(Professional Development Project)
I was at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School which is a PreK-8 school. I was in Mrs. Farley's technology class.
Boy, was I wrong! It was VERY interesting to be there while they were completing state testing. The teacher and I had a long discussion about state testing. She told me about how strict everything has to be. No one is allowed to see the test prior to the students taking it. Not even the teachers. So really they are just guessing what to teach their students to study. In addition, the students' passwords and usernames have to be locked away in a safe so that it diminishes the possibility of someone getting in to the test. Also, when the students are taking the test there are very strict restrictions on what the teachers supervising the test can and cannot do. For example, if a student does not know what a word is the teacher can not even say it for them. Also, if the student was having trouble navigating the exam, the teacher cannot even tough the mouse. It was crazy to me how many rules there were! But I guess it was necessary since there are definitely teachers that are cheating for their students, but that is a whole other thing!!
This hour was in the afternoon and some older students came in for their engineering CE, which is basically their elective. It is for 7th and 8th graders at that school. This was also a very interesting thing, because they were doing stuff that just blew my mind! The teacher told me that they were doing super advanced things. The assignment they were working on was to take a piece of a car (for example, someone was doing a steering wheel and another student was doing a shift control) and then create at it computerized using a program. It was amazing! As the students were showing me their progress, I was amazed! I was also amazed that there were so many girls in the class. The teacher said that this class is something the school is really trying to focus on and enhance STEM in the classroom. Below I have embedded a link that the students use in that class.
2. Did students appear to be more or less engaged in a lesson content using technology? YES! I noticed that the students were having a lot of fun doing school work when they got to use the computers to do it. I think this is because a lot of times people are always telling them to get off the iPad or computer, but in their technology class, the teacher is telling them all the good aspects of technology.
3. What was the teacher doing while the students were using technology? The teacher did an excellent job of walking around as opposed to just sitting back down at her computer desk. The students would raise their hand and she was already up and ready to help them.
4. What pros and cons did you observe related to the use of technology in the classroom? A definite pro was that the students were super excited to have their own computer and use it. A con that kind of goes along with that is that the students got kind of rowdy since it was not their usual classroom setting.
Questions I Asked The Teacher & Her Responses
2. What are the disadvantages for student use of technology? "Students are overstimulated. If they are at home on their tablets and then come to school and use desktops, that can be a little too much for them. In addition, while the students are gaining knowledge in technology, we have seen a trend of other things being not as focused on, like proper manners and things like that."
3. What is your favorite classroom technology and why? "Personally, I like Promethean Boards. They are basically like a Smart Board but instead of it being a big board, it is just a projection that you can do all the same things as a Smart Board. In addition, they are a lot less expensive."
Take-Aways From My Experience
- A technology class teaches more than just typing and word processing.
- Technology class is extremely different than when I was in school.
- I have full respect for teacher that are tech-saavy enough to teach technology.
- I hope that when I have my own classroom, I use the technology provided to me as much as possible.
- I realized that I will have to make an effort to stay up-to-date with all current technology throughout my career as a teacher.
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- 7 in 10 teachers said that technology in their classroom allows them to "do so much more than ever before for their students.