Author Archives: Gloria Ma

Authentic Learning

The definition I agree with is Trotter’s (1998) definition in Kozma’s (2003) book that describes technology as ”tools in service of richer curricula, enhanced pedagogies, more effective organization structures, stronger links between schools and society, and the empowerment of disenfranchised learners (Kozma, 2003). It aligns with my teaching philosophy around technology integration in classrooms.

Technology has the ability to enrich the learning outcomes of students because it allows students to connect their knowledge with society given the learning opportunities technology provides. For instance, the Internet can show students current innovations in society that can empower them to be a part of the constantly changing world around them. Furthermore, for teachers, technology opens up new ways to introduce learning concepts and offers teachers different perspectives, making them reflect on their teaching philosophies and styles.  

An ideal pedagogical design of a technology-enhanced learning experience for science or math education should address how concepts are applicable to real life situations. For instance, how is algebra used practically in life? Also, how was the scientific method used in the process of creating a computer? As a class, students will work collaboratively in these environments to generate answers to these questions and be able to apply what they have learned to real scenarios in society and the world. Connecting the relevance  and applicability to the knowledge will build students’ empowerment because the learning process is authentic.


Kozma, R. (2003). Technology, innovation, and educational change: A global perspective, (A report of the Second Information Technology in Education Study, Module 2). Eugene, OR: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, ISTE Publications.


Limitations of Technology



The interviewee I worked with is in her fourth year of teaching and is currently teaching Kindergarten in British Columbia, BC. The interview took place in the late afternoon of her classroom. Three aspects of the interview stood out to me. First, her limited use of technology (i.e. document camera, videos, and projector). Most uses of technology were used mainly for her teaching. Students had no interaction with the technologies. Second, the differential experience with technology her and her teacher education classmates had regarding Smart Boards. She did not feel that her teacher program prepared her for integrating technology but she also felt that her classmates “definitely felt differential in terms of technology coming out of the program.” Another aspect I found interesting was her limitations regarding integrating technology. From the start, she noted how her teaching partner does not use technology, which seems to have some influence on her as she says that “her teacher partner does not want to use technology with kindergarten students” and therefore she is “not currently using technology” in the classroom. Other limitations she mentions include the unreliability of technology based on its durability and wifi connectivity issues. Furthermore, she goes into detail about the inconvenience of the sharing aspect of technology. She says, “some schools have computer labs, which are shared between all classroom classes and resource classes. There are sometimes iPad cards that hold about 20 iPads, but again, shared between all classes. On top of that, teachers have to physically go somewhere else in the school to sign those out, sometimes finding out that the time they wanted use the iPads is already booked.” Though my interviewee currently does not use technology in teaching the math and sciences, she has shared her perspective about the limitations behind its use.


Interview Transcript


Tell me about your teaching experience.


Currently i am a kindergarten teacher in BC, but I’ve taught k-3 in the past


What is your experience of integrating technology in the math and sciences?


Because i’m in a temporary job share position, and my teaching partner does not want to use technology with kindergarten students, I am not currently using technology in my class. However, in the past I have. I had a projector and document camera in my class that was super helpful. I used it almost every time we met at the carpet. But specifically for math and science, I loved showing videos for students to have a deeper understanding on concepts and when I did science experiments, I could show it easily on the document camera instead of having kids crowd my table.


How well do you think your teacher education program prepared you for integrating technology?


I had one-off workshop that introduced Smart Boards and how to use it, but I wouldn’t say my program really prepared me for integrating technology. I do have some friends that did their practicum in a school that had smart boards in every class, so they definitely felt differently in terms of technology coming out of the program.


What are some ways you believe technology can help students understand math and science concepts?


I see technology as an extension to face-to-face teaching. If I can’t reach certain students using the methods i know, technology would be something to try.


Do you believe there are some limitations with regards to integrating technology in the math and sciences?


It can break, wifi at the school is wonky sometimes, it’s not reliable, some teachers don’t really know how to use it. Also, in my experience, there is not a lot of technology to go around. For example, some schools have computer labs, which are shared between all classroom classes and resource classes. There are sometimes iPad carts that hold about 30 ipads, but again, shared between all classes. On top of that, teachers have to physically go somewhere else in the school to sign those out, sometimes finding out that the time they wanted to use the iPads is already booked.


What are some challenges in the future for classrooms around technology?


In my opinion, getting technology permanently in all classrooms. If it’s in the class, teachers are more likely to use it. But of course, it’s expensive and technology may or may not be the priority in school districts.

Analysis: Case 5 (Elementary Space Science) and 6 (Middle School Life Science)

I chose these two video cases to analyze due to my current teaching context of middle school students. Both cases show experienced teachers implementing a plethora of technology with students grades six to eight. As well, the classrooms appear lively and noisy where different groups of students are engaged in different projects incorporating technology. In both cases, there is great diversity in terms of how students demonstrate their learning in the sciences. Also, the teachers in both cases expressed the effective use of technology in the sciences as helping students understand knowledge accurately and increasing engagement in the content. Finally, in both classrooms, there seemed to be adequate resources of technology equipment for students.


At the same time, there was a significant difference between the two cases. That is, there were some contrasts in the openness of technology between the preservice and new teachers. In Case 6, the student teacher interview discussed her incorporation of technology in her practicum class. She had positive notions of it and expressed benefits such as collaboration, hands-on approach, and exposure to media literacy. In Case 6, the new teacher interview expressed she was frustrated with using technology and how it was a work in progress.
An interesting issue I am wondering about is with regards to assessment. That is, how will educators adequately assess students when they use different ways to showcase their learning? For instance, in both classrooms, the teachers mentioned the use of raps, podcasts, videos, experiments, and interactive websites where different groups of students are engaged in. Though this can increase participation, how will educators be able to monitor students’ process of learning? It seems like educators will be required to circulate and keep track of the diversity of projects going on. As well, how would students’ depth of learning be assessed? Will educators be using a standard rubric to assess students? Assessment is definitely a relevant question in terms of integrating technology in the math and sciences.

Unpacking Assumptions

In my brief notes, I came up with three ideas for what constitutes as “good use” of digital technology in the math and science classroom. First, it should build accurate understanding of concepts. Second, it shows students different ways of acquiring knowledge and demonstrating understanding, Third, it should accommodate for diversity among learners.


In the classroom, these three characteristics can look very differently. The digital technology should not overshadow the learning that takes place. For instance, a student who uses technology should still be able to acquire accurate knowledge about a topic. Certainly, with technology, accuracy can also be an issue because the Internet is not always right. Students can use different ways to showcase their learning such as making a video, giving a digital presentation, creating a digital information book, among others. This also refers to the characteristic that digital technology accommodates for diverse learners. Students can choose how to demonstrate their learning but also the best way for them to learn. For example, students can choose to watch informative videos or conduct inquiry-based research to obtain knowledge.


Digital technology can address conceptual challenges in many ways. For instance, students can cross-check information among multiple sites to ensure accuracy. Also for Heather from the last activity, she can be challenged to show her learning in different ways using technology about astronomy facts as a class activity. She can collaborate with her peers to create a digital model of the Earth’s rotation and the moon.
It is definitely not a simple task to implement digital technology in these ways because it requires teachers’ background knowledge on technology and student awareness of digital literacy. The teacher would be expected to have some knowledge of the digital technology incorporated and be willing to invest time in teaching these skills to students, but also have the ability to manage multiple diverse projects going on at the same time. Furthermore, students will need to be taught digital literacy that goes beyond how to use the technology, but researching skills, word processing, copyright policies, among others. Resources will definitely be another factor as there needs to be adequate funding for technology usage to be successful.

Conceptual Challenges

Heather’s challenges involved logical yet inaccurate theories, confusion that occurred when she blended new concepts with pre-existing knowledge and unawareness of private theories.


When I was watching the video of Heather, I had this realization that I also have misconceptions in the science and math disciplines as a learner. I recall myself generating logical reasonings to explain scientific phenomenons. Furthermore, as an elementary teacher, I am responsible for delivering accurate knowledge to my students. This lingering thought provoked me to look at teacher misconceptions and how they compare with student misconceptions in science, specifically. I came across an article by Burgoon, Heddle and Duran (2011) that was quite recent and focused on comparing the misconceptions about physical science between elementary teachers and students. Elementary science teachers were assessed on their physical science knowledge. The results showed the elementary science teachers shared similar misconceptions in topics of temperature, gases, magnetism and gravity. Of course, these results cannot be generalized to the entire population of science teachers, but it does indicate some concern as teachers who have misconceptions, can contribute to further misconceptions for their students. For instance, a possible source of student misconception comes from an unreliable source (like a teacher)!


I found this article relevant to Paul Cobb’s article titled “Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development”. The chapter discussed the similarities and differences between two trends in constructivist-based research in education: a cognitive theory that emphasizes self-organization of knowledge process within the learner and a sociocultural theory that focuses on the sociohistorical aspect of knowledge construction. This is relevant to Burgoon et al. (2011)’s article because it indicates the importance of students and teachers being able to demonstrate awareness of misconceptions within themselves but also to point out misconceptions of others through participation in discussions and collaborative learning. Specifically, Cobb (1994) emphasizes that learning occurs both from self-organization of knowledge as well as through participation in cultural practices (i.e. formal schooling).


The other article I chose to read was from Confrey (1990) that discussed various student misconceptions in mathematics. At the end, several propositions for implications were mentioned. It sheds insight on Burgoon et al. (2011)’s article because these suggestions for minimizing misconceptions for students can possibly be applied to teachers. Particularly, teachers should take opportunities to reflect on their own misconceptions using those strategies.


Digital technology can help children and teachers address these conceptions in various ways. More hands-on learning where students directly manipulate objects will help them visualize their conceptions. is a website that has virtual simulations of all topics in science. Students can explore them prior to hands-on experimentation. Online discussion forums can also help students address misconceptions because they can reflect on their learning on them and others can make comments on their knowledge. These forums should be monitored by educators who can also express their knowledge.


Burgoon, J. N., Heddle, M. L., & Duran, E. (2011). Re-examining the similarities between teacher and student conceptions about physical science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22(2), 101-114. doi:10.1007/s10972-010-9196-x

Cobb, Paul. “Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development.” Educational researcher 23, no. 7 (1994): 13-20.

My First Computer

My youngest aunt bought me and my brother our first computer back in 1999. I was in 4th grade while my brother was in 3rd grade and we were extremely elated. When we received Internet (accessed through the web browser called Netscape), it became apparent that the computer was consuming our communication with others…especially because in order to access the World Wide Web, the ability to call our friends and extended family members would be diminished due to dial-up connection services!


This event was memorable because I remember having continuous conversations with my brother about how this new piece of technology worked. There was so much learning happening on a regular basis!


Two questions:

  • Dial-up connection seemed to have caused two communicative technologies (i.e. phone and Internet) to contradict each other, in that you could only use one or the other. Anybody find this interesting?
  • Do people approach new digital technologies in the same ways today?

Hello from Vancouver, British Columbia

Hello everyone! My name is Gloria and I am a grade 7 elementary teacher here in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I am taking this course simultaneously with ETEC 590. Yes this is my final term with MET!

This was one of the courses I have wanted to take since the beginning because I am interested in the ways technology can be integrated in the math and science disciplines.

I am looking forward to connecting with all of you!