The Words I Said Out Loud Today

… was not provoked, it was not premeditated, it was not said in anger or even in jest……it was just a casual conversation where suddenly I just opened my mouth and said what has been thought for a long time, often spoken about (in agreement at conferences), and something that needed to be said, but often left unsaid.

I said “Using a projector to display powerpoint is not using technology.”

The teacher did not jerk back in disbelief, look appalled, or eyes well up in tears.
The teacher did not jump to defend or begin to stammer out excuses.

The teacher nodded and agreed.

And then we started to talk about other possibilities of ways to use the projector in the classroom besides just displaying power points that held content that was already written in the books on the students desks.

We talked about the internet.  We talked about her projecting her student work on the “white board” and then having peer editing.  We talking about interactive maps and skype and blogs and email.   We talked about her wireless keyboard/mouse and the opportunities if she began to pass it around her class.   We talked about students creating presentations on chapters and project tests versus multiple choice tests.

We talked about turning off the projector and having conversations rather than just teacher led discussions.  We talked about taking down the “mounted” projector and making it much more movable to a variety of locations.  We talked about that if her projector was taken away, she could still continue as an effective teacher.

We talked about how having some professional development opportunities where our staff show ways they are using their projectors in their classroom might be helpful.  We talked about asking “YOU” (my readers) how you might be using projectors in your classroom.   We talked that perhaps using projectors just for powerpoint and for watching movies really is not a valid argument for having to have a projector.

We stood by her doorway and shared possibilities for 20 minutes today — because of the words I finally said out loud today.




  1. Deon says:

    Sounds like a great ‘win’ for improved teaching and learning!

    To be pedantic, a projector is technology – just old technology, nowadays, at least. So turning it on and doing something with it is using it. Not well, or as effectively as possible, but still being used. I like the fact that you talked about turning it off, or removing it, and that the learning was the focus.

    So many teachers who are beginning on their use of IT at school think that something is better than nothing.

    They need to learn that it’s not.

    Good learning is better than bad teaching, and I think you have encouraged this teacher to make step in that direction.

    I’ll be stealing some of your phrases next time I am in this situation!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this post! I would like to put a link to this on my blog if you will allow me to. What truth, and yet constructive ideas as well. Thank you so very much.

  3. Our district focuses on “21st Century Skills”. I have to use the following line more than I would like. “It isn’t 21st Century just because you can plug it in.” Thanks for the post.

  4. Jennifer says:

    After I pushed submit, I thought “oh, I should have said ‘Just’ in front of the word using” but smiles, that is hindsight now.
    Thank you for dropping by to share your thoughts & for your kind words.

    I would be honored if you linked back to me. Thank you!!!

    Thank you, as well, for dropping by. And, you are welcome

  5. Doug Woods says:

    […] … Looks to be a useful tool … No, I take that back, Thoughts By Jen » Blog Archive » The Words I Said Out Loud Today Using a projector to display PowerPoint is not using technology […]

  6. Mike Soskil says:

    Nice post! I talk often to anyone who will listen about the need for students to be innovating and creating with technology rather than a teacher just putting them on a game as a form of digital babysitting, or using an interactive white board as a glorified overhead projector.

    Telling you all the ways that I use my projector would take much more room than I have, so I’ll just share the way I used it on Friday. Students had been working on Million Dollar Projects in math using Google Docs (and then Excel and PPT due to a server snafu). They then uploaded their completed projects to Prezi and embedded them on our class wiki. We used the projector for them to present projects to the rest of the class. You can see the projects here:

    Had we had more time, I would have loved to upload the presentations to VoiceThread, let the students present by recording, and then embedding the VT, but we ran out of time in the school year. Maybe next year.

  7. Kim says:

    As a teacher-librarian who has not yet had access to a projector to enhance my teaching, I curious as to all the things I could be doing with it. I see myself showing book trailers, demonstrating how to use the on-line library cataloge, using World Book On-line, Skyping with authors or other classes, researching via the Internet, playing learning games created with PowerPoint (i.e. Jeopardy), using Google Earth… What else could I be doing?

    As I haven’t yet purchased anything, I’m still trying to figure out what is best for my situation and is most cost effective. I’d love some help in that area too!

  8. Carol says:

    I agree using the project is just a motivator and not the students using technology. Using it to Skype, blog, and interact personally with is using technology. By playing back videos of students, students are learning to critique their own work. Awesome.
    This week I am using Glogster for the students to present their learning as learning to communicate is key to understanding what is learned. So my feeling is that if involves communication on the part of the student, it is integration of technolgy.
    Great posts here.

  9. Great post! Loved FF’s comment “It isn’t 21st Century just because you can plug it in.” Are we teaching students to be consumers or creators? Thanks for speaking out loud!

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