Video Analysis of Cases 3 & 4

Through the ‘Case 4’ video clips, the educator effectively summarizes his opinions on the three possible levels of incorporating technology in the classroom. Briefly, they are:

  • Level 1 – Lecture enhancement (through direct control by the teacher)
  • Level 2 – Lockstep student usage (students perform a technology based activity simultaneously)
  • Level 3 – Self-directed and self-paced student learning (students progress as their own rate through a study guide)

These three levels are a great reminder of how digital technology could be effectively used in the classroom and perhaps, how they should be appropriately or better used to enhance learning.

Level 1 remains the most simplistic and easiest use of technology without any changes to pedagogy. A lecture can be enhanced with a PowerPoint presentation or digital projections of images but the essence of the lecture remains the same. Lawrence mentioned in his blog post last week that the use of technology should be for more than just a replacement of archaic methods. Current digital technology has the ability to surpass previous methods of lecture with increasingly complex representations of information and media. For instance, animation or video clips can now be easily integrated into a lecture.

Both Levels 2 and 3 introduce a greater integration of technology in the classroom with each level increasing the change in pedagogy. Level 2 promotes direct technology usage by students. Through simulations or similar activities, small groups of students interact with their learning. For example, online digital dissections provide an avenue for students to prepare for, or even in place of, actual dissections. Level 3 seems to be the pinnacle of digital technology and learning with students largely directing their own study at their own pace. As evident in the video, students were investigating a problem with guidance by the educator.

Through the video clips, the benefits of effectively implementing and integrating digital technology are evident. Students are engaged and challenged with their learning. As described in the ‘Case 3’ videos, students develop transferable skills that will inevitably enhance their own lives outside of the classroom. Despite these advantages, however, there are likely some limitations or issues. The instructor himself mentions the need for a support unit, especially to troubleshoot any potential problems with the technology. As technology increasingly advances, it will likely be more difficult to have mentors to support and fix this cutting edge material. Further, the hardware and software itself needs to be constantly updated, which can be both costly and time-consuming without the proper support; thus, resulting in funding complications. For example, in attempting to spontaneously run a PhET simulation this past week, the school computers did not have the proper update and administrative rights to correct the problem. Unfortunately, since this needs to be completed by the district tech support, the class has to omit that simulation. Other concerns at Level 2 are also evident in the ‘Case 3’ video, which demonstrated a physics class attempting to perform a laboratory exercise with digital technology. The use of computer programs and other apps do require some front-end loading. As mentioned in the video, curriculum is a key factor in determining lessons and often, time constraints prevent the full exploration of technological uses. This specific problem poses another challenge – the balance in using technology or not. I appreciate that throughout the year certain labs required technology and others did not; but a key issue remains how much do educators immerse their lessons in technology. The video mentioned for that specific lab they would not have to be “bogged down by data collection” and could instead focus on analyzing the physics but retrieving and data collection is still an aspect of science that should be valued.

Finally, while Level 3 is the ideal merging of technology and learning, I wonder about the ability of executing the realities of such a task in a secondary school setting. While this type of learning is well suited for a post-secondary, university level program, other audiences (secondary or elementary) or a more diverse classroom might not always be as receptive or have positive results, as described in the video.

With changes to the secondary curriculum in B.C. through the elimination of the provincial exams and the promotion of ‘core competencies’, there seems to be more freedom in creating lessons and units allowing educators the opportunity to incorporate advanced technologies to their teachings. Inevitably there are both benefits and challenges to incorporating technology to promote learning, where do you stand at integrating technology into your practice?

 

2 comments

  1. I think that in this day and age students are so visual stimulated every day that it is a must to integrate technologies into your class lesson. I teach grade 8 girls in the United Arab Emirates in English, many of them are still lacking in their English skills so this makes teaching Science very difficult. I rely heavily on visuals, such as videos and interactive website like Brainpop (www.brainpop.com). These short video clips, help students understand basic Science concepts. Sometimes even these videos can be too much for my students, but I work with them to break does anything that they have trouble to understand.

    Basic technology in the class also allows me to show videos of labs (or do virtual labs) because our school does not have the materials to actually perform these labs in class.

    I am still working on my students’ technology use. Many of them do not have a computer at home and the only internet they have in on a phone or ipad. Since they are female, many of them are not given a phone and have limited use of the internet for cultural reasons. With time, I know this will improve.

  2. Hi Darren, I love how you have categorized technology integration. Personally, I have been a Level 1-er for most of my career–never afraid to try things out, but at the end of the day, it was mostly digitizing a more traditional approach. As I venture into Level 2 and 3, I can attribute my transition to at least four factors.
    1. I have spent many years in Level 1! The jump into Level 2 isn’t as scary from that point.
    2. Reliable wi-fi and better infrastructure at my school. Most of the time, if I need technology to enhance my class, I can find it. Last minute lessons can usually happen, as well. This is thanks to one Chromebook cart, one set of iPads, almost every student with a mobile, and three computer labs. (One more Chromebook cart would be a heap better, though!)
    3. @UBCMET— but of course!
    4. Being a parent to two kids that love their screen time. I want to find more ways for them to spend time with their devices that activate their creativity and problem solving/critical thinking skills.
    Admittedly, I am still a new-school poser– i.e. I am not prepared to abandon teacher directed classes completely. But Level 3, on occasion, is totally fine with me, haha! Cheers, Dana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.