The interviewee is a colleague at my school, presently in his fourth year teaching in areas of Science, Math and PE. The interview took place in my classroom after lunch on a professional development day. Three summary points are elaborated below:
- Trial and Error
Technology can at least be used for instruction, administration and interaction, where the interviewee described using computer-based technology: Tablets and projectors for teaching, Websites for announcements to keep up to date, and Online simulations like PhET and Youtube where students can explore. The interviewee explained how simulations help visualize concepts to understand phase changes for molecules, in place of stationary pictures in textbooks. Geogebra and Desmos likewise help learners connect with math, accessing through open source platforms. The biggest advice from him was “trial and error”, in that technology might not work after all, but at least you’ll know by trying it out. To confront fear of failure, he suggested not trying with the entire class, but maybe a small group afterschool first.
The interviewee modelled a genuine and mutual interaction with students, receiving feedback to determine whether technology was successful. Certain students learn better with technology, while others disengage as phones can be distractions. He described how social media is always at their fingertips, possibly eliciting worry about their online presence the whole time. The interviewee emphasized being clear with expectations (ex. when to use technology), discretely trying not to make a scene. Of course that depends on students, though it escalates for him when student not only affects him/herself but those around him. Students want genuine teachers who acknowledge weaknesses, promoting collaborative attitudes like “let’s work on this together”. Otherwise student doesn’t want to participate when they don’t understand, perceiving teacher as the expert. The model is teamwork based, so educators don’t have to know everything, but can problem solve with colleagues and peers. Interviewee described how teachers often forget how good students are with technology, where learners can feel empowered to passionately share with the class.
Interviewee described how when he went through school, while technology was not limited (ex. All The Right Type, Paint), it was very simple technology with limited programming even in computer classes. While Science and Math used different software, he would only rarely go to computer labs for the purpose of research. Sometimes even tried technologies like Powerpoint doesn’t work too well, presenting information too quickly for students to process. Interviewee recognizes that now technology is everywhere, so why try to hide something so powerful when “they can search up the world”. As such, the interviewee encourages bringing laptops for learning, exploring modern apps that make phones wonderful learning tools. The gender stereotypes that were prominent before are much less pronounced, as girls use modern apps equally shrinking possible gender discrimination issues.