Rethinking Computers in the Classroom. Cyber classroom a first for slum kids. Evaluating classroom tech in the classroom. We will be looking at three articles. In Evaluating classroom tech we will look at some important questions to ask ourselves when dealing with computers in the classrooms. Rethinking computers in the classroom looks at a school and their problems incorporating technology into teaching, and finally cyber classroom shows the positive ways that computers can be used as a teaching tool in the absence of actual teachers. Conclusion References
Through these fundamental questions we can see if the technology is being used to enhance or hinder learning. In the article Utecht says that “I have had adminis trators [sic] tell me, ‘I walked into the teacher's room and all the students were on laptops.’ (2008).” This somehow implies that by being on a computer a child is learning (Utecht 2008).
I see that using technology to do old things in old ways and old things in new ways can be used effectively. By using word instead of writing a paper, or the internet in place of an encyclopedia you are speeding up the process and allowing the students to engage through a technology that they are familiar with. Using antiquated techniques and technology are a quick way to turn a student off to learning. The old things in new ways can also be effective because it engages the students. In the paper the example of watching a speech rather than reading it, can bring to life the event in a more meaningful way for a student. They can feel the power behind the words rather than just looking at them on a page.
The problem that we run into is the using it just because it is there. This can be the case often times because, as we see in the next article, that schools aren’t ready for an upgrade in technology, and instead of learning it can create distractions.
After a failed experiment in incorporating computers into the class room the school is trying a second time (Ricadela 2008).
A shortage of funds and qualified staff turned a dedicated computer lab into a storage facility (Ricadela 2008).
“ In many schools, PCs have failed to aid students' learning or improve test scores, or equip them with the analysis and communications skills that today's workplace demands (Ricadela 2008).”
Other schools that face similar problems are embracing technology through the use of smart phones, and central servers that allow kids to save all their work in a publicly viewable forum (Ricadela 2008).
All of these technologies are good, except that the problems arise that it creates a digital divide between school districts with money versus the lower income school districts (Ricadela 208).
Looking at the questions from the first article we see that many times schools are just using technology because it is there. According to Ricadela’s article some schools had a one-to-one laptop ratio, but the teachers were just having the kids do the equivalent of electronic worksheets (2008). This is a poor use of technology, not to mention the cost. Schools and corporations work together to provide the resources to schools, but when you have a teacher not utilizing them to the full extent then you have a wasteful product. A worksheet is a worksheet whether the student does it on a computer or not. The use of smart phones and centralized servers where students keep all their work are steps in the right direction as long as the students are learning. I have seen the use of a digital classroom similar to what we use in this class used in a Spanish language class. What the students did was similar to what we do in the modules, they could then share their work and publish it on the web. This also can allow for collaboration between schools breaking geographical as well as cultural barriers. If students are learning about a foreign country the technology exists that we can interact in real time with that country and it’s peoples.
Moving away from the US and the problems that established schools have in incorporating the newest technology into the classroom we travel to India and one of it’s many slums, and see how computers are providing a learning environment for students in the absence of real teachers and schools.
We see that even without a institutionalized setting that computers, and technology can be used as a learning tool. These areas in India are places that are so different from our own, and it is hard to imagine what life is like there. However even in an area like that a 15 year old girl is able to learn English through a computer, and without a teacher. We see that even in different scenarios that technology is ultimately a good thing. Focusing on the questions from the first article we can see that this is creating new learning experiences for the children that use the technology. Under other circumstances these children would not even have a chance at even a rudimentary education.
We see that technology is a tool. Just like any other tool we need to learn how to use it properly. Through these articles we learned what questions we should be asking ourselves when considering different technologies in the classrooms. Additionally we looked at what some schools are currently doing in order to incorporate new technologies into their curriculum. Finally we see how technology, when used correctly, can be an enlightening instrument, providing opportunities that could not exist otherwise.
Ricadela, Aaron. (2008). Rethinking Computers in the Classroom [Electronic Version]. Business Week Online; 12/17/2008, p1-1, 1p.
Utecht, Jeff. (2008). Evaluating classroom tech in the classroom [Electronic Version]. Technology & Learning , April 2008 v28 i9 p52(2)
Westhead, Rick. (2009). Cyber classroom a first for slum kids; Non-profit Indian firm sets computers into walls so impoverished children can receive an education [Electronic Version]. Toronto Star, 5 March 2009.