Tech in the Classroom

Good use of digital technology in math & science classrooms is when its inclusion brings another element. This could be facilitating the sharing of ideas and experiences with students/speakers on the other side of the world, watching in real-time the repair of the ISS, or allowing students to manipulate objects that would normally be out of reach or impossible to access. It allows for more inclusive education (eg. students with needs not met with traditional paper/pen) and can help meet the needs of all learners, & foster creative & out-of-the-box thinking. Digital technology allows students to address some of the conceptual challenges they may have.

Good use of technology is not the substitution of technology for worksheets. Technology is also not a substitute for poor teaching. It is how we can make learning more effective.

This strong vision of digital technology is possible in Canadian classrooms. Most schools are fortunate to have access to Internet & devices such as iPads & desktop computers. Many students have their own devices. 1:1 may be challenging, at least having technology, even shared, allows for possibility. What makes it a challenge is lack of/unequal distribution of resources, and infrastructure (speed) that districts provide. Encouraging teachers to take risks, Pro-D, & mentoring help to educate teachers. Being creative with budgets (do we need more photocopying/textbooks?), applying for grants & discussing with administration the benefits to students’ may lead to acquiring tech for students.

Keeping the why & what is best for our students at the forefront when implementing technology in our classrooms will help keep us on the right path.

2 comments

  1. I love the quote, “technology is also not a substitute for poor teaching”. I could not agree more with this statement. I was so surprised at the beginning of my career (and still) at the number of teacher’s that to not follow this philosophy. Technology needs to be used as an AID to a lesson, not THE lesson.

    I also appreciated you bringing up special education as I too discussed this briefly in my post. Basham & Marino (2013) in their text “Understanding STEM Education and Supporting Students through Universal Design for Learning” discuss how students in special education tend to struggle with STEM content more than students without disabilities. Naturally, I asked myself why this is the case? What or how are we failing to create an interest in STEM not only for students with disabilities but all students regardless of the diversification? The answer is because we, as educators, are not well versed enough in STEM to be able to teach students the fundamentals when we do not know them well ourselves. This, I believe, is where professional development comes in. Whether boards are implementing professional development to educate teachers about how to properly teach STEM or not, it is up to educators to do their own research. This way, we are setting our students up for success with regards to providing interesting lessons in the STEM fields.

    References

    Basham, D. J. & Marino, M. T. (2013). Understanding STEM education and supporting students through universal design for learning. Teaching Exceptional Children, 45 (4), pp. 8-15. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/004005991304500401

  2. “Technology is not a substitute for poor teaching.” I also agree! It can be very tempting to use the technology as a time-waster, when as a learning tool, it can be so much more powerful. Thanks for this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.