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Engage Students using techIs technology helping us to engage students or is it taking...

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yadimata | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 15, 2009 at 12:48 PM via web

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Engage Students using tech

Is technology helping us to engage students or is it taking us awayfrom real teaching? 

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 15, 2009 at 4:24 PM (Answer #2)

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A poor teacher can use technology to avoid some teaching. A good teacher uses all the tools at his or her disposal to engage students and reinforce learning. It depends, like everything else, on the abilities and motivations of the teachers. I've seen some amazing teaching using Smartboard technology, which allows incorporation of pictures to reinforce the lesson. The whole lesson can also be saved, so that if a student is absent they can see a lot of what was taught that day.

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stmcgee | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 15, 2009 at 4:36 PM (Answer #3)

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Students who are just using computers to word process are not as engaged as students who are using the computer to do research. For example, if a student has read a story about the rain-forest in reading, and the teacher can help the student become more engaged by having them go to trusted sites,to look up more information about the rain-forest.  Students can then take that information and create a power point to share the new information that they learned with classmates. They have learned beyond what is in the original text, becoming "experts" on the topic.  I have seen this used with younger grades successfully.  The students are excited for the experience and anxious to share what they have learned.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 15, 2009 at 5:09 PM (Answer #4)

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I guess it depends what "real teaching" is.  I guess we should define technology first.  I always found the following "definition" interesting and helpful:  "technology is anything invented after we are born."  We hardly consider some of the great technological breakthroughs of our era as "technology":  the automobile, the airplane, the refrigerator --- these were all (and probably still are) technology when they were developed/invented.  Even the calculator, once a great technology breakthrough, is now considered a commodity and is allowed in many classrooms to do the drudgry of arithmetic, hopefully freeing students to work on mathematics.

In the world of writing, the pen/pencil was once a vast technological improvement over the chisel and stone (very early technology).  Better pens/paper made writing easier, the the typewriter (another great technology) made it easier, and the computer as word processor made it still easier.  None of these things necessarily made writing any BETTER, just EASIER (if you can get past the initial writer's block).

 

Back to "real teaching."  If we have clear outcomes for our instruction, and if technology offers us a tool that makes reaching the outcomes easier, then it certainly can help.  When it is used as a tool just for itself, with no relationship to our outcomes, then it can get in the way of learning.

I have spent a lot of time researching whether Word processors, and specifically their spelling/grammar checking functions, can help students improve their writing.  I am certain they can, but ONLY if the instructor is willing to serve as a coach rather than a judge, and if we are willing to allow students to write about things they really care about.

So I guess my answer would be that technology certain can engage students and help them learn, but not because it is technology, but because of how it is used.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 15, 2009 at 5:24 PM (Answer #5)

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Students who are taught to navigate the internet and other technology will be further ahead than those who do not know about blogs, chat rooms, and other advances.  Our world is becoming increasingly more technological and jobs we haven't even imagined yet will be the result.  These students will be more prepared for that future.

In that respect, teaching is going on regardless.  I agree with #2, though.  There are many poor teachers who take up time in the computer labs and showing movies rather than truly preparing adequate lesson plans.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted March 5, 2009 at 1:30 PM (Answer #6)

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I once was a very "old-school" teacher myself. Books, paper, pencil/pen, and occasional project work made up the staples of my teaching career. Since my teaching infancy, however, I have discovered that technology engages students far more readily than repetitive lectures, open-book review questions, and the similar trademarks of a bygone instructional era. Yes, there is still a time and a place for the more traditional teaching methods to take place, but certainly those need to be supplemented by positive experiences with technology.

Many of my peers now have Smartboard technology in their classrooms, and they love it. I am still relying upon the good ol' laptop-projector setup, but I am able to implement plenty of technology just using that. As an example, my students for each class have a daily agenda. Rather than hand-writing out the whole class schedule for the day using the typical dry erase board, I have one PowerPoint file entitled "agendas," which I simply alter at the beginning of every school day, including a new journal topic and the different activities for that period. As each class filters in, they have their daily tasks on the board ready and waiting for them. The studetns are used to this practice, and the procedural aspect of it maximizes efficiency. The setup allows me more time for planning and teaching, and it keeps the kids on track. I still use the whiteboard itself, but mostly for expanded activities like graphic organizers (I also do these from the laptop, depending on the subject).

I guess the big picture here is, yes, technology helps us reach students with greater relevance when used proficiently. One veteran English teacher I know is busy figuring out how to implement things like YouTube into the classroom, and she's been teaching more than 30 years. So, for those teachers who think of themselves as too old or too set in their routine, it's never too late to adapt new practices. It just requires some effort. End of sermon. 

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tonybirch | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 15, 2009 at 12:48 AM (Answer #7)

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A poor teacher can use technology to avoid some teaching. A good teacher uses all the tools at his or her disposal to engage students and reinforce learning. It depends, like everything else, on the abilities and motivations of the teachers. I've seen some amazing teaching using Smartboard technology, which allows incorporation of pictures to reinforce the lesson. The whole lesson can also be saved, so that if a student is absent they can see a lot of what was taught that day.

Your approach is true 'blended' or 'woven' learning. We use a mixture of methods to help students learn - technology now for kids who have grown up with computers is a given. In my teaching I use VLE, mobile devices, PBL and traditional F2F approaches to give the 'blended' approach that stimulates and inspires.

Not sure if this applies to all kids anywhere in the world now, but kids in the UK get bored much quicker than in the past and need to have the mixed approach to keep them engaged and as such teachers need to constanlty review their practice to maintain the qulaity of the learning experience.

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drgingerbear | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 16, 2009 at 11:16 AM (Answer #8)

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Engage Students using tech

Is technology helping us to engage students or is it taking us awayfrom real teaching? 

The answer is... it depends! Research reveals that students who are engaged in technology report being more interested in learning that when the material is presented in a lecture format. Today's students are digital natives... they cut their teeth on computers and technology. It is woven into their everyday lives. However, some teachers believe that every lesson must have an element of technology in order for the lesson to "work". The recent research shows that technology should be used in the classroom when it naturally fits the lesson. It should not be forced. Perhaps this is why many teachers feel that technology "keeps real teaching away". Some teachers do use technology as a means of "babysitting" students, but there are truly brilliant, authentic lessons using technology where students learn far more than when the material is just delivered via lecture.

Due to links that change often, I am not providing specific studies. However this is an excellent journal that focuses on the pros and cons of teaching with technology:

Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 16, 2009 at 11:52 AM (Answer #9)

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If we take Veblen's views on technological determinism, we are awarding more power to the technology than to the manpower.   If we take Alvin Toffler's views of futurism as the acceptance of technology as an everyday resource, you will teach accordingly.

The fact that technology is here to stay, expand and develop at a maximum rate tells you one thing: THAT is the real teaching. Hence, from now on we cannot separate technology from education. Instead, we need to bring the two together in every aspect possible precisely because of the shift of lifestyles and mentality that is going to continue to occur from now on.

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mindysue | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 21, 2009 at 3:17 PM (Answer #10)

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The biggest hurdle will be getting techers educated as to WHAT to do with their class!  Most of us born in the 1970's did not grow up with computers so we have to be self-educated.  Technology chnages so fast, it is difficult to keep up. Teachers are going to have to invest their own time to get themselves competent to present their curriculum using the new tools of technology.  Unfortunately, with budget cuts, salary cuts and increased class-size (Increased work load), it will take a very committed teacher to go out and get themselves trained on their own time!

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 22, 2009 at 2:10 AM (Answer #11)

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Technology is just another tool that a creative teacher can use to reach students. It is not good or bad in and of itself. In the right hands, technology in the classroom is perhaps the most effective means to reach students since it has become the primary learning mode for most of them. Two elements of technology make it especially effective in teaching--graphics and hands-on engagement. Kids are programmed now to respond to pictures more than words, and they learn more by doing than by listening. "Real teaching" isn't defined by traditional methods. Real teaching is effective instruction that promotes learning and growth--using whatever methods work best to achieve particular objectives.

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djmccormick | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 25, 2009 at 1:58 PM (Answer #12)

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I have just finished reading the posts on this discussions.  There are some interesting views, opinions, and experiences.  From my perspective technology cannot be separated from teaching.  Even if technology is not being used in our classroom I assure you that students most everywhere are using technology to their benefit.  I think it is part of job as teachers to assist students in obtaining the greatest benefit from available technologies.  In a time my budget constraints and staff reductions are causing an increase in the our workload it is to our benefit to investigate and assess any technology that may used in the teaching/learning environment.  A technology that has reduces some of my workload and assisted student in keeping up with assignments is the social networking framework. I have social network classroom setup on Ning.  Class agendas, assignments, notes and even videos can be post so that students who are not present for class have access to the same information as students in class.

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ladrigan | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 9, 2010 at 6:33 AM (Answer #13)

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Technology is just another tool that a creative teacher can use to reach students. It is not good or bad in and of itself. In the right hands, technology in the classroom is perhaps the most effective means to reach students since it has become the primary learning mode for most of them. Two elements of technology make it especially effective in teaching--graphics and hands-on engagement. Kids are programmed now to respond to pictures more than words, and they learn more by doing than by listening. "Real teaching" isn't defined by traditional methods. Real teaching is effective instruction that promotes learning and growth--using whatever methods work best to achieve particular objectives.

I totally agree!  There is nothing more engaging them placing a computer in a student's hand!  We must be careful, however, that we are not losing the element of face-to-face interaction. It is so easy to respond without the immediate interaction.  Student need to be able to respond in an interactive face-to-face situation.  Many jobs now include SKYPE as a way to communicate over long distances without the hassle of written "chat" or e-mail. In the future students will need to use all levels of communication in their jobs many which include all levels of technology.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 19, 2010 at 8:13 AM (Answer #14)

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One of the other interesting questions that comes up with the increasing entrance of computers and other technology into the classroom is the purpose of some of what we always considered important.  Do we still teach students to do math that can almost always be done by even the simplest calculators?  Personally I think there is a great deal of utility to knowing arithmetic and basic algebra, but at what point do we tell kids that they have to keep learning and working to understand things that they know their computers could do easily and far more quickly than they can?

Having seen a school that now provides laptops for all its students, there are a great deal of questions about what role they serve in the classroom and how best to utilize them.  Do we still expect students to memorize answers for a history test when they can simply look them up on the computer?  Again, my personal opinion is that knowing history is absolutely invaluable, but I still think the question is a valuable one.

I am also somewhat concerned that the default answer to many things appears to be that more technology is always better.  I think this is likely a very dangerous attitude and a more skeptical approach would be healthier to technology in the classroom.

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hala718 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 19, 2010 at 1:34 PM (Answer #15)

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I absolutely do not think that technology can take us from education. However, the way we use technology in the classrooms matters the most.

Technology is supposed to be a tool for learning just like any other tool. We use it to enhance learning. However, introducing technology in the clasroom as a topic should not be our goal. For example, we teach students how to use excel program because we need them to use it in some subjects like statistics. Here we have utilized Excel to enhance teaching a math topic.

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