As the physical education teacher within my school I can admit that I am guilty of using educational technology in my classroom. Last semester’s class with Alec enlightened me to the many possibilities educational technology can have in a regular classroom as well as the other learning environments. As Alec mentioned last week when discussing Neil Postman’s article, technology often has a trade-off; there is always going to be something good and something bad that comes out of it. Technology has become a huge part of our everyday lives whether we like it or not, it influences the way we interact, behave and communicate. There are many educational technology tools that have and continue to be useful in our schools. As we move to a society focusing more and more on technology we see teachers feeling pressured to incorporate technology into their lessons and classrooms. From my perspective educational technology would be something that assists students learning in an interactive, exciting, out of the norm way. The use of computers, IPads, smart boards, cell phones, twitter, Facebook and various other applications are all useful learning tools in the classroom. There are many teachers in our school that create Facebook pages or Twitter pages so parents are able to stay updated on their child’s learning and what is going on in the classroom. As mentioned, everything has a good and a bad side to it; I think educational technology is beneficial and impactful for the students and the learning environment. However, I do think everyone needs to be aware of boundaries, safety and how to be good digital citizens. If students and teachers aren’t following the general guidelines for technology use and incorporation into their classrooms, then technology may not be beneficial for the teaching and the learning that is happening in that environment.
When I think back to my own experience growing up, I remember always having some type of technology in the classroom. We had a projector where the teacher would put up notes and we would copy the notes down. Maybe not the most effective way of learning, however, material was being delivered in a fashion the teacher felt was appropriate with the tools they had available to them. I remember in grade 5 we finally got a computer lab and were able to visit it once a week with our computer teacher. I remember doing All The Right Type and when it came to test time we had to cover our hands with a cardboard box to make sure that we weren’t cheating by looking at the keys. Thank goodness for that computer class, without it I think I would be finger poking keyboard keys for sure! In grade 12 we had a computer lab, and I had a personal cell phone that was prohibited in classrooms. As an educator, I often find myself saying “pick your battles”, technology if often one of them. If my students are able to listen to music and work productively, then why not encourage them to do so. If they have their cell phone and need it to look something up, create/play kahoot, etc., then why not use it to your advantage. As a physical education teacher I find it hard to incorporate technology into my classroom. We have 75 minute classes once a week and with each class it is hard enough to get through necessary content let alone introduce a new form of technology. We also have a lack of funding for technology; even if there was funding, I feel they would devalue the importance of technology in a gymnasium classroom, why would you need it in there? Is it going to get wrecked? I’m sure there would be many reasons why technology would not be good in a gymnasium. Last semester I was able to look into technology and physical education a little further in depth and there were many resources and applications that could be added into our gymnasium classroom. Things that would be beneficial for not only the students but for the teacher as well.
There are many varying opinions about educational technology and its uses in our classrooms. Although I am not super tech savvy, I do advocate for it and think technology can benefit our students in many ways. Society is moving in a more technology driven direction! Why not set our students up for success in the future by introducing it now and teaching them how to be good digital citizens.