The interviewee I worked with is in her fourth year of teaching and is currently teaching Kindergarten in British Columbia, BC. The interview took place in the late afternoon of her classroom. Three aspects of the interview stood out to me. First, her limited use of technology (i.e. document camera, videos, and projector). Most uses of technology were used mainly for her teaching. Students had no interaction with the technologies. Second, the differential experience with technology her and her teacher education classmates had regarding Smart Boards. She did not feel that her teacher program prepared her for integrating technology but she also felt that her classmates “definitely felt differential in terms of technology coming out of the program.” Another aspect I found interesting was her limitations regarding integrating technology. From the start, she noted how her teaching partner does not use technology, which seems to have some influence on her as she says that “her teacher partner does not want to use technology with kindergarten students” and therefore she is “not currently using technology” in the classroom. Other limitations she mentions include the unreliability of technology based on its durability and wifi connectivity issues. Furthermore, she goes into detail about the inconvenience of the sharing aspect of technology. She says, “some schools have computer labs, which are shared between all classroom classes and resource classes. There are sometimes iPad cards that hold about 20 iPads, but again, shared between all classes. On top of that, teachers have to physically go somewhere else in the school to sign those out, sometimes finding out that the time they wanted use the iPads is already booked.” Though my interviewee currently does not use technology in teaching the math and sciences, she has shared her perspective about the limitations behind its use.
Tell me about your teaching experience.
Currently i am a kindergarten teacher in BC, but I’ve taught k-3 in the past
What is your experience of integrating technology in the math and sciences?
Because i’m in a temporary job share position, and my teaching partner does not want to use technology with kindergarten students, I am not currently using technology in my class. However, in the past I have. I had a projector and document camera in my class that was super helpful. I used it almost every time we met at the carpet. But specifically for math and science, I loved showing videos for students to have a deeper understanding on concepts and when I did science experiments, I could show it easily on the document camera instead of having kids crowd my table.
How well do you think your teacher education program prepared you for integrating technology?
I had one-off workshop that introduced Smart Boards and how to use it, but I wouldn’t say my program really prepared me for integrating technology. I do have some friends that did their practicum in a school that had smart boards in every class, so they definitely felt differently in terms of technology coming out of the program.
What are some ways you believe technology can help students understand math and science concepts?
I see technology as an extension to face-to-face teaching. If I can’t reach certain students using the methods i know, technology would be something to try.
Do you believe there are some limitations with regards to integrating technology in the math and sciences?
It can break, wifi at the school is wonky sometimes, it’s not reliable, some teachers don’t really know how to use it. Also, in my experience, there is not a lot of technology to go around. For example, some schools have computer labs, which are shared between all classroom classes and resource classes. There are sometimes iPad carts that hold about 30 ipads, but again, shared between all classes. On top of that, teachers have to physically go somewhere else in the school to sign those out, sometimes finding out that the time they wanted to use the iPads is already booked.
What are some challenges in the future for classrooms around technology?
In my opinion, getting technology permanently in all classrooms. If it’s in the class, teachers are more likely to use it. But of course, it’s expensive and technology may or may not be the priority in school districts.