I chose to focus on case 3 and case 6 this week as they were the two most relatable to my current situation.
What stood out for me in this video is teacher B identifying the fact that assumptions were made before the teaching began that likely affected the learning. As a teacher, I have experienced and have also witnessed it as an administrator. You look through lesson plans that appear to be perfect but you quickly realize there is no link to prior knowledge acquired and even the greatest of plans can bomb badly when this is the case. In her case, it was the assumption that students had some basic computer skills but this was never tested beforehand and it slowed things down.
The teacher also identified a key question when using technology, which is what if? If your lesson is based completely on a specific technology, what do you do when it fails.
Teacher A’s experience and comfort were more evident in discussing his method’s. He had a plan that facilitated helping the weaker students in technology, without his direct teaching. The concept of activity based learning is certainly an excellent one when it is approached correctly. Having proper knowledge and perspective are important, however, and it’s important that teachers are still constantly assessing their students and providing help where it is needed.
I also found the argument about hands on vs. simulations interesting. I would be interested to hear for about studies done on the benefits and drawbacks of each but I can certainly see the benefit of having a more blended approach. Cost is an issue for schools and the fact is you cannot experience the amount of things you would be able to on a simulator. While I don’t agree that simulators can’t simulate problems (when I did flight simulations I had plenty of preprogrammed failures built in that forced me to think on my feet) I do agree that there is value is live experiments and this should never be done with completely.
This case also caught my attention because the teacher had a certain passion for using technology that was focussed on benefitting the students. Parent and teacher communication can be difficult through old channels but this has changed greatly and for teachers that take the initiative they can stay very connected. Doing so encourages interaction at home, which only strengthens learning.
I was also struck by the inquiry-based approach of trying to find what the students are interested in and building off of that.
What was most impressive to me was the teacher understood the reality that you “go to war with the army you have, not the one you want.” This is to say he understood he was not going to get all of the technology elements, at least not through standard means. He added components by being crafty in pitching ideas and showing results to back up his requests for more funding.
Both cases were interesting in their own right. Certainly, the context and approach differ slightly but the basic principle of using technology in the most efficient way possible was a common thread. I believe sincerely that collaboration among teachers is the key to expanding learning opportunities to all and it appears these teachers are very willing to share their experiences and learn.