A Closer Look at Technology in the Classroom: Video Cases

I really enjoyed the posted video cases.  I looked at Case 2 and 3.  In Case 2, the physics teacher stressed that using technology in class made classes more teacher centered and less student centered.  This is a wonderful thing, because as teachers we are always looking for ways for students to take control of their learning.  In this case the teacher can act more as a guide and mentor, and students can have an active part in their learning.  I am happy that the teacher brought up transferable skills, here in the UAE, they call the 21st Century skills and they are necessary when you are teaching students in this day and age.  When you incorporate technology in the class these skills are honed.  Transferable skills include critical thinking, collaboration among students, creativity, and communication.  These are all skills that students are going to need later in life, as well as when they enter the workforce.

This teacher also mentioned that using technology in the class, can cut down on time that is spent on things such as data collection, which can be time consuming when done manually.  He mentioned that his school has seen an improvement in grade, along with increased participation by females.

The female student that was interviewed, mentioned that using technology made the class easier to understand.

In Case 3, the teacher said that she had made assumptions about technology use among her students.  I can relate to this.  The first year that I taught Grade 7 Science, we went to the computer lab to do an assignment and I told the students that they had to email it to me as an attachment.  I was shocked to find out how many students did not know how to send an attachment.  I think as teachers we sometimes assume that because these students have grown up with technology all their lives that they are digital natives, when this isn’t always the case. This teacher mentions that many students were apprehensive when it came to using the technology at hand.

When ever technology is going to be used in class you must have a plan B.  There are times that the technology is not going to work, this was also mentioned by the teacher in this case.

There is no question that doing a simulation on a computer is nothing like performing an experiment in real life.  When you are in the lab performing an experiment, you must troubleshoot if there is a problem.  In a simulation, there are rarely problems and things always run as planned.  Nevertheless, if you do have the space, resources or equipment, a simulation is an excellent substitution.

Simulations may exacerbate conceptual challenges because they do not know what the equipment, materials or set up looks like in real life and this could pose a problem.  Yet, it is better to expose a student to a simulation, than to nothing at all.

Because I have mostly taught in single sex schools (all girls), I have never thought about technology to draw girls into a class or a subject, like the Physics teacher in the Case 2 mentioned. I guess we could take to all female science classes and see if using technology in class improved participation and grades.

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