“Technology and Education Panel” by The Cable Show is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Technology has been both praised and feared in the classroom. The discussion of the positive and negatives is evident in today’s technologically advanced society. To this day, many instructors resist the incorporation for various reasons. To some, the idea of technology requires additional knowledge and time. The same concern also related to students as educators consider socio-economic challenges, benefits in learning, and students’ attention. I believe that the topic of technology and teaching is an ongoing discussion as our society becomes more technologically advanced.The traditional classroom requires students to sit quietly as the teacher lectures. For several years, this has been the best teaching model. Although students are encouraged to ask questions, this is a divided learning environment. After taking this course, I have learned a lot about the existence of new technology used for collaboration, lesson planning, and educational tools. For example, in my first year of graduate school, I remember being in several classes where I preferred to take notes with pen and paper. At this time, I thought that I learned best when I listened and took notes. Based on my years of schooling, I had learned that writing down information helped me to understand the concepts.
“WebQuesting” by Sarah Nestheide is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nonetheless, when I began teaching science at the elementary level, I used the same set of rules on my students. I tried to incorporate as little technology as possible and attempted to make the labs as engaging as possible. However, by adopting and integrating technology in the classroom, I began to empower student learning in an unimaginable way. The benefit of technology in the classroom encourages more students to participate, learn at their own pace, and further connect the lesson to their prior knowledge. I found that through technology, students felt more comfortable in collaborating with others and brainstorming ideas due to a medium in which they already used on a daily basis. In addition, by using technology daily, I am preparing the students to become more college and career ready as they understand they gain a basic knowledge of the technological skills required today. Therefore, I have learned that by actively participating in individual and small groups to complete tasks, information can be shared whether it is by face-to-face interactions or various digital interactions.
“IMG_7500” by Jens Vermeersch is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Moreover, the idea of a traditional learning model and a technologically advanced classroom was complicated when I first began graduate school. When I was allowed to complete assignments, blogs, and screen casts online I was engaged in my learning process in new way. I was able to participate in discussions, where I could look up the topic online and add more to my comments on posts. For instance, the most significant change for my career as a future educator occurred when I took this course. With two fellow team members, we created Wiki Pages in preparation for our individual WebQuest (click here to view my Properties of Sound WebQuest). I felt invested in ways that went beyond writing essays as I learned to collaborate with my group through Google Docs, email, and the occasional face-to-face conversations. More importantly, I have grown to favor Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sites to interact with my group members in order to visually display my thoughts. My understanding of the use of educational technology has greatly increased as shown through my digital collaboration with my team, connection with students, and familiarity with educational tools.
Since the beginning of the year as a science teacher at the elementary level, I have allowed myself to use technology, PBL, and cooperative learning techniques. I have introduced students to Brain Pop, YouTube videos, and several other educational tools mentioned in this course. When I cannot answer a question, I invite the students to research the answer on their own time and later present their findings in the next class session. This has created higher order thinking and has, therefore, shifted the classroom discussions to more inquiry, cooperative, and PBL. I believe that I will continue to apply my skills as I collaborate with others, plan lessons, and present new information to students. All in all, I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to take a class on educational technology and learn about its proper use in the classroom.