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Access to Information Empowers and Engages Learners

Students working at computers at a computer lab in school

In the highly evolving technical world, students have embraced the powerful tools they carry on them everywhere. Those tools aren't just games, but powerful links to information that could once only be found in books. As educators, harnessing the power of the tools students have already become adept at using, offers us opportunities we never had before. Most of us remember going to school, well before the internet was accessible (I didn't get to use it until college on our school intranet) where the learning had to happen in the classroom. Kids took what they learned during the day and didn't have access to help or more information (beyond encyclopedias and text books) once at home. We were limited in what we were able to accomplish in this time. Now, with mobile tools that make accessing information all the time readily available and easy to use apps to focus that information, students can really be empowered to take their learning to a new level, and we as teachers can rethink our roles as educators.

Let's face it, we aren't the only "experts" in the room anymore and we shouldn't be.

Using these new tools lets students find what works for them and offers us more opportunities to work with kids individually. Classes are more easily differentiated and students don't need to rely on the teacher to have some questions answered. Although this may be a scary step for many of us, it's a necessary one. As much as I may fear not knowing the technology, pretending it doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. I'm encouraged by students' interests and it empowers me to ask them questions and learn more to be a more well-rounder facilitator in my space.



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