Tuesday, February 21, 2017
In this day and age, technology is everywhere. It’s become such a crucial part of everyday life, from simple entertainment in the form of YouTube to extremely complex computer programming to run factories. Technology plays such a prominent role in the rest of the world, so why doesn’t it play that big of a part in school?
I see technology every day in my school in lots of small ways. We have electronic boards and computers, but they are often used as fancier chalkboards and notebooks. The most successful technology integrations that I’ve seen have shared certain aspects. They were all just as much about the technology as the actual content, they had real-world results, and they were a creative outlet that provided room for variation. When technology integration is done properly, it is very engaging for students, because not only are they comfortable with the technology, but they also have a lot of freedom to explore.
In one of my classes this year, for example, we’ve been actively creating a website throughout the entire school year, acting like a business. There are multiple departments with different jobs to simulate a working environment. This class follows all of those rules I listed. Because the class is mostly discussing, the website is just as important to learning as the actual content. The technology and content are hand in hand. The real-world results come in the form of the website, which is a real website that can be checked out by anyone. The website also allows us to customize its looks and content, which has been giving students lots of control which results in having to be creative. There’s even a contest each week to see who can be the most innovative. That class ties in technology perfectly. It teaches real-life technology skills that students will use in the future while maintaining a creative feel that engages kids.
Although Susan Ohanian wasn’t given much access to technology when she taught, she incorporated what she had well. She had a writer’s workshop that students would visit to write on typewriters, which was a rare privilege for the students that could potentially teach them how to type for future jobs. The students could type about whatever they chose to, which really inspired a lot of students to the point where they wanted to go to the writer’s workshop. At the end, they were given the opportunity to write an anthology that parents could buy. Having a goal at the end gives a lot of students a drive to work hard, which is why it’s good to include real-world results. Even Ohanian was surprised at how engaged her students were, recognizing “the marvel of a student initiating a conversation that is even vaguely curriculum-orientated and doesn’t include one of the two phrase: “Do I have to?” and “This sucks.” (Caught in the Middle, 2001)
Technology integration is very important to have in a classroom, not only because it engages all students, but also to give the students experience with the technology that will be helpful to them later in their lives. Technology is best incorporated into the classroom when there are real-world results, room to be creative, and valuable technology skills. Technology skills are very important in today’s world, so I’d be honored if teachers could use my method to create their own unique, engaging projects that open up a student’s world.
Ohanian, Susan. Caught in the Middle: Nonstandard Kids and a Killing Curriculum. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001. Print.