Mr. C. has extensive experience with educational technology. Beginning with his career in the Canadian military and later as an elementary school teacher, technology has been a consistent component of his professional experiences. Mr. C. has used his talents as an educational technology consultant and more recently as a grade 7 teacher toward his endeavor to “make a difference”.
During our interview, Mr. C. talked about the different ways he uses technology and his thoughts on technology and its impact on student learning. Throughout the interview, it became evident that Mr. C. uses technology as a means to an end. Three words that helped to frame this notion are: Experiences, Engagement, and Goals.
When asked about the strategies used to integrate technology, Mr. C. was very clear in stating his views. Learning goals and student needs are the basis from which decisions concerning technology are made.
When I integrate technology I begin by looking at the curriculum learning goals. Then I look to see what technology we have available that can help in meeting those learning goals. Knowing your students and knowing you’re curriculum comes before knowing what technologies to use in the classroom.
Mr. C. recognizes that his students are more engaged when they are having fun. He also sees technology as a strategy that allows students to show their knowledge in multiple ways. He spoke in detail about the ways he integrates technology in his classroom. In science, his students enjoy learning by using robotics, simulations, and virtual reality tools. However, he also identified the importance of close monitoring and facilitating student learning noting that some students can get carried away or become sidetracked and need support and guidance to produce interesting and quality work.
As a grade 7 teacher, Mr. C. is responsible for teaching music. However, he does not have an educational background in this area. Yet despite his lack of knowledge, he’s able to provide students with a meaningful learning experience by using technology.
Where I don’t have all the intricacies of teaching grade 7 music, I can look at the big ideas in the curriculum and use technology like Garageband and the Finale Music to help me.
Mr. C. uses an integrated approach to teaching music by using musical technology as a part of his Language Arts program.
I’m showing students different ways to use technology to reach their learning goals. For example, in our novel study, we used Garageband to show demonstrate the mood of the novel. We used Finale which is a program that uses music notation to write a song about the book.
This brief ½ hour interview with Mr. C. provided me with a unique opportunity to understand a seasoned educator approach to using technology. From my perspective, Mr. C. shows signs of being very intentional and thoughtful about his approach. Pedagogy and the process of learning are strong influences that govern how Mr. C. uses technology in his classroom. He is also acutely aware of how technology can be used as a bridge for a teacher in their teaching and for students in their learning.