Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Technological Classroom

Due to our changing society, it is inevitable that technology will become a huge aspect of teaching. While the majority of us were growing up, technology was just beginning to make its way into the classroom. Now, it is pivotal in not only keeping students’ attention but to engage them in interactive learning.

Reading “Technology and Literacy: A Story about the Perils of Not Paying Attention” was fascinating to me because I remember the changes to my elementary school classroom (gaining computers and computer classes) as they are described in the article. The article states that there were two kinds of teachers when this change was happening: those who were pro-technology and those who were against it. No matter the stance, as Cynthia L. Selfe states, deciding to use technology in the classroom no longer matters. Instead, teachers have to pay attention to technology and become accustomed to it. This is especially true in today’s educational world. Unlike how we were all raised, students today are raised basically from birth knowing how to use technology. It is to the point that students can no longer pay attention without the use of technology. I personally think the growing use of technology in schools is a fantastic way to engage students and promote learning.

“Exploring the Use of the iPad for Literacy Learning” explores the issue of adding technology in the classroom in a manner that is both informative and enlightening. Before reading this article, I had apprehensions about using iPads in the classroom. Personally, I am not a huge iPad fan, although I do have one. For some reason, I find them irritating. But, considering the technological world we live in, mobile learning seems to be imperative to student achievement. It was interesting to read that students preferred reading on the iPad as opposed to reading a book. It allows students to become involved with the reading by highlighting, stating words, explaining words, etc. This is extremely beneficial for students who struggle with reading comprehension. Instead of being afraid to ask for help and risk looking stupid, students can use functions on the iPad to help them grasp readings that would be difficult while reading a book.

This article also gives specific apps that are useful in the classroom. Popplet, a graphic organizer app, would be fantastic for day-to-day activities for a variety of subjects. Not only is this app a great learning tool, but it also allows students to guide their own learning. They can create a graphic organizer that makes sense to them and will help them learn. Another great benefit to using an iPad is that students would become more engaged in learning. I have done research that explained students today have a difficult time paying attention in school because it is boring to them. At home, students are bombarded with technology (computers, TV, video games, etc.). If schools and teachers were to integrate technology into their classrooms, students’ attention would greatly increase. This would ultimately promote learning. After all, that is what every teacher wants. Instead of resisting technology in classrooms, teachers should welcome the opportunity to expand engagement.

Similar to the addition of technology to classrooms, the idea of the flipped classroom is intriguing. At first, the though of filming oneself teaching and putting it on YouTube for students to watch the night before class seems a little ridiculous and intimidating. After all, the thought of school bring up images of sitting in a classroom, listening to a teacher teach. “Upside Down and Inside Out: Flip Your Classroom to Improve Student Learning” encourages understanding and increases interest in the flipped classroom. Before this article, I had never heard of a flipped classroom. To me, the concept seemed to be something from a futuristic sci-fi movie. Then, after reading the article, the idea seemed more appealing to me.

The article specifically states the flipped classroom was performed in a math class. I can see where this would be beneficial to students, especially to those who have problems with math comprehension. Unlike listening to a teacher in person, students are able to stop a video and re-watch a section that is troublesome to them. To someone who doesn’t understand math, this is a great opportunity to expand learning by having the ability to focus on a single unit at a time. In class, teachers have to teach to a group, not just an individual. A consequence to this is that some students will fall behind. As everyone knows from personal experience, it is extremely difficult to catch up once fallen behind. For some students, asking questions during or after class is intimidating. They would rather fall behind than ask a “dumb” question and be laughed at. This causes students to become discouraged and quit. Watching lectures online is one way to eliminate discomfort in learning.

It is also helpful to students to be able to work on homework in the classroom instead of at home. With this, students are able to get personalized attention while completing homework. If a student still does not understand the material that was discussed on the video, they are able to get individualized help. Similarly, a teacher will be able to distinguish which problems are causing trouble to many students. The teacher can then address the class as a whole in order to perform a reteach. This not only helps the students, but it allows the teacher to learn from the students.

Although using a flipped classroom makes sense for math, I am not sure how it would work for an English class. While math is based on irrefutable facts, English requires a different kind of thinking. There is not a single truth in regard to literature. Likewise, English requires discussion and critical thinking. In this sense, having a traditional classroom would be more beneficial. I think there are some aspects of English, such as grammar, that would benefit from using the flipped classroom method. Perhaps it would be possible to do a semi-flipped classroom for English. I would be interested in trying this and learning more about it. The article states that flipped classrooms increase student learning and achievement compared to traditional classrooms. Perhaps, with more research, schools will begin exploring the flipped classroom.