My Other Pages

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Can technology transform and strengthen learning?

I started a new job this fall as a department chair and teacher in a suburban Connecticut high school. Along with that assignment, I inherited three courses in our Digital Academy. The students who participate in the academy have a good command of infusing an array of technologies to support their learning. The district encourages BYOT (bring your own technology). This much debated topic seems to work well here.

The approach is referred to as Blended Learning. Blended learning is a philosophy and style of teaching that aims to improve the acquisition of knowledge through integrating technology with the curriculum. It takes the learners on a journey outside of the school's concrete walls to expand their world. It connects students in new ways and opens diverse perspectives to broaden their experiences. One of my students who is working on her senior project has a sister studying in Madrid. The siblings have a designated time to video-chat each week. I allow this to happen in school with one condition. The sisters must conduct part of their discussion in Spanish in the Spanish II classroom . The sister in Madrid often has her Spanish friends interact and chat as well. This would be difficult to replicate without technology.


This fall has been filled with new learning for me, most of it lead by the students. They share shortcuts, websites, and alternate technologies that help them in the courses. This is an exciting year.

I subscribe to many educational blogs and networks, most of them are authored by teachers. To get alternative points of view, I asked my students to share their thoughts, perspectives and insights on technology and how it applies to their learning-in school and out. They are the ones driving how educators develop innovative pedagogies and synthesize new tools for the classroom.

Check back for their responses.

4 comments:

  1. - Kristina, Grade 11October 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Technology is so critical to today's society. People talk so much about technology today that it is insane to think how life would be without it. Without computers, I would not be able to be typing this response or be able to listen to my iPod while doing it. It is especially important in a school setting. Teachers and students use technology for so many projects and homework assignments. Technology definitely helps though. In English, we are starting a opposing viewpoints essay. I used http://www.procon.org/ to help me find a topic to use. Without the internet, I would have to use other sources, like books. Not that books are not useful, its just using technology makes looking for information more convenient.
    Technology also helps students unable to learn through note taking or if a average-classroom setting just doesn't help. There are online high school classes and,like the program we are in, deals with a technology-based classroom setting. We have one student that has issues with writing so he uses a laptop for his classwork. It is a really advantage that he has this ability to use technologically to help him in school.
    Despite school needing, not even a question if technology needed in school, this 21st century advantage, the world needs it as well. Skype, for example, is a big advantage for far away friends and family. Technology is just a natural advantage to the world that increases everyday. Education grows from the technology strives that are made as well.

    - Kristina, Grade 11

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. - Kristina, Grade 11October 18, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Here are my two links:

      http://www.cosn.org/default.aspx

      http://www.cso.nato.int/

      Delete
  2. Technology is ever present in our world today. It is the basis of our culture. Practically every piece of information man has ever known is located on the internet, the business world is centered around the computer industry. Shopping has been made simple, anything you could possibly want to buy, you could buy on the internet. The telephone is no longer a device that you talk into anymore, it is now a nexus of data, human interaction, entertainment, information, and alike. Every part of our world has been touched by the wave of new age technological advances. This includes education, where computers are replacing books, pen and paper, typewriters, magazines, newspapers, and even in some extreme cases, teachers. The ability to learn has never been more self guided than it is today. Students have the ability to find any fact or statistic within a few simple keystrokes. College courses can be talken from within your own home over the internet. Seminars can be taught from miles and miles away, assignments can be submitted at a split second. Technology has become essential to our education system, it is the worlds biggest market. Students no longer take notes by hand. They type their notes while recording classes so they can go back and listen again, art classes now have units that focus on photo manipulation, 3D design. App design students can make the top selling app on iTunes before they are even out of high school. Technology is ever important to education, it has changed education forever.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A form of technology that is useful to me as a student would be my smart device and/or laptop. These help me to look up information that I do not know and can only access through the world wide web. Having students be able to have the ability to search something when ever they do not know something is a huge deal as it helps them with their research skills and doing things on their own. Having our own devices to use during class is much more sophisticated then having the teacher lecture us on a topic that would be better explained through what students learn on their own.
    A hard part with students using their own technology would be the teacher having the impression that they are using their phone for social networks. I can admit that we as students do use out smart devices to communicate with our friends. But, having our own technology to turn to when in help would be beneficial to all. The teacher could also just tell us nicely to put them away. Also not trying to be rude but some teachers have difficultly with learning how to use different works of technology and having students who use their phones and laptops everyday would be able to help.
    One website that I feel that would be helpful for students is: http://www.cso.nato.int/
    -This would be helpful because it shows organization and different activities that students could participate in.
    Another website that would be helpful for students would be: http://www.cosn.org/default.aspx
    -This would be helpful because it shows students resources and activities that they could use to help them in their academic studies
    A website that I would recommend for students and teachers for a spanish class would be: www.studyspanish.com
    Emily, Grade 11

    ReplyDelete