One of my New Year’s Resolution: I decided to ‘help the planet’ by making compost
at home. I bought compost boxes and I now have earthworms in my flat, which help the earth turn organic waste into fertilizer for my plants.
A compost box is a simple but very ingenious piece of technology. (Technology is not just the laptop I’m using to write this message – or the IWB you use to help you teach, for that matter!) And what makes a piece of technology truly innovative has nothing to do with how recent your model is. Rather, innovation is connected to how it’s being put into use.
Raising this issue is particularly opportune when we embark on a new series of technology-based projects with our students. A pedagogical perspective will have to inform teachers about the reasons why they want to use a certain piece of technology and what the pedagogical gains might be. This failing, the project as a whole may be jeopardized.
Ring in the old and
ring in the new. Here’s one piece of pedagogical advice which will help you decide on the usefulness of a given ‘technological project’: find out if the project is catering for Higher Order Thinking
I learnt about Higher Order Thinking with Bloom. Not Joyce's Leopold Bloom, though there’s lots of higher order thinking in him too. I meant, Benjamin Bloom and his taxonomy, which teaches us how our lessons should provide students the opportunity to work on both lower and higher order thinking. Check the diagram above. The top of the inverted pyramid is the ultimate goal of education because it encompasses all the elements which come below. When choosing the technology project I want to get involved in, I think about how it helps students reach the top of the pyramid.
Just in case you did not come across Bloom during your university years, here’s a quick online reference to higher order thinking
which may help you set your mind at ease (or maybe on fire, no longer sure which).
And never forget: Plan your project as if you were planting a bulb in the depth of moist soil. The sun will be important - in due course. But initially, pray for earthworms and the holes they make.
GUILHERME BOMFIM PACHECO