Personally, digital technology in the classroom encompasses many different learning devices and tools that can help promote or facilitate learning in the classroom. This can include a variety of different sources such as the Internet, computer programs, tablet apps, or other forms of physical devices and/or equipment to promote learning. A more digitally immersed classroom could also incorporate other forms of technology to organize lessons and units such as a digital calendar (like Planbook), class website or blog (like Edmodo), or other forms of social media tools (e.g. classroom discussion boards). A classroom can also be simply utilizing technology to convey information through the use of digital projectors or PowerPoint presentations. Regardless of the amount of the digital technology present in any classroom, the purpose behind their usage is of the utmost importance.
As a secondary school teacher in B.C., the effective use of digital technology in the classroom is primarily to support and reinforce concepts currently being learned in the classroom. I utilize the technology available from digital projectors, certain lab equipment, the Internet, and various other means to assist and strengthen classroom material. I also sometimes utilize digital technology to introduce concepts and allow students to explore specific concepts before it has been officially taught. Students have also, on occasion, used websites and other online tools to learn a very specific concept in the class. Through these carefully planned ‘study guides’, students self teach the material without any formal teacher instruction. I feel that I use the technology available effectively to support student learning in my classroom but am largely restricted by what resources are available.
In regards to conceptual challenges in the classroom, digital technology is able to provide an alternate avenue for students to learn from (aside from teacher instruction). These methods allow students to fully interact or better visualize concepts and material that might not otherwise be as well represented. In short, digital technology can be infused into any classroom to any level of degree but in order to be effectively utilized, there needs to be a balance in the intensity of digital technology used with traditional teaching pedagogy. Choosing which advanced technology to use in a classroom environment should be dependant on how it benefits as well as how much it improves students’ learning. In terms of my vision for the imminent future, I would like to see digital technology to be more fully integrated where users understand the costs and benefits of using it as well as the financial challenges to implement it in classrooms.