Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 7

Technology can help create dynamic experiences for students in many ways. I have seen technology used to help students interact with whatever is going on in the classroom. It gets them engaged in what the class is doing, especially if it's technology they have no access to anywhere else. It can help students hear and see things that allow them to interact, at least partially, with cultures different than their own. Some technologies help students to focus on concepts. I have seen students get excited about the opportunity to use technology.
Technology can also detract from learning. While many great things are available through technology, a virtual field trip is no substitute for experiencing things first hand. A digital story, while it may be fun, is sometimes not as good as just hearing a story read. Technology can be a distraction from learning when students and teachers get too hung up on using it and feel they need to integrate it into everything. Technology should be a tool to aid learning, not a substitute for real, quality teaching.
I have seen smartboards used very effectively in 2 different classroom settings. In one class, the teacher uses the smartboard to take role, causing students to notice their peers, and to talk about the weather and the date. These things could be done without technology, but the use of technology makes ordinary activities much more exciting to students. In the other classroom, the teacher used the smartboard to have students spell words, teaching them letters and sounds. I have also seen fun voicechanging toys used to encourage severe special ed students to talk in a severe special ed classroom. These technologies and others are used very effectively in classrooms.

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