Hi everyone!

 

I am just wondering what everyone thinks about the use of technology in the classroom.  I have heard different views on using technology in the classroom.  Do you think that using technology in your lessons or even for different activities in the classroom is beneficial to the students and enhances the lessons?  The other side of things would be do you think that technology should not be used in the classroom because it is very distractive for students and they seem to not understand it?  Your ideas would be very helpful because I am in a technology class and we are discussing these differing views.

 

Thank you!

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Jessica,

I subscribe to the "if you can do it better with traditional tools, then do it" school. Some of us are "required" to use certain tools (86 cents of every dollar is spent on machines!), but I like to choose where technology is more likely to help students to build their own learning. Two years ago, we used Skype with my 8th grade Spanish class to connect with and learn from students in Argentina and Ecuador. They probably learned more Spanish on that day than they did in a whole marking period!!! :)

HTH,
Charles
Certainly one aspect of using technology in the classroom calls for teachers to model the proper use of the applications, websites, or other tools. This could be a simple point-click lesson, or it could be a more involved series of lessons that call for teaching acceptable use policy. I think the biggest benefit of using technology is that it offers teachers the opportunity to extend student learning beyond the walls of their classroom or school. I work with high school students (9th and 10th graders), and I have found that students this age have very little to no understanding of how big the world is around them. Taking a kid from a Midwest classroom in the suburbs of Cleveland and putting him face to face with students from thousands of miles away to discuss, interact, and learn is an amazing possibility. Technology allows us to do that.

(For the record, I have yet to have my students participate in a learning activity to this extent. But it won't be too long before things like this become common practices in the classroom.)
I believe that you have to pick and choose where technology is going to be useful. I have many teachers that when I show new types of technology, they ask "How can that work to make what I'm doing better." They do not like my answer of "It won't, change what your doing." Too often teachers are wanting to take the lessons that they have been teaching for 10 years and add a computer to it and make it a better project. Most times, this will not be effective and will overall lower the chances of success of technology being a part of that classroom. What the teachers must do is reinvent their lessons to achieve new objectives that technology can help with. Greatest example is, when we were in school, everything was generally memorization skills. If you could memorize, they you could achieve. Today, communication skills and research skills are going to be the greatest benefit for students. This is where technology helps. On that same note, I believe there are many places in school where you do not need technology and good old fashion teaching is still the best route.
Yes, technology should be used in every classroom.

Which technology? That, in my opinion, is up to the teacher. A 5th grade teacher in my building uses a laptop and SmartBoard to project lessons, student work, etc. Minimal technology as far as integration goes.

Another 5th grade teacher has a website (a free Wikispace site) and a blog. She posts homework, the students can post writing samples and help edit other's work. It is a very engaging. Is it "in the classroom"? No. It's all after-school, at home engagement. It does, however, make this teacher look like she is integrating technology 100%.

Building a free website using a tool like Wikispaces.com or Blogspot.com is a good way to easily "integrate" technology into your class. Post homework, have your students contribute and edit pages, etc. It can all be done from home so it is not an issue if your room doesn't have computers/internet. It makes you look like a cutting edge, tech savvy, engaging teacher.

You could also get some iPads, a laptop, projector, SmartBoard, teach with nothing but technology and have everything done digitally. I know teachers who aspire to and work towards a total digital classroom.

To each their own. Using technology in the classroom is only as effective as the teacher's ability and willingness to integrate it.

Start small and work your way up. No harm in using technology. Missing out on opportunities if you don't...
Integrating technology into the classroom is beneficial to the students learning if used, modeled and delivered correctly. The instructor must want to teach in this manner to be effective. As other posts have mentioned - just adding a computer to the class, a simple PowerPoint once in a while, or project a lesson on a screen does not mean technology is being integrated. The teacher must engage the students in the technology and give them the opportunity to explore on their own as well. Our school has Google Apps and this year my instruction has been so much fun! Students work collaboratively on projects, presentations, etc. Their work is entirely online and kept in a class folder. My classroom is paperless! I have a website where the students and parents can check out the weeks lessons, see presentations pertinent to the lessons, view a calendar with important dates, read my blog and comment, and view uploaded videos and links that are useful. Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth!
Technology in the classroom can have its advantages and disadvantages. If the technology is controlled then the disadvantages are at a minimum. In my school all of our classrooms have Mimio boards connected to the teacher’s computer, and all of the students have their own log in account and laptop. Lessons can be taught by visiting the web, access to any type of media. Computer programs can be utilized on the same screen. For our Math program we have Carnegie Learning, an online math program ranging from Basic Math to Algebra II. Students can log into their account at home from any computer to do their homework from their pacific lesson. Our English remedial program uses Read 180. As the students learn at their own pace, they can feel confident and motivated to learn without having the other students know their true reading grade level. These are some of the advantages for technology in the classroom but as we all know, students will always be on websites they are not suppose to be on, and even if your school has it’s own website blocker, the students know how to use proxy servers to pass through them. Constantly being one step ahead of them will minimize the disadvantages. I for one believe technology in classrooms is a plus.
I think you'll find that the classroom teachers who are members of Classroom 2.0 are by definition predisposed to answer affirmatively to your question. Using technology often increases a teacher's preparation time and requires learning new skills. We are here at Classroom 2.0 to learn new skills and share what we've learned with others. I doubt that so many of us would be here if we didn't think that it was worthwhile.We wouldn't be here if we thought using technology in the classroom was not beneficial to our students. A possibly more pertinent question for teachers here is "How do you fit the use of technology in with your teaching and learning goals?" Is a technology-based lesson always the best choice? Do you use technology just because it is flashy and new or do you use it because it helps deliver the results you're looking for, make your instruction clearer or more motivating to students, and creates a deeper understanding of the topic?

Think about your own technology class. What have you learned about your own learning experience by being able to post your question in a technology-based forum and get responses from teachers around the world? Has being able to do so enhanced your own learning process? Has it made your technology class more interesting? Could you get the same responses in another way? Would that other way have been more or less effective? If you think that using technology has enhanced your own learning experience, why should it not be any different for your own students?
Have you ever read blogs by teachers using an almost completely paperless classroom? Google the topic and several come up.

Brian
http://walkthewalkblog.blogspot.com/
Jessica,

I have to agree with Charles below. Depending upon your definition, chalk and the chalk board are a form of technology, it just depends on how advanced the current civilization is, and how broad or narrow your definition. There are still methods that are valid, and some more than others depending up on the content, and level at which your teaching. I myself teach a course in educational technology for pre-service teachers, and one of the things I try to tell them is to pick a few technology tools and use those effectively. There are far too many tools out there to achieve masterly level over, and really with pace with which the technology landscape changes, mastery over one tool may take as long as it takes to the same tool to become legacy or not as reliable.

So the question is easily - why teach about the use of and integration of technology at all? You have to have a starting point and owning (or having access to) a lot of technology and not using it is like having a tremendous tool set from Craftsman and never once opening the case to to use it to do anything. Not all technology is appropriate for all circumstances and situations. Some current technologies will be quickly supplanted with or migrated to others - so one of the important tenets for a teacher is to be able to properly evaluate the effective use of technology and if some other instructional method could work better.
Technology should be used in the classroom. As our world becomes more and more technologically advanced, it is important that students see technology in the classroom. There's no avoiding technology in this day and age. This is where they learn, and so examples should be set for students which show them appropriate ways in which technology can be used in order to enhance our learning experiences and lives.
Jessica,

My partners and I have developed a new community for teachers and students called StudyBuddyCampus. It is free and it represents our vision of the future for the use of technology in the classroom. Our goal is to revolutionize the delivery of education by combining an interactive game like experience with the latest educational content. We have several teachers and students testing our Beta site at http://www.studybuddycampus.com, and we are constantly releasing new features. Given the topic of your discussion, I thought you might be interesting in taking a look, and if you have the time, we would love to receive feedback from people with your kind of experience.

Best Regards.

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