The one issue that really stood out to me was how vastly the use of technology in the classroom varied from one example to the other. For example, in case 6, the technology itself had nothing to do with the science lesson. This is in contrast with the STEM class from Case 1. So, if the technology has nothing to do with the lesson, does using it actually translate to better engagement and understanding of the topics in question? Specifically, does making a powerpoint presentation, animation or podcast lead to a deeper understanding of the material? I guess the only way to answer this question is to conduct research to look into this or do a literature review to see if anyone has researched this particular question. Making a presentation is a time consuming activity and uses resources, and it would be great to be able to justify this by stating that this leads to deeper understanding of the material, or higher level of understanding/knowledge per Bloom’s taxonomy.
Thank you for pointing out that Case 5’s use of technology does not quite match the science that they are doing. I, too, was wondering how their use of tech enhances their understanding. But I suppose the teacher’s goal was more of allowing her students to communicate in ways other than written language, where her students might struggle as they are from diverse backgrounds. Rather than it being a science specific lesson or project, it became about accessing the lesson regardless of their background. They could share their knowledge through multimodal formats, where they are most comfortable, yet still challenged. This approach seems to be guided towards accessibility with technology to learn science content, rather than learn science through the technology.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of “technology for technology’s sake” and I wonder if perhaps this is an example of this within the Case 5 science lesson. In terms of task design, it’s essential that we begin with the outcomes and learning goals as our starting point. Technology integration then becomes the means to help support students to achieve these goals and express their knowledge and understanding. I’d be curious to hear from this teacher and gain some more insight into the planning and design process for this particular science lesson.
I like the fact that you brought up the fact that technology “…lead to a deeper understanding of the material?” In high school and the first couple years of university biology, I was taught about anatomy through books, pictures, skeletons, and videos. It was not until a 3rd-year anatomy class, where we dissected a rhesus monkey — I really understood how it all the body systems connected.
I wonder if you could expand on your own experience on using technology — and whether it helped you and/or your students understand the concepts.
A good next step might be to do a literature review.
In my own experience, some technologies are helpful while others are questionable. For example, I find simulation to be extremely helpful from a technical aspect. We do/teach a lot of laparoscopic surgery (or key hole surgery), in which operations are performed through small incisions and with the use of long instruments. There are many technical aspects to this type of surgery, and “practicing” is difficult as we are operating on real patients. Simulators help learners to gain skills without potentially harming patients. It also helps with anatomy knowledge, especially the high fidelity ones. I also often use an online program from our university that allows students to manipulate human anatomy parts so they can view it at different layers and rotate it in all directions. it helps them understand anatomy in 3 dimensions. This is used to supplement their anatomy teaching, and by no way can it replace cadaveric dissections or anatomy learned in the operating room. We also have our learners make presentations throughout their training to present to their peers as well as other physicians, nurses etc. Generally powerpoint is used. Though they end up understanding their topic well, I have a hard time stating that its because of the technology. I think its the nature of having to present to colleagues and their attendings as well as other health professionals that makes the students learn the material in great detail and depth.