Teaching with Technology Collegial Interview for ETEC 533
Interview Excerpts and Analysis Question 1 What types of technology do you currently use in your classroom?
Mostly using the SMART Board more to deliver and save my notes.
SMART Boards have seen a dramatic increase in use over the past few years. Many teachers talk about how great it is to have that increased level of interaction with the media and have the ability to save, adapt and modify lesson material over time.
I also use a variety of online video streaming websites including Youtube, and Discovery Education streaming. These sites allow me to access a variety of content for science, from short informative clips to full length videos with lots of up-to-date and useful material.
An obvious point here is being careful about the types of material shown in class and making sure it is not only classroom appropriate but also appropriate for the given lesson and grade level especially with Youtube. I would guess that any material is being previewed or at least from a reputable source. Discovery Education caters their material to the classroom setting so these are excellent resources to use and very useful for a variety of science related topics.
Question 2 What types of technology do you see yourself using in the future?
One is the hand held board you can write on that is linked to the SMART Board. This gives you more options for moving around the classroom and making sure students are on task. Also this allows you to observe from the back of the classroom as students are writing on the board or to just manipulate a diagram or interact with media without being tied to the front of the class.
The ability to stay mobile in a classroom can be a great tool for a teacher. This could further reduce classroom management issues while allowing the teacher to quickly and easily add to notes or interact with an online object while the entire class observes. Also, as handheld touch devices experienced use in medical and engineering fields experience with similar devices would benefit high school students.
I will try and use streaming media more as well. It is a huge tool and using multimedia allows me to reach students. Students are so stimulated my media and I feel this is a great way to reach those multiple learning styles.
I would imagine that as the internet become even more ubiquitous the internet and what it offers users and students will continue to change. Content service providers will continue to expand their services and depth of content and hopefully these changes make finding and using interactive media in our classrooms even easier.
In the distant future I could see interactive desks and more interlinking of classroom technologies, which would be great but probably expensive. Who knows what the future will hold for out classrooms?
It is true newer technology is always expensive. However in the past 10 years we have seen laptops develop amazing new uses and functions like integrated communication components, touch screens and increased performance while steadily dropping in price. Although an interactive desk for every student may seem expensive if it had true educational benefit and the technology becomes reasonably inexpensive I am sure twenty years or so down the line something along these lines may come to market.
Question 3 Why is technology important to you as an educator and ultimately what does it give your students above and beyond more traditional methods?
The main thing for me is that the multimedia technology allows us to reach students of this generation. I feel that my students are much more media-oriented and stimulated by games and flashy images to a greater extent than previous generations. I think that short quick clips that are informative, funny or thought provoking help us reach the reluctant learner and those that learn through different methods or mediums.
Many people might be scared by this statement. The idea that children of the 21st century may be â€œwiredâ€? differently due to their interactions with multimedia is not a new one. I think it is entirely plausible that our studentâ€™s attention span and interests may be impacted by their connections to technology. I suppose the trick as educators is to use this potentially negative occurrence to our advantage as this teacher has as well as balance technology with more traditional mediums.
I have seen education change from nonstimulating or interactive chalkboards to more colorful whiteboards to fully interactive multimedia and I think we are making some awesome progress.
A common statement among younger teachers who are eager to adapt new technologies to their classroom and optimistic about how technology will play a role in the future. I too think that technology can afford a lot of changes for educators but again, any changes must be tempered with sound pedagogical reasoning and pose a real benefit to student learning.
Question 4 Can you describe some of the successes and stumbles you have experienced with technology in your classroom?
Success – Classroom management. Using a SMART Board and PowerPoint to deliver lessons allows me to stay facing my class and my monitor which has really removed many classroom management problems altogether.
I too have experienced this great change in my classroom when lecturing or delivering content through PowerPoint or a SMART Board. It is a low-intervention method of maintaining student focus. Having notes prepared in Powerpoint beforehand allows the teacher to focus on the class and student learning instead of writing out notes as fast as possible.
Stumble – Effective presentations and class notes. It can be really hard to structure a presentation with the right balance of text, media and visual stimulation.
This is something that frustrates many people beyond the high school setting to business and higher education. The ability to deliver a lesson through a digital means requires some active thought in preparing the material. Attention must be paid to amount, format and layout of material or else it may be unreadable, confusing or simply “too much” for students to write or absorb.
Question 5 Have you ever experience any professional development for training for any of the technologies you use? If so what was this experience like, what could have made it better?
I have experienced some professional development in my undergraduate degree as well as some SMART Board training and science workshops. In general I would like to see these types of professional development incorporate smaller groups and longer sessions with more hands on time for teachers. The more time a teacher has to interact with the device and software the more easily it is to see how they can be used in a classroom.
I agree that professional development needs a balance between theory and hands-on. It is great to have time dedicated to learning new skills that will better your science classroom but if you never have the time to adapt those skills to your specific educational setting any efforts will most likely be futile. I believe that professional development requires time for practice and active reflection in order to work out how a teacher can implement and use new skills in their classroom.
Question 6 Have you noticed any differences in the way male and female students respond to technology?
EXCERPT It is really difficult to see. I have not seen this in any obvious ways.
ANALYSIS It is true, differences between sexes in terms of technology use is not obvious in the classroom. I notice very little differences and seldom hear students express anything or interact in any obvious way based on sex. These types of questions are probably best asked or investigated in a more traditional research setting.
Question 7 Please finish this sentence for me: "Technology allows me to..."
Engage the reluctant learner, the varied learner through a variety of learning styles while making classroom management a lot easier.
Modern children interact with technology in their social and recreational lives to a great extent. Social networking, cell phones and video game consoles occupy much of their free time. Technology is simply something they are use to and comfortable with. If this is the case then it makes sense to adapt the educational setting to meet or at least link into these actions and skills. In many ways learning through technology can be seen as a learning style, a style which many students understand and prefer.
Question 8 On average how much do you think you and your colleagues talk about classroom technology together be it in the staffroom, meetings or a developed professional learning community?
A lot of time whether we are talking in a meeting or just casually in the staff room is spent talking about technology. As a percentage of our time together I would say that about 60% would be spent talking about technology.
At first I thought that this was a very high percentage but upon reflection it seems logical. The interviewee expressed that technology is often discussed among his staff because it is a focus of his school, generates many frustrating problems and often solutions to the problems are quick and easily shared in the short time teachers spend together. A teacher would require extensive time with colleagues in order to solve a problem related to a problem with a lesson but
common solutions to technical problems are often as simple as “try this website it works great” or “select this option from the menu”.
SMART Boards have seen a dramatic increase in use over the past few years. Many teachers talk about how great it is to have that increased l...