Category Archives: A. Interview

New, and Travelling Teachers and Technology

Ms. A is in her second year of teaching high school Math. She is very dedicated teacher who works long hours to provide her students with thorough lessons and plenty of formative assessments. She is tasked with teaching in 7 different classrooms which keeps her on the move and without a home base.


Ms A. engages her students through the use of technology when she is certain that it will have a positive impact on student learning. Her students use “programs or apps on phones that students can use and will have access to.” These apps and programs include Kahoot, Desmos, and the Schoology learning management system. Ms. A “use[s] desmos mostly to help with Pre-Calculus 12 to help with graphing” and as an alternative to students having to purchase graphing calculators. “In the junior grades [she] does not like to use phones that often because they turn out to be more of a distraction than a help.”

“I have looked into other [applications]… but haven’t been able to apply it yet because I am still a new teacher and am still wrapping my head around everything.” She feels that her use of technology would increase if given the opportunity to focus on new educational applications during professional development days. Ms A. finds that her limited use of applications is due to “time but also sometimes apps aren’t the most clear as to how to run them and connect them so students have access them; that would take time and direction.”


As a teacher candidate, Ms. A used technology in her instruction more as she was “working out of a single classroom and could use ipad carts more easily.” Ms. A finds it difficult to use technology in her current teaching position as the use of ipads requires her “to sign them out and know quite far in advance when you will be using them” and “having to run across the school from [her] various classrooms to grab them while students are left unattended.” She also feels that the amount of technology present in her school is not adequate to support multiple teachers regularly using them for instruction.

Reflection, Possibilities, and Limitations in Grade 3

Diana has been teaching at the Grade 2 and Grade 3 level for the past 10 years, and she is very active and enthusiastic about integrating technology in her classroom within all areas of the curriculum. She is the technology lead at her school, and she regularly supports staff and students at individual, classroom, and whole school levels in order to promote and enhance student learning and staff development.


In terms of engaging students and supporting their learning, Diana works to have her students reflect and consider whether or not technology has actually enhanced and moved their learning and understanding forward. For her students, she achieves this through discussion and by having them share what they perceive to be evidence of their learning. Based on the language and description used, Diana determines whether the technology has enhanced learning and uses this assessment to plan for how to continue to support this progression. Students are expected to be able to reference their own work in order to draw a conclusion. From this, students should also be able to think and plan reflectively as they suggest next steps for their learning, as well as what they might do differently next time and support these choices with specific details.


Diana continues to assess and evaluate her own use of technology in the classroom to determine her own next steps and how to best support student learning and understanding. She uses a variety of apps and programs in order to meet the needs of her students and their diverse range of learning considerations. Possibilities for adaptive technology to support students with visual and auditory needs have been especially beneficial, and these strategies have also supported with other needs as well. Opportunities to support student output and collaborative possibilities have enhanced the overall engagement and cohesiveness of the classroom environment. The ability of students to collaborate and share their ideas, comments, questions and notes with their peers has proven to be especially effective in supporting all learners in the classroom.


Like many educators, Diana feels the constraints of time when working with technology in her classroom, and she believes that her students feel the same limitations with regards to time. Although she is motivated and competent in her ability to plan for technology integration in Mathematics and Science, Diana finds that she continually has to prioritize her approaches to technology in order to maximize the effectiveness of the limited amount of time that she has to devote to learning and applying technology in her classroom. In terms of staff support and professional development, she believes that there needs to be opportunities for staff to engage in PD according to their own interest and ability/comfort levels. Although she believes that the atmosphere at her school is supportive of providing support for technology, the time for teachers to learn about, and experiment with, technology has been limited to non-instructional times.

Challenges, Learning, Misconceptions

The interviewee, Lisa, is a teacher and educational technology coordinator of an international school in Bangkok Thailand. In addition to these duties, she teaches grade 7 language arts. She has been with the school for 7 years and has held the formal title for the last 3 years. Over the course of these years, she has been heavily involved in the growth of the school. Below is a summary of our interview, split into specific points.


One of the main challenges talked about was that of consistency when you are doing the job in an international setting. Many new teachers come in every year and there is a sense of “starting over” in terms of getting full teacher buy into the programs used. Lisa also discussed at length the issue of time. In a job that is not always well understood it can be difficult to manage her time and monitor and encourage the other teachers effectively. She also noted that admin support is a crucial element in the success of the job. When admin is supportive and helps to enforce the importance of the job it increases the chances for success greatly.


Lisa indicated how important it is to understand the people you work with, realizing not everyone comes with the same passion, interest, and often times they come with preconceived notions they cannot figure the technology out. This led her away from doing professional development that was example based, to workshops where teachers did hands-on activities. This ensured that there was always a takeaway, that teacher could use. Differentiation, she learned, is important when dealing with colleagues also.


The most common misconception people have about educational technology, according to Lisa, is that it is essentially the same job as an IT technician. Explaining to teachers her job doesn’t include fixing computers is a common occurrence each year.

A further misconception about tech that is often harder to manage than the belief technology shouldn’t be used is the belief technology should always be used and adds value in every instance. Truthfully one always has to evaluate every activity based on its merit and if the tech adds no value to the exercise then you need to upgrade the activity. For example putting a worksheet online into a form may be using technology but it’s still a worksheet and has the same value as it did on paper in terms of learning.

Mentorship, Involved, and Collaboration

I interviewed a colleague who is currently teaching Grade 4 and is in her fifth year of teaching, with two years in contract and three years as a Teacher on Call. The colleague is female and the interview took place after school in her classroom. She describes herself as “not a techy person.”
Teacher’s goal is to become a learning support teacher and approached our current learning support teachers with the observation about her class “I really think that half of it because I want to be a learning support teacher and so being in this classroom and seeing kids struggle.” It was the conversations with these colleagues that “It was conversations with our learning support teachers here at school to say how can I have these students who have really showed me nothing, and have no motivation, how can I have them show me that they understand fractions, or that they understand addition, or they understand multiplication, and having those conversations was really kind of pivotal, I think, okay I am going to do this.” She shows how having people to collaborate with gave her the confidence to try and implement technology to support her vulnerable learners. The second piece was that “they gave me easy ways to put it into practice, …, at first I was a little overwhelmed with including technology but they kind of broke it down and says this is how you could show their learning in this Math unit.” Having that peer face to face time the teacher identified as pivotal in her desire to try implementing technology into her classroom.

Teacher was able to access in school co-teaching this year to support integration of technology in her classroom. She comments that “I think that really helped, because I was even watching her to figure out what to do and how to make it work” and shows the value of allowing a safe place for teacher to be learner as well.

Teacher introduced two projects this term using iPad’s. The first one was to demonstrate their understanding of a math concept and the second was to complete a project in Science. She comments that “the kids just soared once they figured out how to use it, and then how to go further and above and beyond with it.” This idea of keeping students involved in the process was further enhanced when she shared the success of a student that was shy to present or talk in class. The student was able to share by “all they did was touch the button and I think that takes away a lot of their fear when they share with their class.” Finally, she talked about the varied levels of each students projects but “for other kids to see that’s where you can go, it was kind of neat.”

Interpretation, Personalization, Search

The interviewee is the Director of Technology Integration at an Independent school for students ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The interviewee has taught in a variety of schools both nationally and globally. The main points discussed focused on Interpretation, Personalization, and Search.

Interpretation of Data
The interviewee noted that when integrating technology into math and science, considering what applications to use to demonstrate data manipulation is a key factor. Within the disciplines of science and math using technology to analyze and present data in user-friendly ways can be better achieved through technology, ensuring that data is presented so that it can be interpreted correctly. In science, through the use of applications we can use these tools to allow students that ability to conduct activities that provide models, etc. that may not be available within the classrooms. As well, software allows students to develop their executive functioning skills, such as organization, when students learn to use tools that suit them best.

Personalization of Concepts
Within a global context, the personalization of content has evolved to be of importance within the last few years when it comes to compiling individual data that monitors students progress. Teachers are better able to use the data, or analytics of the students progress through a program, to than scaffold and personalize the lessons or areas a student needs to learn better/identify areas of weakness. Therefore, the data provided to the teacher gives the teacher a better indication of what is missing, such as low literacy, and then providing the teacher with the pathways needed to ensure the student can reach their goals. Providing a differentiated approach for individual students can be better achieved when educators use programs tailored to support the teaching and learning goals intended in science and math courses.

When considering what tools to use when integrating technology into a lesson plan can be overwhelming now that choice is endless, especially when companies are targeting to niche markets/areas of focus.Companies are now targeting their program towards a specific area; learning how to rank, evaluate and validate tools for a particular lesson is critical. For students, they also need to learn how to search, finding what they want, and evaluating if the source is valid. This goes for content and when deciding what tool to use. When educators know what their intended goal is for the students to achieve, they need to evaluate the right tools for the requirement. Using use cases or business cases is the way to achieve this. However, in terms of productivity, if this tool can be used across grades, there is better success for this tool to be used (adopted) and find success.

Search Part II
Students need to learn how to define, and redefine questions while searching. Developing computational thinking within students is important when determining what tool to use to find the information. Students need to learn how to code the computer (e.g. code, keywords, excel) in order to efficiently find the information they think they are looking for. Students often expect to log on and immediately find what they are told to find without thinking about the process of how they will best arrive at these answers without considering their plan of action first.

Different Styles, Support, Uses

Sorry about the late post. It was a little hard for me to find a colleague to interview as I don’t currently work in a school nor with teachers who teach Math, Science or at all, and those I knew who did so aren’t in Canada. But I did manage to get some perspectives from tutors I work with on weekends. 

I looked at asking them what they thought about using technologies in Math and Science classrooms, for teaching, for pedagogies, and difficulties.

Interviewee Sam, is a Secondary school teacher, who teaches full time at an International School. She teaches  International Students from all over the world English, Math, Science, and Psychology.  Below is a short abstract of her answers for each of the concepts I focused on.


  • Do you use technology in your Math and Science classes?
  • How do you implement or integrate technology into your classroom?
  • What are some new technologies that you would like to start using in your science and math classroom?

Sam found that she used technology in Science class more than she would in Math. She uses technologies like Powerpoint, Videos, Digital Documents, Cameras, and overhead projectors in her classrooms. Very simple and easy to use technologies to simplify uses. However, if given a chance she wouldn’t mind trying any program that would help her demonstrate concepts, for example, the Smartboard.

Different styles

  • Do you think that the students do better with the technologies integrated into your lessons?

Sam agrees that technologies do help with learning. It gives the teacher a chance to try different teaching pedagogies and allows her to help students learning in various methods.


  • Does your administration support technology integration in your school? Do you feel you need to be an expert to integrate technology into the classroom?
  • What are your biggest concerns when using technologies in the classroom to teach Math or Science?

Tech Support is important and crucial to the success of the implementation into classrooms. However, to Sam, though she knows that her school supports the use of technologies, she often thinks it’s a bit over her head. Her greatest concern is her lack of knowledge of the technology and feels that only experts can integrate technologies into the classroom.


Change in Thinking, Availability (and Plan B), Openness


Teacher A: Male, teaching Grade 8 (Math, Science, French) in a Middle School, has been teaching for 12 years. The interview took place after school in the Learning Commons of the Middle School.

3 summary key points:

Change in Thinking 

Teacher A believes that technology enhances the classroom and his teaching experience. However, “My students have access to the Internet which is full of information, not knowledge. They need to change their thinking to take the information and make it into something or apply it in some way”. Students are not longer looking for a right or wrong answer. His students are encouraged to take this information and change it into knowledge of some form. They would be able to communicate their understanding in a new dimension, or using different platforms to represent what they have learned.

Availability (and Plan B) – The Ugly Reality

 The physical availability of technology in our Middle School. With close to 1000 students, there is not enough technology to go around. Teacher A exhibits frustration with having planned an engaging lesson utilizing technology, only to find that the booking system glitched, another teacher taking the tech, or having to spend time running around our school to find the carts when they were not returned. Teacher A is also located in a portable that does not have a ramp, so students have to carry the tech in (often in the rain). Problems with Wi-Fi and teachers’ inability to problem-solve technical issues as much of it is controlled at the District level, and not the school level, also add to his frustration. If he had access to the technology, he could plan which Apps to use and ask students for their input as to which ones to use. Teacher A also expressed how tired he was of often having to organize a “Plan B” and preparing for worst-case scenarios – no tech.


Even with his current frustration with technology at school, Teacher A is still willing and open to try something new and incorporate technology in his classes. He enjoys the flexibility that technology allows, the opportunities for students to show their learning in different ways, and to learn and apply skills that “they will use more in the next 20 years”.



Adaptive, Misuse, Support

Interviewee J has been a teacher for close to 20 years in a mixture of Science and Math classes from the junior to senior levels. Interviewee D has been a teacher for 5 years, and has experience mostly in Physics and Mathematics at the senior level.

The interview was conducted over email, which allowed for asynchronous response and made the information easier to process by the interviewer.


The first of the three themes that I noticed with the two interviewees is their experience, or desire to use technology to adapt to different student needs in order to improve engagement and learning. J mentions using technology to show videos, run lab simulations, and the use of various quizzing websites such as Kahoot & Socrative. These different pieces of technology serve to create differentiated instruction to students. Using videos to demonstrate concepts allow students who are visually based learners to the optimal opportunity to learn, while quizzing websites allow for different forms of assessment that deviates from the traditional pencil and paper method.

D has experience with similar technology but discussed the need for more adaptive learning technology that can cater more to student needs.


Both interviewees discuss the lack of discipline on the students end when it came to doing productive work on devices. Both interviewees mentioned the need to police students to ensure that they are on task while given opportunity to work. D mentions the need for the school to create policies to control bandwidth or block undesired web traffic to prevent inappropriate use of technology.


Both teachers thought that the best way that a school or institute could provide support for teachers is to increase the number of professional development opportunities and to increase the monetary investment to class sets of equipment. Both interviewees also mentioned that the improving the resources and technology available to teachers will improve the teacher’s effectiveness to use technology in their pedagogy.

Engagement, Assessment, and Aid

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.

Value, Caution, and Support

I interviewed a colleague who has taught for seven years in several elementary grades. She currently teaches a Grade 3-4 split and, in recent years, has been an Inquiry-Based Learning teacher. We had sat down for a 20 minute conversation, which I transcribed after. The three words I would use to represent the themes of our conversation would be value, caution and support.


Much of the conversation focused on the interviewees belief in the benefits of technology with regards to learning. For example, she mentions that technology “provides a chance for kids to show their learning in a lot of ways. Without having to be great at fine motor, technology kind of provides a way to lift barriers and allows a lot more kids in, who may have challenges.” Overall, she appreciates the value that technology can add to learning, and the way it can facilitate a variety of meaningful experiences.


Although the interviewee is convinced of the benefits of technology, she integrates it with critical reflection and caution. She is highly aware of her own context and the young age of her students. She has developed opinions regarding the style of integration she seeks in her class in Math and Science. With her students, she defines the good use of technology to be “any technology that allows them to actively engage with learning. I think it’s best, especially in the early years, when learning has a physical and digital element. Effective technology use allows them to still have hands-on experiences and there is a danger going towards just using technology to show learning.” She continually reflects on the benefit of adding technology to an experience.


She communicates a desire to integrate a variety of new technologies in math and science but does not typically rely on institutional support to help her. She stated that it “mostly feels up to me. Most of what I have done was because of my interest in trying the technology. I’ve heard about it somewhere and just want to try it myself. I think we’re supported in that we get the freedom to try things in class, but I do not find the type of PD offered useful for me.” She has a developed notion of what she would need to help her achieve her goals; “I would say that peer driven PD, that is mixed group, that takes place alongside kids in an actual classroom would be helpful.”

Overall, her conception of good technology use with children connected with this quote from Clements (2002), “the computer offers unique opportunities for learning through exploration, creative problem solving, and self-guided instruction.” (p. 341) She looks for these unique opportunities and critically reflects on her experiences to inform her practice.

Clements, D., & Sarama, J. (2002). The Role of Technology in Early Childhood Learning. Teaching Children Mathematics, 8(6), 340-343. Retrieved from