I honestly can’t remember my earliest experiences with digital technology as I have always had a computer in my house/bedroom and various forms of palm-pilots/tablets/hand-held games. That being said though I can vividly remember my first experiences with educational technology – using Success Maker (math and reading) as well as All the Right Type in my elementary school classrooms. We actually had a class called “Computers” where we used these programs and when we were done the required work for the day we got to play Cross Country Canada (a trucking game where you had to pick up and drop of loads across Canada). Success Maker was great from providing students with instant feedback on their understanding and giving variety from the mundane, everyday worksheets, All the Right Type had the largest impact on my life. I am so thankful to my teachers for forcing me to use this program for 4years and not letting me cheat. It has helped me tremendously through my undergraduate programs as well as in this program. I can’t imagine how much longer it would take me to do things if I didn’t know how to type properly.
I have always believed that technology, especially educational technologies, have had a place in our lives. That being said though, I find that many people use technology as a crutch or “inappropriately.” By that I mean that instead of learning to read a map and figure out where you are/are going, a vast majority of the population rely upon their GPS to tell them step by step how to get somewhere. People also rely heavily on calculators rather than mental math for basic math facts – many of my students don’t even know their 3 times tables. In my experience, I also find that parents use technology to parent their child for them; rather than teaching their child how to behave on interact with others, they just hand them the iPad to make them quiet and consequently, antisocial because of their addiction to their online games and apps. I would lump Success Maker into this category (somewhat) because it was used on occasion as a time filler or when the kids were too rambunctious to listen to a lesson.
While I love my technology and enjoy bringing it into my classroom, I am always hesitant to use it too much or in a way that doesn’t teach students to think critically (ie. PPT vs other presentation programs). I believe I have this struggle because of all the “miss-uses” of technology that I have seen and experienced.
Thanks for reminding me about All the Right Type and Cross Country Canada! I had forgotten about those activities I did in grade 3 and 4. Looking back, I found them to be very important programs to have learned from as well.
Thanks for your post. I too, am very concerned about how technology is used in my classroom. Many students are so used to getting the “answer” right away, they become easily frustrated and are not able to problem-solve or critically think when tech is not present. Students struggle with “stick-to-it-ness”. I really try to employ the SAMR model when incorporating tech into my classroom. If it is just a digital worksheet then that is a problem! Being mindful of why I am using tech has really helped me work through my concerns – it’s still a work in progress though!
Great post! I think you touched on some essential issues concerning “miss-uses” of technology. Technology can be a convenient tool but not always a constructive one. Whether at home or in the classroom, the opportunities that technology affords and the consequences are not always easy to discern. The lines can become easily blurred. I personally am still looking for verification that I am striking the right balance and using technology in the classroom as a tool to enhance student learning. Thanks for sharing your post. Looking forward to reading more from you in this course.
Thanks Meagan. Your post reminded me of a youtube clip while I was researching ‘Apple Classroom’ for another MET class. It’s amazing how the app provides thumbnails of each individual iPad students used, where you can restrict functionalities and force open websites. I wonder how students feel about being limited left, right and center with such powerful technology in hand. Also whether technology needs to incorporate so many restrictions to be appropriate for the classroom.
I vividly remember All The Right Type and know that this program definitely set me up for success in high school and in my career. Nowadays, learning how to type is a dying skill that every student must know how to do. I was introduced a few years back of an updated version called Typing Club that the students definitely like more. The only problem is that next year, our school is converting our computer lab into a classroom. Perhaps assigning this for homework is the next best thing……..