The Ever Evolving Classroom

http://www.pbs.org/program/digital-media/

After viewing this video, it has given us insight on how much technology affects students and how much students are defined through technology. As the documentary delved into the lives of students who attend “the Quest to Learn” school, it was apparent that technology had a large impact on both their academic success and their learning styles. This form of schooling shaped their minds and changed the way they looked at learning in the classroom. One child claimed that, “we don’t sit and stare at textbooks, we use technology and have fun while still learning.” Before watching this video, we had not seen the true influence technology has had on a young learner. It is different to read about various methods of implementing technology in classrooms from an adult’s perspective but hearing from the students who use technology every day gives a completely different insight.

Some parents today are anxious about all of the time their young children spend on technology. This could possibly be a divide between “Digital Immigrants” and “Digital Natives.” The students of today are digital natives who have had technology in their lives since day one; it is a part of their education, their home life, and their leisure activities. This confuses the digital immigrants because they did not grow up with technology in every aspect of their lives. It makes parents skeptical that their child is being held back by technology, that is hindering their education. This is a common misconception that many teachers are trying to abolish. In the documentary, both students and teachers discuss how technology is leaving a positive mark. Parents say they are worried about their children becoming too competitive and addicted to these games implemented in both outside and inside the classroom. Teachers today try to explain that this concept of competition is good because it makes the students driven to improve. They also want parents to know that videogames are not hindering their child’s education. Video games are a set of problems that you must solve in order to win, therefore playing video games works on children’s critical thinking and problem solving. This may be a different concept for parents of digital immigrants to grasp, but they must eventually understand that education is evolving and technology is not going anywhere.

The technology incorporated in this video will affect us as future teachers in many ways. If we as teachers do not keep up with the gadgets and machinery that society brings today, our students may not learn as well or may not be as interested in what is being taught. Our future students rely on technology today because they have had it all of their lives, so it is almost unfair that we do not use new technology in the classroom. While using new technology, we can still meet all school-board standards and expectations that our districts require. The “Quest to Learn” school met all of New York’s standards for education, while also incorporating various other lessons that will help students’ social and emotional skills in various ways.

In the video it states, “if we teach students the way we taught yesterday we are stealing them of tomorrow.”  This applies directly to the use of technology in the classroom.  Technology is very prevalent in today’s society and the future generations are growing up with technology all around them.  If we as teachers do not use technology in our classrooms then we are not letting our students’ reach their full learning potential.  Students are excited and motivated when using technology to learn, so this would only make sense to utilize technology in the classroom.  Inventions in history, such as the printing press, advanced the way we learned and the way teacher’s taught in those days.  Similar to now, the invention of the internet, computers, and mass amounts of technology have advanced the way students can learn and it is vital that teachers adapt these new ways to most benefit their students.  The ultimate goal of receiving an education is so that the students can be successful in the future.  If you teach students how to be successful only in a way that was successful in the past, they are not going to be prepared for the future.

To be honest, we really are not sure how our future classrooms will look. With the uprise of technology and changes in classrooms, it is difficult to picture the setting that we will be teaching in. As each year passes, technology keeps evolving therefore our classrooms should as well.  The video was talking mostly about general education classrooms, but we all want to be teaching in special education classrooms.  Technology can have major benefits for students with  disabilities as well.  For example, a young child with Autism that is nonverbal may be able to use assistive technology to help them share their thoughts and what they have learned through a communication device.  

We envision the use of smartboards, iPads, adapted technology, and computer softwares in our future classroom.  The tricky thing is that what we envision today in 2014 may not be the resources we are using because we are still 3 years away from being in charge of our own classrooms.  Each day, month, and year new technology is invented and becomes all the rage.  It is impossible to predict what the world of technology will look like when we are teachers, so it will be imperative to keep up with the ever evolving classroom.

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