What I am about to say would seem like a fairly obvious problem with the use of technology in the classroom, but seeing as how I witness it on a daily basis at the undergraduate level, I can only imagine that the problem spreads to every classroom below.
Too often do teachers use power points, slides, videos, etc as an excuse for them to sit idly behind their desk and convince themselves that they are still fulfilling their role as an educator. How can a student be expected to be engaged if the person who is suppose to be presenting the information approaches his/her role with complacency? When I am excited about a particular subject, it changes the dynamic of learning from being told to learn something to wanting to learn something. It no longer feels like just a workload the teacher is assigning, but rather something I am genuinely interested in. Nothing helps this process better than having a teacher who is honestly excited about what they are teaching. You can tell when a teacher isn’t enthusiastic, and that apathy circulates the classroom infecting the students.
The solution is a simple one. Be engaged and enthusiastic about what you as an educator are presenting. Here are two examples of technology in the college classroom and how one teacher is misusing it and how another uses it to improve the learning environment.
One of my professors walks into class, loads his power point presentation, and takes a seat behind his desk. He flips through the slides reading them verbatim for every chapter between tests. Now these slides are the same ones that are posted online that students can read themselves in ten minutes. There is no incentive to go to class to learn any of the material. Another of my professors has a much larger class, which would make it easier for him to be complacent and just run through some slides. However, his slides are simply bulleted highlights which he expounds with graphic illustrations and current news events. Also, about once a week all the students meet online (through Aplia.com) and perform economic experiments where everyone in class represents a free market. Upon returning to class we discuss the results of our online experiments and then apply them to the material we’ve been covering in class.
To wrap up, it’s simple; be a proactive educator. Complacency is an educational roadblock. Before you blame students for not being eager to learn, take a step back and make sure your attitude and performance is being presented in the right fashion. The easiest way to get students encouraged to perform well is for them to see their teacher excited about the information he/she is teaching.