Good use= Effective use?

  • What is a good use of digital technology in the math and science classroom? What would such a learning experience and environment look like? What would be some characteristics of what it is and what it isn’t? How might a learning experience with technology address a conceptual challenge, such as the one you researched in the last lesson?

A good use of digital technology in the math and science classroom is hard to define. But in my attempt to answer this question, I asked myself a few questions.  “What makes a digital technology a good addition to a math and science classroom? Should it be useful in helping teach content? Should it be good because it’s multifunctional and not just for math and science? or Is it the easiness of the technology the reason it is a good use of technology as its simplicity results in frequent usage? ” A good use is perhaps another way of saying a good addition to the classroom, and a good addition is perhaps so because it’s easy to use and can help students understand the math and science content easier. Regardless of why or how we classified a digital technology to be of good use, one commonality that can be seen is definitely on the frequency of use. If it’s good and useful, it’s used, and in my books, a good use if when something is used often enough that the frequencies offset the cost of the item.  A math and science classroom with the correct digital technology(s) shouldn’t require a lot of tools,  and definitely not a lot of unneeded or unused equipment. An effective learning environment that yields positive learning experiences should just have “the right amount” of technologies, so if one very effective tool can be found, just one if ten then so be it.  Either way, in my opinion, it should not be a space that has more technologies than students. Perhaps this is why now, more and more traditional classrooms are having their classrooms’ traditional technologies replaced by digital ones, as one digital technology can have functions that replace two or more devices, saving space.

With the right technology, conceptual challenges can be addressed as it would help students understand and see the same course materials from different perspectives and not just from their imagination. It can also better present materials that are hard to explain.  This can alter one’s learning experience greatly.

3 comments

  1. Hi Wanyi,

    I feel that “good use” of technology should be reflected in terms of what our students need to support their learning. Any consideration of technology assessment and selection should start with the fundamental questions of who our students are and what learning outcomes we’re aiming to achieve with them. As educators, we also need to gain an understanding of the skills and interests that our students already possess, and the areas that need to be addressed either prior to beginning the process, or to be undertaken in the early stages of our students’ engagement with technology.

    In my own experience, I’ve found that I often overestimated the students’ experience and skill set with regards to educational technology, and especially earlier in my career, I found that I was planning for tasks and activities that were more advanced than was appropriate for their learning needs at that stage. I now place considerable value on the importance of supporting students in learning about digital citizenship. In many ways, I believe that this is an area that continues to be overlooked when schools plan for technology integration.

    Thanks for your post,

    – Allen.

  2. Hi Wanyi,

    Your thoughts about how a technology should be used frequently to offset the cost of the item was very insightful; further you mentioned how digital technologies may be able to provide numerous different functions again potentially reducing the overall cost. These budgetary considerations much be addressed especially with the constant battle for funding. Additionally, you mentioned that if little technology is able to accomplish the goal then that should be enough – technology shouldn’t be used for the sake of using technology.

    Great post!

    Baljeet

  3. Thanks for sharing Wanyi. I agree ‘good’ technology is hard to define, and even with a definition may not overlap with ‘effective’ technology. Just like a ‘good’ computer depends on what you want to do with it, which might be relevant in one context and completely irrelevant for another. We each will decide for ourselves whether one technology is good for us or not, based on the tools we have at our disposal which reminds me of a reflection from a previous MET course, to maximize the technology we already have available.

    Andrew

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.