Entry 2: Technology to Enhance Instruction
Integrating Instructional Technology
Technology in the classroom is a focal point of instruction in the modern world. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the educator to understand how technology can be implemented and what the teacher expects the students to be able to perform. Teachers must be able to evaluate instructional technologies and know how and why they will succeed or fail within the classroom. While there are many instructional technologies available, Youtube, Explain Everything, and Edmodo are three that may be easily integrated into instruction. These provide the best opportunity for teachers, parents and students alike to better have an understanding of a child’s education in any particular course.
Youtube is perhaps the most popular resource available to teachers today. Youtube is used in the classroom as a way to record thoughts, ideas, or projects in order that they may be shared amongst the masses. Youtube’s use in education is in fact so popular that in 2009, YoutubeEdu was created (Fleck, 2014). Perhaps the greatest thing about Youtube is it’s multi-purpose usability within the classroom. Teachers may record a lesson and have students view the lesson at home. Another use may be for the teacher to create an assignment that asks students to create their own video document and upload that document to Youtube. Teachers have the ability to use Youtube to enhance instruction by providing a tool that has the potential to help students in a variety of ways.
In today’s society with so many technological resources at the fingertips of both the student and the teacher, there are many emerging strategies that have the ability to impact education in a positive way. One such strategy is called the flipped classroom. The flipped classroom strategy places the bottom tier of cognitive learning outside of the traditional classroom and into the hands and homes of the student (Zainuddin & Halili, 2016). This strategy effectively makes students own their learning and also provides time for the teacher to be able to focus on higher level cognitive skills within the classroom. However, it is still the teachers responsibility to facilitate learning and engage students, regardless of where that engagement takes place. Explain Everything is a digital whiteboard that combines voice over with the ability to work on the whiteboard simultaneously to create a digital lesson that can be explained and demonstrated much as if it were a video recording. It is very user friendly and easily manipulated by the teacher. While this may not be an everyday solution, it’s use does meet the needs of students by providing multimodal learning engagement strategies.
Edmodo is a technology that produces a digital learning management system. It provides a platform for teachers, parents and students to engage in the learning that is happening within the classroom. Often, many parents ask their student and their student’s teacher what is happening in the classroom. With a platform such as Edmodo, the burden can be eased because that information is shared on the platform for all to see. Perhaps one of the most appealing things about Edmodo is that the platform is designed to emulate facebook. This instantly makes the platform easy to use for most as facebook is immensely popular amongst students and parents alike.
Pros and Cons of using Technology to Facilitate Learning
There are many pro’s and cons of using technology to facilitate learning. The pro’s are simple and many. It can be said with ease that in order for a teacher to be successful, they must meet the student on their own ground. The world is a different place for many educators from the one that they learned in. Computers rooms have been replaced by 1:1 device or bring your own device initiatives. Where in the past, the library was a focal point of a lesson, today, much of the research needed can be done and found online. Students need not wait for an answer anymore. They have the ability to “ask google” or “hey Siri” their way to an answer. While these are all great innovations, the con’s lie in many ways with the teacher. The teacher must be able to meet the student on their own ground. Many teachers find it difficult to change their way of implementing technology. Teachers belief in technology often times can be the deciding factor in the technologies effectiveness (Salas, 2016). Perhaps the greatest negative of using technology is the speed in which it changes. Consider the amount of times in a year one must update an app. Often times, the app changes are significant enough that one must relearn the format of the app. This may be the most negative consequence of technology use within the classroom.
Wired and Wireless Classrooms
A wired classroom is one in which every device must have a physical connection in order to access the internet. The devices are not mobile and must remain plugged in in order to work. This would be like the computer labs of old. A wireless classroom is one that provides a SSID for devices to connect to so that the device may be used without the tethering of a cord. There are pro’s and con’s to both. Mainly tethered devices are typically more powerful in their processing capability and have a specific purpose and software that is designed for the course. Wireless devices are more freely used within most settings and seem to therefore be the trending device used in most school systems throughout the country.
Technology has many uses in classroom instruction. There are many different tools that can be used, but they all have benefits. It is always important for the teacher to examine the impact that any technology will have on the whole classroom, students, teachers and parents alike. While technology is designed to be a tool for the betterment of humankind, it is important for all to remember that its use is only as good as the user and therefore must be evaluated and implemented carefully in order for it to be effective.
Fleck, B. B., Beckman, L. M., Sterns, J. L., & Hussey, H. D. (2014). YouTube in the Classroom: Helpful Tips and Student Perceptions. Journal Of Effective Teaching, 14(3), 21-37.
Salas, A. (2016). Literature Review of Faculty-perceived Usefulness of Instructional Technology in Classroom Dynamics. Contemporary Educational Technology, 7(2), 174-186.
Zainuddin, Z., & Halili, S. H. (2016). Flipped Classroom Research and Trends from Different Fields of Study. International Review Of Research In Open & Distance Learning, 17(3), 313-340