining what is a subjective and abstract concept is something education continues to wrestle with, but only because it’s such an important and exciting idea. What does–or what can modern learning look like? (Here’s one take on what 21st-century learning might look like.)

Broadly speaking, there are commonly two approaches to learning: one teacher-led and content-based and one more ‘progressive’ and flexible–one focused on student choice, new learning forms, and new tools and technology. Which is better? Well, that depends on your goals for learning and your philosophies about education itself.

The most interesting part? Neither has anything to do with technology. So then the onus isn’t on school budgets, clever technology, or even magic data machines, but rather the space between our heads, and our collective ability to forge truly thinking classrooms.

This happens with, among other things, a new emphasis on the process and joy of learning itself–the role of play in learning, how curiosity functions, balancing collaboration with the need for independent and quiet reflection, and fully honoring the complex concept of what it means to understand.

This obviously must occur at every level–academic standards, curriculum, learning models, assessments, and more. It also doesn’t mean that learning can’t be better with technology. The point is, as has been said so many times before, it’s not about the tools but rather their effect–in this case, on how students think, ask questions, and make meaning in a quickly changing world.

And that starts and ends between teachers and students.


Building A Thinking Classroom Without Technology