Since teaching has been a profession, the goal of teaching has been to equip students with the knowledge they need in order to be successful in the path they choose to take. Throughout the years of education, the methods and tools used to equip students with knowledge has evolved substantially. Recently, one of the tools that have helped shape student understanding has been technology. Technology has allowed teachers to teach more efficiently, differentiate lessons, and provide interactive resources for delivering engaging lessons. Technology allows students to get a tailored education through the use of adaptive learning software, while providing the teacher with instant feedback on the student’s strengths and weaknesses.
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2005) states “It is incomprehensible that anyone today would argue that banks, hospitals, or any industry should use less technology”, yet many teachers today argue they already get high results by not using technology. I would find it interesting to see how much better the results would be if effective technology was integrated into their lessons. For me, integrating technology into my classroom has never been a question. I have always desired to use the latest and greatest tools to make my instruction as effective as possible and serve my students to the best of my ability. To me, not using technology would be equivalent to me teaching with one hand behind my back. I can’t imagine not taking advantage of the resources that are available.
Before I integrate a piece of technology into my lessons, I first take the time to decide if the piece of technology is relevant and will be a help to my students. Far too many teachers and schools go for the latest trendy device or product without first making sure the device or product improves instruction. Francie Diep (2013) explains how many school district purchase expensive devices and software and use them in a “dumb” way. For example, a school district may implement a 1-1 iPad program and have students complete static worksheets on the devices. If teachers and school districts do not use the devices to push the learning process and rigor beyond what can be achieved without technology, then the point is lost. When I use a piece of technology, I make sure that the technology is going to take my students learning process to a level that I could not achieve any way else. Last year, I used Khan Academy in my classroom to differentiate student learning. Students entered my “Coach ID” into Khan Academy and I could track their progress through various mathematical lessons. I could quickly see at a glance which students were struggling with a particular concept. If a student needed more time to complete and understand a lesson, they could do so without feeling rushed or pressured. Students who excelled at a particular lesson could move on without being held back. Khan Academy allowed me to differentiate my instruction in a way that would have been impossible for me to achieve without technology.
Roman Sahakov (2014) discusses that technology can make it much easier for a student to cheat than ever before. While I agree that technology does provide an ease to cheating with traditional education, I believe that teachers can construct their classrooms to prohibit this cheating. For example, Wolfram Alpha would allow students to easily copy and paste a order of operations practice problem and show them the answer, however if the problem was presented as a read-world situation it would be much more difficult. The system would not be able to understand a question that was phrased in words and required the student to use critical thinking skills to answer the question. Conrad Wolfram (2010) points out that teachers should strive to teach real math with computers. He believes that computers can have a huge impact to student understanding and allow students to make greater strides to actual problem solving that being stuck at drill and kill problems. I believe many educators need to start viewing technology as a tool to achieve a greater understanding rather than a tool to accomplish the status quo.
In conclusion, I will continue to use technology in my classroom that provides students with new and better ways of learning than with traditional approaches. As new technology becomes available I will make sure I analyze it before I implement. Technology, when used correctly can provide a gateway to understanding and equip students with the skills they will need to be successful in their career.
(2005). Technology: A Catalyst for Teaching and Learning in the … Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te600.htm.
(2013). U.S. Schools Are Dumb About Their Smart Devices, Report … Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-06/us-schools-are-stupid-about-their-smart-new-devices-report-finds.
(2014). 2 Pros And 2 Cons To Education Technology « Educational … Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://people.uis.edu/rschr1/et/?p=8858.
(2014). Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with … – TED.com. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_math_with_computers.