During the topic exploration process of ECS 100, I found technology in the classroom very interesting. It has so much potential to make a good classroom, great. The world we live in now is so focused around technolgy, I feel like by incooperating it into today's classrooms, it gives students the opportunity to express the skills they already know, to improve their learning.
Topic Exploration One
Technology in the Classroom Introduction Technology is a remarkable tool that is everchanging in today’s world, whether it be television, cell phones, or computers. Stephanie Diamond Hicks writes about teachers today having to be life-long learners when it comes to technology in the classroom. When the educators today were in school, technology was not accessible like it is today (Hicks, 2011). Students today, have experience with technology from a very young age, they are referred to as “digital natives” according to Hicks. Do teachers today have what it takes to be tech-savvy? Technology can be extremely helpful in the classroom if it is used for educational purposes. Students today, will sometimes take advantage of technology privileges in the classroom, resulting in teachers becoming resistant to allow access of these tools in future classes. Another reason teachers may be resistant to technology in the classroom is that they have limited abilities with it, which may come across as unprofessional in front of their students (Hicks, 2011). If teachers are willing to learn how to use technology in an effective, educational way, the outcome would be a classroom willing to engage in everyday learning. Technology is not only beneficial for the students, but the teachers as well. Once teachers have mastered technology it can save them enormous amounts of time. Entering grades into an electronic system is much more efficient compared to manually entering them. Record keeping tasks are also more easily accessible when done electronically (Hicks, 2011). Technology is changing every single day, and in order to remain tech-savvy, teachers will be life-long learners. Constantly learning how to use technology effectively and appropriately, in a way that fits the curriculum and keeps students engaged. A classroom that incorporates technology, is a classroom that has students willing to participate and succeed! Stephanie Diamond Hicks writes about teachers having to become life-long learners when it comes to technology in the classroom. Teachers did not grow up with the technology we have accessible to us today, therefore placing them at a disadvantage to their students when it comes to modern education. Hicks calls people who have experience with technology from a very young age “digital natives” because they know the ins and outs of technology. Growing up in a technology-based world today creates a barrier between teachers and students. Hicks makes valid points when she discusses the struggles that teachers have today with incooperating technology into the classroom. They want to make an open and positive learning environment that best suits the students’ needs and in our modern times technology is a great tool for that. Reflection My early years of school, we had computers that you could only play a couple learning games on, but I remember it being my favorite part of the day. Continuing on into high-school the computer lab was a huge part of certain classes, it was used for completing assignments, researching certain things that our library would not have, and for group tasks. Our teachers would also use their computers in the classrooms to display a video on the projector screen, or to show visual examples of what we were learning that day. Technology was a huge part of my education and it only continues to grow and change. Incooperating technology into today’s classrooms would be extremely beneficial for students who are experiencing technology right from birth, knowing they can use it in their learning can help them see just how spectacular technology and education can be together. I agree with the points Hicks makes in the article about teachers today having to be tech-savvy, some teachers may not want to stray away from traditional learning because they feel embarrassed, like their students know more than them or they just do not see the benefits it has. But once they commit to being life-long learners in an ever-changing world, they will start to reap the benefits. In my field experience, there was a couple of students using school laptops to finish their assignments, and I thought back to my time in school and completing my assignments online kept it much more organized, easily accessible, and easier for the teacher to read and correct. The only issue with technology, is that some students may abuse the rights they have, and end up getting privileges taken away for the whole class. If students are actually prepared to use technology for educational purposes in the classroom it can expand their learning drastically. I would consider myself a “digital native” because I grew up with a family computer in my home that I could use for games, homework, and music, so I knew what I was doing when it came to school assignments online (Hicks, 2011). Going into education to become a teacher now I am at a small advantage, I know the ins and outs of technology and how to effectively use it, so when it comes time for me to be in a classroom of my own, I will know the proper tools to use to ensure my students are getting the best learning experience possible. Education is so important, by integrating tools that students would use themselves at home it gives them the opportunity to dive deeper into the topics being covered, and explore other realms of education. Stephanie Diamond Hicks says that teachers today will be life-long learners and I agree. Only if they commit themselves to making their classrooms better, will they actually succeed. Technology is amazing, and students today are growing up with it and watching it change and grow, by integrating it into classrooms it helps them explore the topics being covered in a different way. When used effectively, technology makes a world of difference.
Topic Exploration Two
Technology in the Classroom Introduction Technology in the classroom can be an extremely beneficial tool when teaching, especially in modern times. In rural communities, technology can make or break a classroom. Aimee Howley, Lawrence Wood, and Brian Hough (2011) discuss the rewards technology has in rural classrooms and the struggles teachers have with it. Some rural communities find it quite difficult to gain access to technology, such as computers and having the appropriate quantity of them. Teachers may also avoid using technology because they are “out of touch” and do not have a good grasp on it (Howley et al, 2011). Teachers may also lack the confidence to use technology effectively in the classroom, so that the students understand the lesson being taught. Howley, Wood, and Hough (2011) argue that when teachers choose not to use technology for numerous reasons, they may be distancing themselves from the world that their students inhabit, creating a decline in the teacher-student relationship, which is so key to education. Some teachers acknowledge the disconnect between themselves and the students, yet feel so powerless to do anything about it (Howley et al, 2011). Although limiting technology in the classroom can create a disconnect, some teachers argue that limiting technology creates a more effective and less distracting environment. It is an ongoing debate, whether or not to incorporate technology into the classroom, there is a lot of benefits to including it but there is also disadvantages. As a teacher, they need to understand what type of a classroom they have. If they have an easily distracted group of kids who do not function well with additional sources being added into the classroom, then technology may not be an effective tool to use. However, if the classroom does not seem to be responding well with traditional learning, than adding technology can brighten the learning of the students.
Reflection Technology can have many effects on the lives of students and teachers. We are currently living in an era where technology rules the world, it is everywhere, we use it every single day. So why are teachers so hesitant to incorporate it in their classrooms? They may not want to accept the fact that education is changing and the way students learn is changing with it. Students now are growing up as digital natives, they know the ins and outs of technology and how to use it beneficially. Technology not only keeps things more organized for both the students and the teacher, but it creates a learning environment that the students are familiar with and helps them actively engage in learning. By incorporating something that the students already know, it creates a sense of understanding and confidence, they already know how to use the technology, now it’s just about applying it to their learning. Technology benefits those who use it appropriately, using it to complete assignments, research a topic, or communicate with peers and colleagues. Teachers who choose not to incorporate technology in their classrooms, knowing the world their students are growing up in, create a gap in the student-teacher relationship. The students won’t understand the teacher’s choice for not incorporating it, whether they want to stick to their traditional ways of learning, or they are embarrassed to use the technology in front of their students, either way the students will feel bored or uninterested. They also might not understand the topic fully without technology. Whether it is used for visual purposes, to research things being discussed in class, or for needed brain breaks, technology can serve a great purpose in education today. In my education, technology served, and is still serving a huge purpose. I use technology every day, whether it be my computer or my phone. Without access to a computer, it would be nearly impossible for me to get all of my assignments done efficiently, and in a reasonable time period. Researching information for my projects is also a huge part of why I use technology. Without it technology, researching would be a lot more difficult and time consuming. My computer also makes it easier for me to take notes in class, especially with professors that talk at a faster pace, I would not be able to copy all of the notes by hand. I also find that visuals in class on the projector help me learn, and understand the concepts a lot better. When I am able to see what we are discussing, look at the details and then make notes on it, it helps me do better in school. Other students would agree that a visual aid has helped them significantly in their schooling. Technology can also keep people organized. Having all of your files in one place and being able to easily access them and send them to whoever they need to be sent to is much easier than having a stack of papers that easily gets messy. Technology has many advantages and it is useful in almost anyway. It should be incorporated into today’s classrooms because that is the kind of world we are living in now, a technologically advanced world. Teachers need to understand what will benefit their students the most, and if it is something the students are already familiar with it will help them significantly in their education. Starting in elementary school and all the way up to university, technology is relevant and it is a tool readily accessible for our use, so let’s use it!
Howley, A., Wood, L., & Hough, B. (2011). Rural elementary school teachers’ technol- ogy integration. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 26(9). Retrieved from http://jrre.psu.edu/ articles/26-9.pdf.
Stephanie Diamond Hicks (2011) Technology in Today's Classroom: Are You a Tech-Savvy Teacher? The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 84:5, 188-191, DOI: 10.1080/00098655.2011.557406