On our first Friday in Galway, our instructor decided to make our quickfire challenge a little different. Today’s quickfire challenge was a little more metaphorical than those of the first 3 days, but still just as valuable.
For today’s quickfire challenge, our instructor divided us into four groups. He then laid out four kitchen utensils on his desk (a knife, a potato peeler, a whisk and a spoon). Each group was instructed to choose an object – without any further instructions.
Once each group chose their tool, our instructor unpacked several bags of ingredients – granola, yogurt, honey, milk, fruit, bread and jam. Our instructor gave some of these ingredients to each group – and then the challenge began.
Each group was to use their tool and the given ingredients to create a particular dish – one group had to cut bread and spread jam on it, with a spoon; another group had to make a fruit salad, using the knife; the third group had to make a yogurt parfait of yogurt, honey and granola, using a potato peeler; and the fourth group, my group, had to use the whisk to whip up some milk into whipped cream
Once each group completed their task, we discussed the purpose of the activity – while also enjoying the wonderful breakfast we made for our classmates.
What we discovered was this – we each had a tool and a task to accomplish. For some of us, the tool we were given made our task easier; for other groups, the tool was not useful or there was a newer tool that could have been more efficient at completing the task.
This exercise represents the integration of technology in education.
There are many classrooms all over the world that have technology – whether low tech, or high tech. Sometimes the tools we are working with in the classroom are suited to our end goal, and sometimes they are not – but ultimately, each group was able to complete their task to some degree. Yes the bread had been pulled apart into chunks and the whipped cream wasn’t super stiff, but it didn’t matter
I often find myself upset with not having the latest and greatest technology in my room. I feel disappointed when my students complain about the obstacles our old technology provides. After completing this activity, however, I have a new outlook on access.
You can make technology work for you in whatever capacity you need it to. Will there be times when the tech doesn’t fit perfectly with your end goal – yes. Will there be times when a newer piece of technology would help you accomplish your goal quicker and more efficiently – yes. Will there be times when our technology ratio is not 1:1 like we would like it to be – yes. Can the task still be accomplished – yes.
It is not about having the latest and greatest technology. It is not about the technology being perfect. The technology is just a tool and you make the tool work for you.