Keywords: Independent Learning, Choice, Interactivity

Ms. A from the Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate (WVC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba was interviewed on her views of technology use.  Her educational background is B.Sc, B.Ed, PBDE, and currently she is taking the CACE program at the University of Manitoba while working as an Instructor/Curriculum Developer at the WVC.  She is involved in teaching both math and science courses using D2L and Adobe Connect in synchronous and independent classes.  She responded to the following questions in an email interview:

  1. How do you use technology in your science and math classroom?
  2. What are the main goals of using these technologies?
  3.  In your opinion, what are the effects of using these technologies on your students’ learning?

Following are three summary points based on the responses given by Ms. A.

Supporting Independent Learning:

Ms. A uses various technologies in her classroom “…to enhance and support student learning (hopefully independent learning also) and [chooses] technologies because they are simple and easy for learners to utilize…”.  This is probably the most important point to be made about independent learning: that the technology being used by the teacher must be easy to use.  If there is difficulty in use; learners become disengaged.  The technologies used regularly in her classroom include Youtube Videos, Website Links for activities, and explorelearning.com “…which [allow] learners to complete mini labs that support what they are learning in the course”. Adobe Connect is used to meet with learners online to “…talk about content [as well as] give [learners] guidance on their progress”. Moreover, “Geogebra to help with showing learners graphs for math and physics…” and “…a computer graphing calculator…to show learners how to complete calculations…[and] graph on their own personal graphing calculators”.  In an attempt to increase student independence, Ms. A also utilizes “…Camtasia to make videos for learners when they require additional information [like] introductions, lessons and video solutions”.

Giving Choice:

One of Ms. A’s main purpose of using a variety of technologies in her classroom is to “…support different learning styles…”.  She provides this choice in each lesson as “the pattern in each lesson provides learners the opportunity to choose which technologies to use for their learning”.  She suggested use of different activities via website links, different source of youtube videos allowed learners to “…have the opportunity to choose their own path which [she feels] is important. She does however at the same time, make “…assignments and labs…mandatory components…” in her classes.

Effective interaction with learners:

Ms. A suggested a goal of  using technology was to “promote more effective communication [and] interactivity [between] the learner and teacher”.  She uses YouTube Videos to “support the content that learners are reading…”, website activities and explorelearning.com to allow “[learners] to expand their learning and explore beyond the content presented in D2L”, video solutions via Camtasia to “…provide the learner the opportunity to to check their work as they go to ensure understanding”, Geogebra and digital graphic calculator to allow “…learner to make connections between equations and graphs”.

Thus it is logical to conclude Ms. A’s classes are thoroughly enhanced by using these different technologies in their own capacities to provide ease of use leading to independent learning, choice to support different learning styles, and provide effective interaction with learners.

Thanks,
Vibhu

4 comments

  1. Hi Vibhu,

    One of your main themes was supporting different learning styles through the use of technology. The teacher that I interviewed also used a variety of choice for educational technologies for students to explore what benefits their understanding of a given. There are so many different options available that are free and quite user friendly nowadays.

    Tyler

    1. It is very true Tyler of the abundance of different media that can be used to support different learning styles!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Vibhu

  2. Hi Vibhu,
    Did the interviewee share what age/grade level was taught? There are a number of digital technologies mentioned by the interviewee that are employed. One of the reasons shared for doing so is to enhance student learning and the Geogebra example is suggestive of that. In the creation of the Camtasia videos, did the interviewee share the choice to do the videos oneself or to locate existing videos?
    Thank you, Samia

    1. Hi Samia!

      My colleague and I teach at a virtual high school that is Grade 9 to 12. Ms. A teaches science and math courses at the high school level. In terms of Camtasia videos, she in fact has made many recordings herself of artifacts like video solutions to assignment questions, explanation of concepts etc. She differentiated use of Camtasia (her own recordings) to YouTube videos which were found online to further support student learning.

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