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k conway
Site Owner
Posts: 4

How can the use of educational technology enable teachers to develop a more flexible plan for daily activities in the classroom?  I encourage you to share how you have been able to harness technology and use it to help students learn thinking and analytical skills beyond the traditional classroom setting.

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Kelly Conway

May 14, 2011 at 6:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Beth Stone
Administrator
Posts: 3

Students of today are growing up in a world that insists that they be able to multi task from an early age.  Our world today can best be described as intensely technological. Technology has changed the way that we communicate with everyone and about everything.  In previous years, chalkboards, textbooks, notebook paper, pens and pencils were sufficient materials that we all used to train and educate our students.  Now, students are surrounded by technology. Many of them have never known a time when technology wasn’t readily available right at their fingertips.  The students of today walk into our classrooms packing more technology than we have available in the classroom.  The addition of technology in the classroom is no longer a nice “option” it is a must.      

     First, We must begin to realize that technology has altered the way that our student’s brains are wired.  They think, learn and socialize in ways that would have been foreign to the majority of us just twenty years ago.   Students analyze and synthesize information on astounding levels.  This technological world has created “a new generation of innovative, video-game playing, multitasking students.”(Small, 3) Learning is so much more than the spitting back of memorized information.  Students of today must have the ability to play with the concepts that we teach them.  We have to give them these opportunities on a level that they understand.  If we continue to teach in the same old ways we will only serve to waste the educational opportunities that are placed before us. 

     Technology is no longer just something nice to have available in our classrooms. For example in my classroom, on any given day I might utilize up to thirty different pieces of technology.  Lately the gadget that is getting the most attention is my Mobi that I use in conjunction with several different online programs.  My students love using WIKI and Prezi as ways to express themselves, and we have even gone so far as to attempt to find ways to use texting and our cell phones as tools to teach dialogue in writing.  While not everything that I try meets with success, being willing to try is the important thing.  My students love to discover and giving them those trial and error technologically based experiences gives them the confidence to try new things that they might otherwise be unwilling to try.  Since I teach three different preps there are days when we are bouncing all over the place and multi tasking like crazy, but I am always confident that my students feel fulfilled and enriched by what they see and learn in my classroom. 

     In addition to the experiences described above, I can show them real time examples of relevancy and when they ask a question that requires more information that I have readily available I can direct them to our student computers, where they can research that information for themselves.  I hear many teachers saying that if students aren’t in their seats doing busy work as provided that they aren’t learning.  As for me, my goal is to get them up moving and thinking and doing while I guide their discoveries and hopefully in the process make a difference in their worldview.  Reports, and projects no longer have to be strictly pencil and paper based.  While those tools certainly still have a place in the classroom many of my students are far more engaged when they have technology to use. 

     Furthermore, technology is no longer just a cool “afterthought” for classroom teaching it is a necessity.  Students need the opportunity for trial and error and since the majority of their waking hours find them steeped in a very technologically savvy world, we as educators must keep up or be left behind and what we have to offer rated as irrelevant, tired, and dated.  Our knowledge is still very useful, but we must find new and innovative ways to present it.  When students see education presented in a familiar platform they will be able to absorb it, assimilate it and transform it in ways that we have yet to imagine.

     Therefore, we must stop seeing technology as a distraction and begin to transform our thoughts and our teaching so we can catch all of those teachable moments we are missing because we have a narrow view of the technology our students carry with them. It won’t distract nearly as often if we can transform our thinking about it, and begin to use it in new and exciting ways.  We must stop talking about how we can make our classrooms better and start diving in the deep end where our kids are.  Technology should be the springboard that propels us forward into better teaching.

 

May 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Samantha I. Anderson
Moderator
Posts: 1

“Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” Marc Prensky

          Students in today’s classrooms are “digital natives”, and we, the teachers, are the “digital immigrants” who are diligently seeking out new and innovative ways to connect to the young minds that are wired in a much different way. I had the privilege of attending my first FETC conference in February. The idea of digital natives versus digital immigrants was a buzz phrase that certainly struck a nerve in me. I bought my first cell phone when I was 18 years old and very vividly remember sitting at my computer for hours thinking of the perfect “screen name” and AOL email address to begin my new digital life. During the course of my college career, the digital world changed drastically, and we, the newest members of adulthood were trying desperately to keep up. I took an extra class to learn how to attach a document to an email, and we were the first group of students who were accountable for any communication sent or received via email. At this time, updating your status meant leaving an “away message” on your instant messaging account and the extent I used my computer was to type my ideological words into coherent college papers on Microsoft Word. The accessibility of Facebook, the genius of iPods, the multifaceted iPad, the paper-thin laptop, the vast array of possibilities brought to us by the undeniably amazing thing called a smart phone, and the endless world of the “App” were all still years away when I began my journey.   

          A mere ten years from that first cell phone, and I find myself a educating a new generation of students who have never known a world without ALL of these things at their fingertips. As a result I am constantly reminded that quite simply, I reiterate, I am indeed an immigrant and they are indeed the natives. Therefore, I am constantly searching for innovative ways to educate these students using their native tongue.

          In my classroom, my technology tool of choice is the Promethean Board. Ah, just the sound of its name brings joy to my heart. In conjunction with its ActiveInspire software, my classroom has been revolutionized. The inherent interactivity of its many tools and flipcharts allow any of my lessons to be turned into digital magic. The world is at my fingertips through Promethean Planet where hundreds of thousands of resources are shared and adapted every single day. The use of similar flipcharts amongst teachers within our county allows for continuity of instruction and professional feedback and guidance. Students are provided with stimulating visuals with various interactive elements daily.

          In addition to using flipcharts, I utilize the digital lessons provided by our math and science textbooks. Small, interactive, digital snapshots focus a student’s attention and, often times, present concepts in a new way for both teacher and students to understand.

          The Internet. The most useful of ALL tools for teachable moments. The word “Google” is most assuredly a verb in my classroom and in classrooms throughout our county. Don’t understand something? Google it! Need to find live coverage of a historic event? Google it! Need multiple resources to remediate? Reinforce? Review? Enrich? GOOGLE IT!! Web-based tools are the backbone of technology in my classroom. The familiarity of the sound of a Brainpop lesson loading is one that sends my students into spontaneous cheers. Web-based resources were not only the first for me to understand and utilize on a foundational level, but I continue to add new and exciting web-based programs to my “wish list” for teaching. I look forward to FULLY utilizing tools like Edmodo (Facebook for the classroom community)…the newest and the greatest (I’m told!) resource for the modern-day classroom.

          We are truly lucky to be teaching in this new era. We are on the cusp of immeasurable progress and innovation. The newest tools we provide our students NOW may quite possibly be antiquated before they join the work force, but they certainly have a leg up on the foundation of our digital world…they’ve always been a part of it. They will be creating it, enhancing it, developing it, living it. While we are their teachers now, they will most assuredly continue to teach us how to move skillfully through this astounding time in world history. They will navigate our new course, and we will willingly and excitedly follow them as we strive to provide the most relevant tools possible.

May 18, 2011 at 10:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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