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:
- How do you use technology in your science and math classroom?
- What are the main goals of using these technologies?
- 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”.
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.