Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Awards Week: Dan Johnson

photo of Dan Johnson
It's Awards Week at the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. We're taking this opportunity to recognize those who have made a difference in their fields this year. Today an award-winning principal shares his philosophy on technology.

In March, Edith Bowen Laboratory School’s Principal Dan Johnson was honored as Technology Leader of the Year by the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology.

In an interview,  he said technology can do a lot to enhance learning.  At Edith Bowen, decisions were made in three steps.

First, educators determined, based on the curriculum, what the students should be able to do. Next, they decided how technology could assist with that learning.

Finally, they developed a plan. “We have a pretty sophisticated five-year plan for technology,” he said. “What we have done is to recognize that there isn’t one piece of technology that answers all your questions.”

It’s also important to make sure the decisions to acquire technology are education-related, not technology related. Johnson said it is best to focus on the outcomes, not the latest, shiny new toy.

That said, with the right technology, students will be able to get engaged and apply what they’re learning. For example, they can use technology to gather data to back up research projects. They can collect data on outside temperature or rainfall, formulate a hypothesis and gather information using the scientific method.

Technology can even change the way people view education. It used to be all direct instruction, but today children can learn within the narrative of a game.

The key is to be selective about what technologies and methods are used, Johnson said—and to add a great teacher who knows how to put it all together and help the students make sense of it.

The College will have its own award ceremony on Thursday, April 4, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Edith Bowen auditorium. For more information, and to view a list of the awardees, visit our website.

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