Technology in the Classroom

ED222 - Kathleen Powers

5-Hour Field Expereince

My observation of technology in the classroom this semester has been, fortunately for me, varied between a number of elementary schools, middle school and range of grade levels. I am actively substitute teaching in the town that I live in, McPherson, KS. I have also been working closely with my cooperating teacher for this assignment and asking her questions, bouncing around ideas and thoughts, and getting her advice and insight about using technology in the 5th grade.

Types of Technology Used in the Classroom

Students were more engaged with the technology devices they were using when working independently, especially if they wore headphones to minimize distracting background noises. If a student had an assignment or application to work on they generally stayed on task, however, when freely "researching" , they commonly got off task and ended up randomly surfing the internet. They would easily get off task when neighboring students were disruptive. When working on teacher facilitated activities, students seemed to engage in a positive manner with the technology being used.

Teacher Activity

When students were using technology, the teacher usually helped trouble shoot IT issues, logged students onto the device or application they were trying to use, or supervised on-screen content by roaming the room.

Classroom Techonolgy: Pros & Cons

Pros:
  • abundance of academic material and most up-to-date material
  • programs are user-friendly and easy to learn and use
  • can make lessons more interactive and flexible for different types of learners
  • additional way to connect and communicate with students (and parents)

Cons:
  • not enough devices (iPad's or iPod's generally) for every student
  • internet access not always fast enough to support applications
  • programs not always reliable; can "glitch" during a lesson
  • online information is not always accurate or credible

Benefits to students using technology in the classroom:

  • Helps students acquire skills they are going to need and use in the real world (technology is everywhere)
  • Helps students learn how to collect, analysis and organize information
  • Connects students with additional learning resources: interview experts, virtual field trips, international "show & tell" exchanges, modeling and experiment opportunities
  • Provides a tool for peers to collaborate on projects and communicate efficiently

Disadvantages to students using technology in the classroom:

  • Expensive: initial purchases, plus upkeep, maintenance and support staff, training, updates, additional electricity costs, repairs...
  • Unreliable: connectivity can be slow or not work at all, programs can crash, applications can "glitch", causing lessons to fail or be delayed (wasted time)
  • Misuse: students can get "off task" or use the technology in a negative manner, such as cyber bullying or viewing inappropriate content

Ms. Bradstreet's Favorite Technology

Ms. Bradstreet said "Chromebook's" are her favorite technology because in her class there is one available for every student, they are portable, they provide access to academic applications (like Moby Math); and most importantly to her, they provide the opportunity to practice typing skills. The importance of students being able to type well and with some speed is vital to student success nowadays because state assessments are administered on computers and students have to type their written responses. If students are not comfortable typing they will struggle with the state tests.