Classroom Observations

The Independent School - Ms. Hadley and Ms. Schmitz

Ms. Hadley is a third grade teacher. I was able to observe her using an iPad to instruct and then letting her students use their iPads as well.

Ms. Schmitz is a technology resource teacher. She is there if the classroom teachers have questions, shows them applications that they can use in their classrooms, and helps them combine technology with their lesson plans. She took me on a tour of all the different grade levels.

Types of Technology Used by the Students

The students used laptops, desk top computers, and Apple iPads. Each classroom has access to this technology as well as a library that has computers available for use.

Student Engagement

I think students were far more engaged when they had access to the technology and were able to use it for assignments. They seemed more eager and more excited.

For the younger students, they mostly played academic games. I really enjoyed that the computer use was seen as a reward system. Once a student was done with their book work, they were able to access educational games while they waited for the next activity.

For older students, they were allowed more freedom in what they searched and were able to accomplish.

Teaching with Technology

Ms. Hadley used her iPad that was linked to her overhead projector. She was able to walk around the classroom, monitor, and better engage students while still having access to the technology and applications she wanted to use.

In the 5th grade class, the teacher was not using technology at the same time as the students. Instead, the teacher was helping them complete their computer assignments and answering any questions they had. The 5th grade class was working on digital scrapbooks!

Some teachers used the technology as timers that students could see so they knew when to be done with a task.

Pros and Cons

Pros: I really loved that the students were so excited and happy to use the technology. I think it is a great way to get them all involved. It made it a very special assignment when they were able to bring out their iPads and work. I also think it very beneficial to introduce students to technology at such a young age because we live in a digital age. Ms. Schmitz made it very clear that they teach students how a computer works, the parts of a computer, and about cyber safety and cyber bullying as part of the technology curriculum.

Cons: I think there are more cons for the older students rather than the younger students. Older students have more freedom in what they can access therefore they tend to goof off a little bit more or may not focus on the assignments they are supposed to. Also, giving them access at this age does expose them to much more than they normally would.

For the younger students, I think classroom time is a bigger con than them actually using the technology. Teachers would have to build in extra time to teach students the basics of computer use. However, it is still a very important thing for students to learn.

Interview Questions

What are the benefits to students using technology in the classroom?

Most of the teachers I asked agreed that the biggest benefit to students using technology is that they are more motivated and engaged to learn. Students feel like they get to have fun while learning!

What are the disadvantages for student use of technology?

Again, most of the teachers I asked agreed that the biggest disadvantage for students using technology is the time it takes away from the learning. There are many technology issues that pop up and need fixed, having students access the same materials, and making sure that students are on task and doing what they are supposed to be focused on.

What is your favorite classroom technology? Why?

Ms. Hadley said that her favorite classroom technology is the iPad. This is because it is smaller, more manageable, and has the basic applications that her students can access. She also loves the variety of apps that are available.

Ms. Schmitz said that her favorite classroom technology would be a computer or laptop. This is because there is so much more available to use on a computer than there is on an iPad or tablet.