Our world is ever revolving and technology is becoming a big part of that. Technology has slowly made its entrance by replacing textbooks, resources to now being fully integrated into our classrooms and is used as a teaching/learning tool.
When I think back to my school experience we had and overhead projectors where we’d copy notes and if you could write faster than your classmates you would sit there waiting until the teacher moved the page up so you could continue writing your notes (not necessarily the most effective way of teaching in my opinion). We had chalkboards, not even white boards and had never heard of a smart board before! We had one computer lab in the school that was shared amongst classrooms.
In the computer lab I remember using All the Right Type to practicing our keyboarding skills and if you finished early you were allowed to indulge and play number munchers. We have come a long way since then and many classrooms now have access to smart boards, iPads, lap tops, cell phones etc. It has been reported that 75% of educators think that technology has made a positive impact within the education system. Educators are aware that technology has become a big part of our world and it is our job to ensure our students are technologically literate and ready to enter the workforce. Technology has transformed the way our teachers teach and how our students learn. Teachers are able to teach using a variety of means and our students are able to learn in ways that are able to meet their individual needs and interests. Some of the benefits to using technology in our classroom could include:
- It makes learning more fun and engaging. Students have reported that with the use of technology in their classrooms they are more engaged, lessons are interesting and fun.
- Technology prepares our students for the future, for a world outside of our schools. Many jobs if not all jobs require some type of technological component, therefore by learning and using it in our classrooms we are already on the right track to ensuring our students are successful citizens in our society.
- Many students have reported that technology has helped them to retain information. A study done amongst grade 2 students asked them to complete about power point project about an animal. 16 out of 18 students were able to remember more facts about the animal upon completing the PowerPoint presentation. This is a perfect example of technology helping students to learn/retain information in another fashion.
- Technology gives students an opportunity to learn at their own pace and provides opportunities for differentiated instruction. Students are able to use technology as a means of learning in ways that meet their individual needs and abilities. It allows the teacher to be able to work one on one with students and provide feedback and support when necessary.
- Technology connects with students. Many students are surrounded by technology every day and it is a part of their world, so why not bring their world into our classrooms. I would much rather use technology in my classroom as a teaching/learning tool then avoid it and it becomes a distraction. Cell phones for example, with Facebook, snap chat, Instagram, twitter etc. students are often wanting to be on their phones to stay updated in the social world, so why not turn this “distraction” into a teaching and learning tool.
- Technology allows us as teachers to keep tabs on our students. It allows us to combing information about individual students such as attendance, test results, etc. We are then able to see how students are performing as individuals and a whole. This is beneficial to us as educators because it gives us a glimpse of where one or two students may be struggling or where the whole class is struggling and perhaps not understanding a concept.
- The concept of choice. Technology provides different learning modalities so students are able to choose how they learn best and meet their own individual needs. From my own teaching experience, I have found great success in offering choice, gives the students some responsibility and freedom. It allows them to choose what they are interested in it, how it applies to our learning and run with it…. Kind of like what we are doing with a directed reading course!
- Technology offers opportunities for students with special needs to gain access to a variety of apps and resources that will help them in being successful in their educational journey. It also offers opportunities for students with language barriers to over come those boundaries and to learn alongside their peers.
A few weeks ago I took a look at several apps/resources that could be used specifically in a physical education classroom. If you take a brief look back, I was able to address how the app could be used in a physical education setting as well as the con’s that may arise when incorporating this app into your classroom.
I saved addressing the pro’s until this week as this week as we are discussing the pro’s to incorporating technology into the classroom, so here it goes:
Coach’s Eye– The pro’s of using the specific app are the student is able to playback their recording. So for example, I could have a student practicing how to do a lay up and verbal feedback just isn’t cutting it. We can use coach’s eye to record the student doing their lay up, play back the recording and I am able to show them what they are doing incorrectly. The bonus of this app is that it can work on any device, there is no need to use the school computers etc. therefore if student’s have access to their cell phones, iPad etc. we can download the app and use it that way.
Camtasia– This app provides opportunities for teachers to create lessons while explaining the rules. The students are able to view the lessons at home or on their own time so when they get into the gymnasium it leaves more time for being physically active and less time for passively listening.
Xbox Kinect– This type of resource allows those students who are not always enthusiastic about physical education to perhaps feel excited about it as we incorporate a form of ‘gaming’. Xbox Kinect can help with coordination and other gross motor/fine motor skills. It also provides opportunities for students with disabilities or limitations to be able to fully participate in a physical education classroom.
Heart rate monitor– Heart rate monitors can continuously encourage our students to be physically active as they want to be within the optimal heart rate target zones. If we allow our students to wear the monitors outside of our classrooms it may encourage them to be physically active for the remainder of the day.
Fitness Tracker– Similar to a heart rate monitor it can encourage our students to be physically active in and out of school. Some fitness trackers allow students the opportunity to log exercise and other features that they are able to do at home as well.
Overall, in my opinion I see the benefits to incorporating technology into the classroom. I see both positive and negative sides however I do feel that with our world ever so changing in a way where technology has become a major aspect I think if we don’t include technology into our own teaching and learning we are doing our students an injustice. With support, resources, professional development etc. in regards to technology I do think that all of us could successfully incorporate it into our classrooms to benefit our students.