Technology & Education
2011 - Dr. Joseph Rella, Superintendent of the Comsewogue School District sent an email entitled: What would a 5 year technology plan look like? He read an article which posed a question –
How will classrooms in 2016 be different?
The author (Nicholas Negroponte – MIT prof. – founder of One Laptop per Child) states:
· More and more classrooms will evolve into labs.
· Homerooms may be situated more in cyberspace than real space.
· Books will not exist as paper artifacts – libraries will only be used to house books that haven’t been digitized.
· The key difference is that children will be different 5 years from now. First graders will start school with 3 years of iPhone experience and maybe 2 years of iPad experience – AND they will never have experienced boredom.
· Teaching is important but remember – we all learned in the first five years of our lives by interacting with our environments – outside the confines of teaching. Suddenly, at age six, we are required to stop learning that way and to learn more by being told.
He has asked me to pose these questions to my fellow members of the district’s Technology Committee.
· What will (should) Comsewogue’s classrooms look like in 2016?
· How do we get what we need, given the resources we have and are likely to have?
As I processed the question, I thought it would be a good idea to look at how the use of technology has changed in my classroom over the last 5 years. As I look back, things that seemed like yesterday, took place several years ago.
Here are some of my answers:
· I have a Promethean Board (smart board) in my classroom instead of a multimedia cart with a digital projector. I was grateful to have the cart and it is amazing to think that such a tool is outdated already. I still have one in my classroom and use it when I want two screens going at the same time.
· I have enhanced many of my powerpoint files to include many hyperlinks to youtube.com to enhance
- I use less dvd’s and videos, youtube clips are measurable and precise. I am able to more
concisely zero in on the concept I am trying to get across.
- I have created very in depth topic specific Microsoft Publisher files which have enriched my lessons tremendously.
- Additionally, as I find more and more creative material coming out on the web, creating new lessons with new designs has become addicting. This has been important for my own professional develop. It is as if I have reinvented myself in the classroom.
- I have expanded my use of hyperlinks giving me much more access to the web in an organized fashion. This has certainly expanded my choices in how I present material; it has allowed for more surgical lessons.
What that means is, it has allowed me to better control the 41 minutes I have with each class.
If time allows with an extra 2 or 3 minutes, I can more easily go to a website to enhance or review,
where otherwise, the time might not have been used as effectively.
- I am better able to incorporate current events into my lessons with more enriched material.
- As the material out on the web improves, so does enrichment. For example, instead of just showing a map of North Africa and talking about it, I can now show students an aerial flyover of Algeria or show an aircraft carrier traveling through the suez canal.
- For musical learners, music accompanying words and pictures to assist students who are learning about the Panama Canal…a virtual fieldtrip.
o High speed footage of ships going through the Panama Canal
- I have only scratched the surface to the question- How can we use data to enhance the instruction of individual learners? I see the student response system (EInstruction) being very useful with this one. I've been trying to teach myself Microsoft Access, rather than using just Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Access has much more power for what we need to do with regard to information/data processing. The only problem is that very few of us have ever heard of it, let alone, know how to use it. Forget about taking things to a new level, whoever succeeds here will take the concept data driven instruction to a new planet.
- I have less file cabinets today.
- I now have a device that allows me to walk around my classroom and control my smart board/computer from anywhere in my classroom.
- I use an electronic grade book which is part of our student management system (EschoolData) which allows me to communicate with parents and students more efficiently.