Technology in class

Everybody in today's century are way to reliant on technology. I mean even now, we have to express our opinions online just to be heard properly, when we can easily say it during class while saving electricity. Sure technology has it's good side, it's entertaining and easy to use, but the old ways of teaching a class got you to be more social and friendly towards others and made you speak up and express your opinion strongly. This way you can discuss as a class your interests and any questions you have towards the specific topic. With a book for example, it would be hard to trust anything written by a bunch of year 10 students about a book they probably haven't even read, so why would we write a study guide about it? You would have to trust everything the writter says, where as when you learn by discussing it as a class you get more active and you get more out of the experience, by learning what other people have to say. Technology can be fun but once upon a time we lived without it and the world didnt come to a halting stop. We still lived and still are only now the new generations are becoming increasingly lazy and unhealthy, which technology plays a huge part of. Maybe we should just learn in the way that students want to, because everybody has such a different opinion about it. In my opinion, technology is fun but learning things from a qualified teacher may be better than from year 10 students online.
on  August 1, 2008  at  8:10 AM

Hi Tegan! I enjoyed reading your post and I agree with lots of your points. Certainly chalk and talk works and technology is not absolutely essential, but I have been blogging for a year and the kinds of people I have met and the conversations we have had have been much broader than anything I could have done in a classroom before. Lots of arguments to be thought about on this topic. bye
on  August 6, 2008  at  12:29 AM

Very interesting point of view Tegan. I must admit that I used to think like you do. In fact when I went to University it was like that, the qualified teacher knew everything and "taught" the students. But did they learn? When I became a teacher I realised that when I taught somebody something the person who was doing the most learning was me! I had to think about what I was saying. So I changed the way I taught. Now I think that if the students hace to create something for an audience, they will learn heaps more just from the process of thinking about it and finding words in which to express it. You better read the book before you write the study guide. That is the point of it. And if you write without thinking about what you write then what does it say about the students? I think if school is to be most valuable students will be creating the textbooks, because they can, and because it could be very good. And who says you can't have a strong discussion online?? You really got me fired up, didn't you :)
on  August 9, 2008  at  9:26 AM

the question is, ARE teachers qualified?
TJ Shay
on  August 12, 2008  at  7:07 AM

I am assuming from your writing that you would prefer a world with less technology. That is an interesting idea to consider. If we were to eliminate technology from school and rely only on great teachers like Mrs. McLeay, how would you be prepared for the world that happens after school? Would we also need to stop technology in business?
As to the power of listening to year 10 students... I live half a world away from you in the state of Iowa (United States) and I was interested in what you had to say...That might not have happened without technology (and the fact that you have a great teacher)!
Darren Kuropatwa
on  August 12, 2008  at  8:00 AM

Hi,
You packed a lot of ideas into that brief paragraph. I feel that each sentence deserves a bit of a conversation. I'll try to keep my comments to two points you made:
(1) "Sure technology has it's good side, it's entertaining and easy to use, but the old ways of teaching a class got you to be more social and friendly towards others and made you speak up and express your opinion strongly. This way you can discuss as a class your interests and any questions you have towards the specific topic."
and
(2) "With a book for example, it would be hard to trust anything written by a bunch of year 10 students about a book they probably haven't even read, so why would we write a study guide about it? You would have to trust everything the writter says, where as when you learn by discussing it as a class you get more active and you get more out of the experience, by learning what other people have to say."
In (1) you seem to say that using a blog makes for a less sociable class. It's better to have conversations face-to-face where you can argue your points more forcefully. Technology gets in the way of people connecting on a more personal level.
My experience with blogging in school has been quite the opposite. In many of my classes (we've used blogs here for a few years now) there are always these kids that don't speak up much. They're quiet. A little reserved. I remember one time when this girl spoke up for the first time in class and another student disagreed with her. She never spoke again.
It's been different on the blog. Everyone "speaks." Everyone's voice has the same volume and some interesting things have been happening. These quiet kids aren't quiet on the blog. They're quite clever actually. They have a lot to say and when they write it in the blog we end up talking about it in class the next day. We never used to hear from them and they've been going to school with some of the kids in the class since kindergarten.
In class, before blogs, no one spoke to them. Since we started using blogs in class, sometimes they lead the conversations we have because everyone walks into class in the morning asking: "Who's John? You? That was cool what you wrote on the blog last night."
John's made more friends with people in this class than he has in any class before.
I wonder how long you've been blogging in class? Has it been a while? Have you seen the opposite thing happen in your classes? If so, it seems strange that we have such different experiences. If not, give it some time and see how it plays out. You know, you and I would never be able to have this conversation if you only talked in class. Do you think there's any value added from this discussion?
About (2). You surprised me. I don't believe everything I read in books, the newspaper, or on the television. Do you? I'd guess you don't. I've seen the newspaper publish retractions when they make mistakes. And our math texts have new editions every year because they always have corrections for errors that were made when they were printed. It's easy for people to make mistakes. It's a lot harder to find them and correct them.
In my classes we have been learning how to check whether or not something is true. In class and online. There's lots of ways to do it. Here's a good article I found online that explains a little about how to check information online to see if it's reliable:
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/internet/teaching_zack.cfm
I could say a lot more about the value of learning from another student. Actually, the real juice is in the teaching; that's where the deep learning is.
Hope you have a good class the rest of your year.
Best wishes from Winnipeg, Canada.
Cheers,
Darren Kuropatwa
Dept. Head Mathematics
Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute
Kelli McGraw
on  August 12, 2008  at  9:21 AM

You've raised some interesting points!
I think you are right - the world did not come to a 'halting stop' before we had technology. But just think about all of the things that are easier to do now that we *do* have technology...this afternoon for example I needed to find a poem by Les Murray, so I just jumped online and searched for it. Before I would have had to wait until tomorrow and then try to find a library that had a copy, when I could be using that time more effectively.
I think that you are also right that the social aspect of classes is nice, and that's why online learning is not likely to ever REPLACE learning together in real life. But spare a thought for other students who are perhaps shy, or don't feel comfortable speaking in class - working online gives everyone a chance to have a chance to express their opinion :)
Keep up the interesting posts!
Skip Zalneraitis
on  August 12, 2008  at  10:00 AM

Hi-
However, if you simply shared your thoughts in class, it wouldn't be heard by someone in the USA. I appreciate your insights and your concern for the environment wholeheartedly.
Pat
on  August 12, 2008  at  11:28 AM

Learning from a qualified teacher is important but learning from peers/ colleagues are also important. Sometimes it is this exchange of ideas that stimulate more thought. It helps you see things from different perspectives that you or the teacher might not have thought of before. Great post! It had me thinking about this which I find great.
Cindy
on  August 12, 2008  at  1:50 PM

I found your post really fascinating! I love that you want to learn from your peers in class, from, I'm sure, a wonderful teacher. What's so interesting about technology tools is the ability to, not only, collaborate with your pals in class, but with people all over the world! Think about those books you think might not be read and maybe with the opinions and views of people in a different school or country, they WILL be read! Maybe hearing someone else's impressions will change you or enlighten you in ways you never thought!! Don't give up on the technology - just try to incorporate it with what you already do!
Laurie Fowler
on  August 12, 2008  at  3:42 PM

I understand your frustration with what you think is doing the teacher's work, but if you and your classmates do some of the work yourselves, you really will have a better understanding of the material. Maybe technology activities that were truly different not just an electronic version of an earlier assignment would be more appealing. I also think teachers should offer choices to students so that they don't always have to do a technology project if they don't want to. What kinds of technology projects would you be interested in doing? Or do you just prefer the status quo of classroom discussion and real world interaction? Just to get you thinking.
Mrs. P
on  August 12, 2008  at  4:23 PM

They say that the history books are written by the winners. What happen to the story of the losers?
Do you like to sit and receive information or go out and look for it. I like to get different points of view when I am trying to find out something. Your text book gives only one point of view.
Meg Griffin
on  August 12, 2008  at  4:41 PM

711294, I think you make some valid points. As a digital immigrant, born way before the digital age I often worry that I am using technology just to use it. But the value I see, that you may be missing, is the ability to connect with others way beyond the walls of a classroom. Certainly a lively in person discussion has great merit. However, a discussion on line can be extended to people you never would have otherwise been invomved with...such as me for example. What do you think?
Nancy Pratt
on  August 13, 2008  at  5:33 AM

Dear tegan,
Such an interesting post here. I am a teacher in Arizona, in the USA. I met your teacher at a conference in San Antonio this past summer. But we have been keeping in touch with technology. (Web 2.0) I learn so much from her, and really I have been learning lots from you and your classmates as well.
Why should you use technology for learning? Well, certainly there should always be a purpose to the focus. I mean, I am sure your teacher and other teachers who use technology in their teaching are working towards some sort of standards or important benchmarks for you to reach in terms of skills. But even more important that that, many times I wonder if you ever have every single person participating in your class discussions? You know? As a teacher, I know that some times my kids don't always feel comfortable talking-some are more shy than others. The use of technology gives them the opportunity to formulate a response in a thoughtful and timely manner.
I do know what you mean, though, about choice. My own two children are each different. My daughter(19) would make a movie using iMovie on a MAC any chance she could instead of doing any other kind of presentation. My son (17) would rather just do the quick paper than do any technology. So of course everyone is different. But what I find the most fascinating in your post is your last sentence about the qualified teacher. What an interesting and enlightened comment. Every student deserves an excellent and highly qualified teacher who wants to be there, and is interested in the engagement and learning of her students. Very insightful.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keep up the great expression of yourself.

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