Mr. S is a seasoned programming instructor and college student mentor. He works for a vocational college in Vancouver and teaches various programming languages and technology certification courses. He is also a technology mentor for college students who seek career advice. Mr. S was interviewed through Google Hangout at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.
Incorporating well planned and tested technology to promote better engagement
Mr. S stated that “students will be engaged more in the class by doing and participating.” He uses coding exercises utilizing free IDE editors and free online code testing tools. He also distributes his lectures through Google Docs before/after the class, so that students can preview and revisit his lectures. He cannot stress enough that we need to be cautious on when implementing technology in the classroom because technology that is not carefully evaluated, and as result misapplied, can be a huge distraction. He also emphasized that the process of implementing technology should be quick and easy, so teachers can spend more time on class curriculum than on learning the technology. He firmly believes that the most important aspect of integrating educational technology is to create learning environments in which students actively construct knowledge in cognitive partnerships with technology (Hooper & Rieber, 1995).
Incorporating technology for better assessment
Mr. S discussed how challenging it was to incorporate assessment technology in his classes due to lack of tool availability in the school. He stated, “the college doesn’t provide the budget to buy any code testing software so I need to use free online code testing tools such as jsFiddle and Coderpad.” He was quite satisfied with the free online tools and said they worked great for his courses. Mr. S stated that the results from the shared coding exercise help him assess students and decide whether they need more tailored programming and supplemental activities.
Aid in gender and cultural differences
Mr. S discussed how helpful it was to implement individual weekly chat sessions using Skype/Google Hangout to remove cultural and gender barriers. He stated that “some students are very shy to ask questions in front of the class, so they prefer to use the chat session.” He added individual chat session worked well with female students as well as with students who hesitate to ask questions in public for cultural reasons. MR S. also mentioned that “This approach only works because the class size is small (15-20 students max).” He wouldn’t be able to offer students such sessions when class sizes are large.
In conclusion, Mr. S firmly believes that a well-designed and well-planned technology incorporation process is key for successful technology implementation in the classroom.
Hooper, S. & Rieber, L.P. (1995). Teaching with technology. In A.C. Ornstein (Ed.), Teaching: Theory into practice (pp. 154-170). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.