Technology in the Classroom

I ran across an interesting blog post by Leah at Tech in the Class. She sets out to build a justification for the use of technology in education. I especially found the research findings at the end of the post to be intriguing. See what you think….

Technology in the Classroom

There have been several people who have asked me “What does technology in the classroom really offer? Don’t most teachers just use technology in the classroom as a means to entertain and or stay in touch with their audience?!” Ok, so, sure I have my biases (technology in the classroom is not a trend, nor is it simply a good thing to do for efficiency reasons, it’s a must because it provides students tools to problem solve, critical think, learn more in depth, do more effective research, express their creativity, provide them access to a greater spectrum of information and knowledge, get them involved in the international community, etc.), but a recent article in the USA Today outlined the exact reasons why technology is needed in classrooms. The article reported several detrimental issues found in elementary schools that I believe can potentially be solved by integrating a few educational technologies. For example, here are a few quotes from the article, where I feel, had the schools/ teachers been using (or had access to technology) the learning environments and teaching performances would have been more effective: “The typical child in the USA stands only a one-in-14 chance of having a consistently rich, supportive elementary school experience … they found just as many signs that classrooms can be dull, bleak places where kids don’t get a lot of teacher feedback or face time… Fifth-graders spent 91.2% of class time in their seats listening to a teacher or working alone, and only 7% working in small groups, which foster social skills and critical thinking. Findings were similar in first and third grades… In fifth grade, 62% of instructional time was in literacy or math; only 24% was devoted to social studies or science… About one in seven (14%) kids had a consistently high-quality “instructional climate” all three years studied. Most classrooms had a fairly healthy “emotional climate,” but only 7% of students consistently had classrooms high in both. There was no difference between public and private schools.” If you don’t know how, or don’t believe how technology can rectify any of these issues please contact me – I would be more than pleased to talk to you about the detriments of only teaching “Reading, Writing, and basic Math” sans technology.

Tech in the Class

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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

3 thoughts on “Technology in the Classroom”

  1. There is more to technology than just computers. And students can do group work on computers. I am shocked at the numbers provided because where I teach we are pretty much forced to do group work most of the time. My only issue with that is that the standardized tests are done in groups, but I digress. More and more jobs require knowledge of basic computer skills and with funding getting cut smaller each year, the kids are not adequately getting it at school without determined teachers to make technology a priority in their classroom. The fact of the matter is that teachers cannot go to the kids’ homes and take the game controlers out of their hands. Believe me- I would love to. But we have to do the best that we can with what we are given. If the parents allow students to be overstimulated all day at home then we as teachers have to create engaging lesson plans frequently involving technology. It has become a game of survival in the classroom and right now the Chinese are winning.

  2. While I am not opposed to integrating technology into the classroom, I do have a hard time understanding how technology will rectify the situation described in the USA Today article. The quotes included in the original blog indicate that students are not getting enough face time with their teacher or their classmates. It seems that classes have become lecture based and, as a result, the emotional climate has suffered. If this is the case I do not see how turning kids toward computer screens will solve the problem. Instead, I would suggest the opposite: children must decrease the amount of time they spend playing computer and video games and instead interact, face-to-face, with kids their own age. I think that using more technology to “solve” a situation like this would be the worst solution. Instead, teachers need to physically provide children with the rich, supportive environment they deserve to find in school.

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