Thursday, April 2, 2009

Technology Tools for the Future: Teachers vs Kids Perspective

Project Tomorrow sponsors Speak Up, which is a "national research project that surveys K-12 students, teachers, parents and administrators." One of the questions asked recently was "Imagine you are designing the ultimate school. Which of these tools would have the most positive impact on learning?" The results of this survey were tallied and reported in the March 2008 T.H.E Journal. Which areas showed the most disparity between teachers and students?

- 25 % of teachers feel that Digital Media Tools like video and audio would have the most positive impact on learning. The students in grades 6-8 rated it 50% and grades 9-12 53%.

- 24% of teachers feel that Online Textbooks would have the most positive impact on learning. The students in grades 6-8 rated it 47% and grades 9-12 49%.

- 21% of teachers feel that Document Cameras would have the most positive impact on learning. The students in grades 6-8 rated it 42% and grades 9-12 38%.

-- 15% of teachers feel that Computer Projection Devices would have the most positive impact on learning. The students in grades 6-8 rated it 47% and grades 9-12 48%.

There are quite a few more that show the same disparities. The numbers for parents and administrators are wildly varying. What do I think this reveals?

- A basic lack of understanding of the potential benefits for some groups.
- A possible fascination with "toys" for some groups.
- A fear that moving towards online classes may fundamentally change educators' jobs.
- A resistance to change (this one's a duh because of course we as humans are resistant to change.)

The most important thing that it reveals, however, is the sea-change in which we are all dog-paddling. Teachers, students and administrators alike are grappling with the possibilities these new technologies offer and perhaps the only "true thing" upon which we can rely in the future is that new technologies will likely keep on coming our way and we'll never get to stop taking surveys like this again.
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ED 205 Comment said...

Its true. Though out my school experience I have found that some of my teachers (less and less as time moves on) are still resistent to the incorporation of technology into the classroom. Time and time again, technology would be upgraded in the class by the district and the teahcers would have to get used to an entirely new system all over again. It usually wasnt that the teachers were nessecsarily against techology but the felt unprepared to use it. They would try to use it the same way they always had but when it failed they would get frustrated due the to lag in the scheduled work and would just move on. SO i would pose that its not that teachers feel that the technology detracts from the classroom experience persay, but more so that they are illequipt to employ it and are to busy to sit down and figure it out on their own. They end up just relying on old methods that have proven themselves reliable over the years. This isnt a bad thing, but it does limit the advancements of teaching techniques and may give the students a negative outlook on the class or teacher.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to here the difference between kids, teachers, and administrators on these different technologies. As a future teacher, I am excited to see what the future holds for ed. tech!

caron said...

I feel like all of these uses of technology in education can be very beneficial. I can agree with all of the votes and percentages. There really is a lot of good out of all these types of technology but I feel like that technology should not take over completely. The interaction between students and teachers cannot be replaced with any type of technology. This correlation needs to stay in tacked with students and teachers.

Lauren205 said...

I agree that these statistics show a disparity between groups. As an education studentm I understand that video and audio are great ways to get students interested and involved in learning. However, I feel that students revere video a little too much. That's fine, since videos are a great learning tool, but they have to be used differently. Having students make their own videos for projects or having them make podcasts are great ways to integrate technology into the classroom, but this isn't being done as much. Many teachers use video as a way to "shut students up" or avoid lecturing. Videos can be more interesting than lecturing, but too many teachers put a video in, have a seat, kick back and relax when they could have a more engaging teaching technique.

Jessica Radecki said...

As a prospective teacher I can see where some might fear that technology could take over jobs...but that is only true if teachers allow themselves to get lost in it. If we stay up on the latest ways to integrate technology into our classrooms than we will be the ones passing the knowledge down to our students. We just have to be ahead of the game and know more than the next guy. That is why I feel it is important for teachers to become involved in technology seminars and read up on the latest technology journals. Just as our students prior knowledge of technology is always changing, so should ours. We mustn't let this "technology push" scare us out of a wonderful opportunity to teach to the best of our ability.

Bruce said...

Technology in the schools has its place. I still believe that there is too much emphasis on technology. If the child does not have a good handle on Reading, Writing, Math and the English language, having a strong knowledge on how to text (the short-hand can interfere with learning proper grammar) and other technologies leads our children down a path "why do I need to learn that".

Alecia Berman-Dry said...

Bruce, your point is well taken, and any technology educator worth his or her salt would agree that the emphasis should always be on the content rather than the tool. For instance, at our school there is never a time that we teach a technology skill in a vacuum. If we're teaching students how to use a spreadsheet, it is because it makes calculating probability easier--just as our current fourth graders are doing right now. The students are practicing the three R's, using a tool that makes their learning more effective.