Technology Philosophy

(I wrote this for an education class)

In my English-Social Studies block, I will use technology to assist students in solving real-world problems and conducting relevant research that will create a collaborative learning environment. My philosophy is based on research that shows “students learn more deeply if they have engaged in activities that require applying classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems” (www.edutopia.org). Technology is a tool that will allow me to base my teaching on inquiry, which isn’t about being right or wrong in one’s answer but about exciting students about learning and making their own discoveries (www.edutopia.org).

By using the Internet search engines, digital encyclopedias, and other Web 2.0 programs, students will learn that history isn’t about good defeating evil or that writing a novel isn’t something that happens over night. Students will be encouraged to research what interests them so that they may further their own education as well as their peers’. They will present their findings as individuals or in small groups with such technology as PowerPoint, Prezi, Zoho Show, or Wordle. In English literature, students will also research the authors and time periods in which their stories were written by using the Internet. They will use technology such as Toon Doo and the PowerPoint kiosk to create their own stories. With Skype, students can interview real authors. By using these technologies, students will be in charge of their own learning (given parameters, of course).

Studies show that there is great benefit in cooperative learning  “in which small teams of students use a variety of activities to more deeply understand a subject” (www.edutopia.org). Not only will individuals research on their own as previously discussed, but each team member will be required to collaborate with one another so as to teach the whole class about their given subject. Allowing students to use new and exciting technology will interest their peers as will the concept for students teaching each other and being in charge of their own learning.

While students will grow as teachers and learners by using technology, I will be able to use the products that students create to assess their learning. With all of the technologies listed previously, students will create a piece of work which can be assessed just as easily as a standard written essay. As with any assignment, there will be clear guidelines based on rubrics to ensure that students are aware of their expectations and how to reach them. Furthermore, using technology to assess learning may very well be more accurate than assessing student work done without technology. Many brilliant students fail to be challenged or engaged in their schoolwork due to intellectual or physical impairments. Using technology, from simple Google search engines to creating comics with Toon Doo, will likely engage the uninterested, challenge the bored, and quell the restless, allowing all students to take charge of their own learning that they feel is beneficial to their own life.

The advantages to using many forms of technology are numerous. Students who struggle to grasp a lecture can benefit from listening to a podcast or seeing the spoken words in writing through Inspiration graphic organizers and outlines or through presentation software such as PowerPoint or Prezi. Students who learn best by using hands-on techniques may benefit from using applications for the iPad. Rather than having students read facts from history textbooks, students can create their own timelines with such software as Timeliner. The disadvantages, of course, include students not being on task while using the technology. The solutions are twofold: to make sure students know for what they are responsible and by creating the collaborative learning environment so that students feel accountable themselves and keep others accountable as well. As their teacher, I will provide strict oversight to ensure all students are on task and learning to the best of their abilities.

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