After watching the video, I have become aware of new methods of teaching students by integrating them into the world of technology. Physically, the layout of a technological classroom differs greatly from that of the traditional model. The desks, for example, were put into the formation of a circle, allowing greater student interaction and cooperation. Instead of everyone working silently on his/her own or sitting in rows, these students had greater access to each other and the teacher. Because the students were seated in a circle-like format, it enabled them to work together on their ipads to solve problems, complete presentations, and turn in work online. I remember seeing students using apps, such as word web to help them with their spelling words. Students could look up a word that they did not know the meaning of and the website would give them several definitions. Students also collaborated on math problems together by solving them and communicating with one another on the ipads themselves.
Furthermore, students seemed to be highly receptive of the technological advances in their classroom. They seemed to enjoy using their ipads to connect with each other, play educational games, and develop a sense of ownership over their own learning. One student claimed that she liked using the ipads because when you need help, the device is right there. You do not have to get out a calculator to solve a math problem, or a pen and paper to take notes. Rather, it is all on the same device and can be pulled up with just the click of a button, allowing for easier access. Another student reasoned that work in the classroom would be far different without the ipads because they are critical to more efficient learning. By using the ipads, he says, he can get his work done much faster and more efficiently than by pen and paper. It opens the students up to greater resources and enables them to complete their work in a timelier fashion. Likewise, the teacher stated his value for the use of technology in the classroom as he stated that it enabled him to check work quicker. Because students submit their work to him via email or online, he and other students can submit feedback, whether it be on a paper, presentation, power point, etc. After they receive the feedback, students can make changes to their work and fix the problems to resubmit it for a better grade. The teacher can have faster response time to students as well. He claimed that he checks his students’ work while they are still in class working on something because he has the device right in front of him. Using ipads also cuts down on missing and late work, he says. Everything is digital, so there are no longer loose papers floating around or excuses for leaving textbooks or works at home. His objective is to encourage his students to reach a place to where they no longer need him. The goal, he notes, is to enable his students to learn either with or without him.
There were several different forms of differentiated instruction in the classroom. Students had the ability to guide their own learning through their use of the ipads. A key part of differentiated instruction is to give students some independence in how they learn. Guide them, but also allow them to explore and discover on their own. By having greater autonomy over their own learning, students respond better to what is being learned. They are more likely to engage in classroom discussion and encode information if they are interested in the subject matter and have had a chance to learn the material in a manner that fits their learning style. In the video, students could control how they learned the content material, whether it be through highlighting on the ipad while reading, playing word and spelling games, looking up definitions, solving math problems, taking notes on the ipad, or even collaborating with other students via email. The use of technology in this circumstance was different from what I had experienced/anticipated. I thought that the use of technology mainly would revolve more around the use of computers, not ipads. In my past experience with technology in the classroom, students preferred to use their phones and such devices to access social media. Therefore, I also figured that because they were using ipads, students would be more interested in playing games or texting and using social media than doing their work. This, however, was not the case. Students were actively engaged in their work at all times and only used the texting or emails to collaborate on group work with other students or the teacher.
Overall, I am not very comfortable in teaching in this kind of environment because I do not have a lot of experience with more recent technological advances. I have never been good at using computer software or being on top of the most recent use for smart phones or social media. My concern would be that I would not have enough background usage on the use of such devices in the classroom, and thus I would not be able to adequately teach the students how to use them either. I also would be afraid that I would not be aware of the most recent technological trends and would get behind in the most current uses for technology. If I am not aware of the more recent apps or programs that my students know how to use, then I cannot help to facilitate their learning. When I was in school, we did not have a lot of technology use in the classroom aside from computers. We would use computers for basic programs like power point, word, and excel. As a teacher, however, I think that in the 21st century, it is important to incorporate a greater use of technology in the classroom. As a 21st century teacher, personalized instruction is incredibly important to student learning. Every student learns in a different way, but through the use of technology, I can cater to the individual needs of students. With the use of ipads, for example, students can have greater control over how they learn the material in a way that better fits their individual learning styles. I also think that it is important in the 21st century to stay in direct communication with students, faculty, and families at all times. Technology makes it easier to collaborate with students. It helps to build connections with families by enabling them to view student work, grades, and performance, and contact teachers if necessary. Learning new methods of technology are essential to be a teacher today because our world relies so heavily on the use of technology. My goal as a prospective teacher is to implement technology, such as ipads into my classroom in order to foster greater student growth and permit students to lead their own learning/research.
“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick