Whether or not technology enhances students learning will be a topic of debate for many years. There are many teachers that feel strongly about technology and positive student’s learning/engagement. However, there are some teachers who feel technology is more of a distraction rather than a tool to enhance learning. Many teachers like me are on the fence; I believe that technology use can benefit student learning but it can also be a distraction for many. Technology can be a useful tool when used in the right setting and when rules and guidelines are followed by all.
Ashley discusses a very good topic in her blog this week. She discusses how we use technology to benefit our students and enhance learning rather than using it for the sake of using it. This is a very good discussion topic. I think many teachers use technology today because it’s available to them. However, are we using it in a way that students are learning and being engaged? There have been many times throughout my teaching that I have incorporated the use of computers, was I doing this because it was of value to my lesson, the students learning and engagement? Honesty, I admit that it wasn’t, it was easier for me to throw them all on their own computers and let them work rather than have to figure out a more creative, engaging, fun way to teach what I had to teach that day. As a physical education teacher I have moved away from using technology in my classroom. I have been neglectful of technology because firstly I personally am not a technology expert and I wouldn’t have much to offer my students. Secondly, I don’t know if they (as in admin) would allow technology to be taken from classroom use to be used in the gymnasium classroom. Lastly, physical education periods are short and I as a physical education advocate try to get my kids active for the full time they are in the gym. This way I know they are spending the required amount of active minutes each day being active. Students often spend other portions of their day on technology or involved with technology and I want to make a point that their own health/well-being is equally as important as technology use in and out of the classroom. Ashley also discuses having consistent expectations and I think as anything in life if you want students to be successful you have to have clear expectations and everyone needs to be consistent and on the same page. If we as a staff aren’t working together, it makes the incorporation of technology in our classrooms and in our school more difficult. Speaking from personal experience I find it very difficult to enforce rules within our school that evolve around technology. We have a hat rule at our school, hats are not to be worn inside the school. When a student is wearing a hat we kindly ask them to remove it, same goes for the use of cell phone devices, and they are not to be used at school so we kindly ask them to put it away or it goes to the office. Just like the hat rule, the cell phone rule is hard to enforce as not everyone is consistent. Some teachers turn their head and don’t make a point of bringing either up as it is a battle they don’t want to fight. However this makes things difficult when we are not being consistent and working/supporting one another.
Tayler addresses a valid point in her blog when she says not only does technology enhance student learning but does it enhance our teaching as well? Honestly I have never thought of this before until tonight. Again, I admit I have been a failure at incorporating technology into the gymnasium, however I decided to do a little research to see what others have done in their physical education classes and how they have incorporated technology. The first resource I found was actually a blog (how cool, technology talking about how to use technology) mind blowing for me!! The blog talks about capturing footage on an app and eventually being able to put it on Edmodo. (Edmodo, something I learned in via twitter in our Thursday night ed chat session is a way of developing your professional learning network). Students would be able to capture footage and analyze their footage. Students would actually be able to see how they are doing things, or where they need to make changes/adjustments rather than always hearing it from me. This learning tool would be valuable in a physical education class and would benefit/enhance the learning of many of my students. The second resource that I focused on was mainly a site providing suggestions for apps that would be beneficial to student learning in the gymnasium. This was great as many of my older students have their own cell phones. If we could download apps and somehow incorporate their phones into the gymnasium, then we would avoid always having the battle of “put your cell phones away you are not supposed to be using them at school”. I think students would be eager and engaged especially if we were using their own technology tool in our classrooms.
Steve and I were thinking alike in regards to funds being spent on technology rather than on educational technology training. Like anything, in order to use something proficiently it is essential that we train ourselves on how to use it best in our classrooms to enhance student learning and our own teaching. I would be less hesitant to incorporate technology into my classroom if someone had provided me with training, tools and resources on how to use this in my classroom to benefit my students and aid in my teaching.
Andres does a phenomenal job of creating a real life situation for all of us. I think we have all been in a situation where our lesson revolved around technology and somehow that day there was no internet connection or students couldn’t get logged on for whatever reason. Then what?? I know we are supposed to have extra stuff planned just in case, but seriously who plans an extra hour? I for sure thought that project/outcomes were going to take at least three classes! The struggle is real for many and I think like anything technology will have hiccups along the way however we all have made it out alive and continue to move forward.
A few topics I pulled out from the debate that resonated with me were affordability, and is technology more of a distraction than it is a learning tool. Affordability is huge, not every school/division has access to the funds to be able to support an environment where technology is readily available. In this case how do we use technology to enhance the learning of some but not all? Is technology more of a distraction than it is a useful learning tool? I think this statement is unanswerable, however the article “Don’t give students more tools of mass distraction” would argue that. This article suggests that students who used lap tops posed a distraction to themselves and others. They also suggest that students who text message during class were less likely to be able to complete simple tasks. If everyone is using technology, teachers are consistent, we are following rules and guidelines, is it really a distraction or is it a useful learning tool?
It is hard finding people who are equally as passionate about physical education as I am. However this individual is equally as passionate about not only physical education but the incorporation of physical education into our physical education classes. Most physical education classes use music (this is a source of technology) however there are many other forms of technology that we can use within our classroom to enhance student learning. Through research she suggests that technology motivates student learning, some ways in which we can incorporate technology into our physical education classes are: music, pedometers, video assessment, you tube (online demos), apps (coach’s eye). These are all great ideas some of which I have already used and some that I plan to use in the future!
Overall I think anything technology can have both positive and negative impacts on our student learning and our teaching. It is our job as professionals to determine why we are using it and how it is going to benefit our students and/or our lesson we are trying to teach. If we all work together and collaborate I think technology will make headway in the future and I hope to be a part of that experience.