Engagement Does Not Equal Learning

My board has recently “unblocked” access to youtube. This news was met positively by teachers and students alike and created a multitude of positive educational opportunities.

In my observations at schools, many people are using this tool in effective and skillful ways. There are still a small element of people who are using it to show “cool” things. When asked, they point to student engagement as justification.

Research has long since proven that the use of technology in our instruction leads to increased student engagement. The piece that some are missing, however, is that engagement and learning are two very different propositions. Engagement is merely the potential for learning to happen, not the learning itself.

Whenever we use technology and multimedia, we need to do so with a purpose. If not, the novelty will wear off and soon enough the window of opportunity created by that engagement will close.

Posted on May 19, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Chris, your post was provoking in that it made me question my own thinking about engagement and learning.
    Engaging tasks for kids target inquiry based learning and exploration, and hooks them with their ability to connect and find meaning. Collaboration around authentic tasks often takes place within the school as well as at home with parents and others in the real world outside of school. Opening up You Tube for students makes the ‘real-world’ readily accessible at their fingertips. It is part of their personal culture and now they can make connections at school – hence engagement! The teacher, as a facilitator and guide, provides the rich environments and learning experiences (possibly including You-Tube and other technologies) required for this inquiry. Students become teachers themselves by integrating what they know with what they’ve learned. We want our students to be producers, as well as receivers of knowledge. I have seen technology spark engagement in my inner city students in a way that nothing else had. Motivation and engagement is essential and is the first step to opening their mind to learning and possibilities. So engagement may not = learning , however, as you stated, true engagement+purpose+connecting = possibility. Engagement is a starting point for possibilities for kids. So bring on the technology…baby steps for some…leading to possibilities for all.
    🙂 Kel

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