The Digital Debate

Technology: Impacting Education

Technology is affecting education in a monumental way, and as future educators it is important to know how this technology is impacting the classroom. I believe that as future teachers, we should understand the different types of technology that are changing the dynamic of the classroom. I am currently a sophomore at WVU and in my experience with the school system; technology has played a big role in my education. I went from having to write papers with a pen to being required to submit them online; and I have gone from copying everything off of a chalkboard or overhead projector, to printing off slides my teachers post online. I believe that it is very important to understand the resources that have been placed before us, and I hope that you find this paper informative.

When I was in elementary school in the late 90’s we did not have interactive smart boards, iPads, or even laptops to work on. We used chalk boards, overhead projectors and/or white boards. Today the technology we use is very high quality, and I find it to be affecting the way we learn in a huge way.

Melissa Rasberry, a leader at the Community and Organizational Networking Center for Teaching Quality, states in an article, “Interactive white boards have replaced dry erase boards. No longer do students have to share one or two desktop computers — instead, laptop carts containing enough computers for the entire class can be moved from room to room. Test scores and assignments are entered online for parents to access at home, rather than being written down in a traditional grade book. And in some schools, students don’t raise their hands to answer questions. Instead, they click on personal response devices, which allow teachers to monitor individual students’ selections and examine classwide trends.”

Technology is becoming more popular and is even being used in kindergarten classrooms.  I have recently volunteered in a classroom, and the students were playing classwide games using an interactive smart board. They would take turns going up and clicking on a question. The students were intrigued by the technology which caused them to pay more attention to learning the material.

  Mountain View Elementary School located in Morgantown, West Virginia has started a global event of taking a day and not using any paper or pencils, and only teaching using technology. They call this day Digital Learning Day, and it has been practiced all over the United States and other places. Being from West Virginia and a former attendee of this school, I found this very interesting. The teachers were asked to not use any paper or pencils for the day. They were to incorporate project-based learning and technology into their classrooms.  November 13, 2012 is the two year anniversary of the event, and the former governor of West Virginia Bob Wise, paid a visit to the school in celebration of the day.

Many teachers view technology in a positive light. In a CDW-G national survey, which is a classroom assessment tool, it was found that “most teachers believe the use of technology translates into higher student achievement and improved parent-teacher communication.” In the survey it was found that:

  • 85 percent said classroom computers improve student performance.
  • 74 percent said computers improve students’ attention in class.
  • 58 percent said posting homework assignments online increased completion rates.
  • 63 percent said computer technology increased their communications with parents.
  • 72 percent believe students who have access to computers at home have a major advantage over those who do not.
  • 50 percent of the middle and high school teachers said they report student grades to parents online or via e-mail.

As a future educator it is reassuring that so many teachers have a positive view on the technology that they use in their classrooms. Many teachers have said that using technology in classrooms has been affective, but according to the survey, 76 percent of the teachers said this was because of training on how to use technology.

So how do teachers effectively incorporate technology into their classrooms? There are so many technological option’s that you can bring into the classroom. This youtube video has some neat ideas of why technology is a good thing in the educational setting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzi2RIt8_nk

There are also many other types of technology that may benefit your classroom. The technology listed below has become increasingly popular throughout the years, and you will find them in many highschool and college level classes.

Interactive smart boards are a wonderful addition to classrooms of any age. Smart boards are great for demonstrations. You can create various types of presentations and present them using the smart board. They are great for accommodating to different learning styles. You can show visuals, create interactive lessons, show videos, listen to audio, etc. using a smart board. Like I mentioned earlier in the paper, kids love to learn from smart boards. They are able to interact with the lesson, and pay more attention to learning. Smart boards also encourage involvement in the classroom.

Clickers have recently become increasingly popular. Clickers are devices that allow students to instantly provide feedback on questions, or vote in surveys. Students are able to participate anonymously which may make them more comfortable in answering questions in the classrooms. Students are able to receive immediate feedback on responses which may help them learn more about the subject. Clickers are also causing people to interact more in class.

iPads and tablets have also become increasingly popular. You can use iPads/tablets in the classroom to create a more global student. Most iPads/tablets support the app Facetime. Students can use this to talk to other students around the globe. You can also maximize the learning time by having students play educational games on their iPads/tablets during their free time. iPads/tablets are also great adaptive technology tools, you can use them as language translators, or for those who cannot speak at all.

These are just three examples of assistive technology that you can incorporate into your classroom. There is a world of technology out there that is just waiting to be used in lesson planning and learning.

Though there are many positive aspects of technology, there are always going to be downsides. It is going to be the teacher’s job to be aware of adverse effects technology might be having on their classrooms.  Teachers therefore should be aware of negative consequences technology might have.

First, social media can be a huge distraction to students. If students are assigned online homework assignments, they are going to be tempted to sign on to a social media website while doing their homework. I know from experience that while working on assignments online I become very distracted, which causes me to perform lower on the assignment I had been working on.

Second, the lure of technology is very powerful on young people. A young person’s mind is accustomed to constantly switching tasks which may cause the person to be unable to pay attention for long periods of time. I also know this from experience, I find myself jumping around from task to task while working on assignments. I have a very hard time focusing on a specific task for a long period of time.

Third, students are most likely going to have various electronic devices in classes, and are probably going to use them during class. Teachers are going to have to deal with students being able to text and/or get on social media websites during their classes. They are going to have to find ways to keep students attention in the class, and to keep them from getting on these websites.

Once teachers find ways to get past these obstacles incorporating technology into the classroom will be very beneficial. A quote from David Warlick: “We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” This generation has been completely immersed in technology. It is part of our everyday life and incorporating it into classrooms and learning is very important

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2012 by .
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