Why are interactive classrooms being used to teach the old fashioned way?

June 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Technology | 6 Comments

Authored by David Adams
(Each student in GMST 525 has written their own post for our class blog.)

One article that caught my attention was When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching. Many times the technology in the interactive classrooms goes unused. With little or no training the teacher can waste more time on the technology than on the subject being covered. With many teachers traveling from room to room, setting up the technology can take time. When the teachers have little or no training on these devices, a simple malfunction can take away valuable teaching time trying to troubleshoot. After a couple of these malfunctions I have personally seen teachers give up on the technology and go right back to the blackboard for the rest of the semester.

I think that when the technology is used correctly it can be an asset to any content area. If a teacher has access to these technologies they should learn how to use them. If they had no training or their training was inadequate, teachers should take the time to find out how to use the technology. If the technology is available we owe it to the students to learn how to use it.



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  1. David, thanks for your interesting post. I read the article within your post “When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching” with amazement. The article misses the point of why these technologies fail in classrooms. The heading in the article starts with “Giving professors gadgets without training can do more harm than good in the classroom” says it all. Teachers and Professors often are given a new tool designed for collaborative education and attempt to apply it to their transmission (lecture) style of teaching. Why bother?

    In your posting you talk of teachers that struggle with the technology and then go back to the chalkboard. The question I would ask is why would they use the technology in the first place if they can use the chalkboard? The old “keep it simple” seems to apply. If the class is doing collaborative learning on a group project then clearly going back to the chalkboard is not an option. From my observations in various schools most teachers do not teach in a manner that really takes advantage of the newest digital literacies. First we need to change the way we teach then we need to find the tools to match the need. Not the other way around.

  2. I 100% agree that wayyyy too often technology is wasted and I think it has a lot to do with the comfort level of teachers and the hesitancy to change old habits. They probably see it as why risk it? I always thought of myself as pretty up to date with technology but after this class I see how much I didn’t know. I had no idea about the capability of cell phones or ipods and how helpful using those tools can be.

    A great quote that I think sums it up nicely comes from Stephen Crowne when he stated, “Technology is not a substitute for good teaching, but rather provides the best teachers with the tools to engage pupils in learning.”

    I’m excited to research and look into different avenues of technology to use and get students excited.

  3. Let’s be honest. In today’s realm of American education, there are two schools of thought: the old school and the new school. The old school revolves around the transmission model, with strict, organized classrooms where the teacher is the all-knowing being and the student is the blank canvas. The new school is a more inquiry-based, technology-assisted classroom, catering to the social and cultural challenges that today’s students bring. When new technology is introduced into an ‘old-school’ setting, many problems can, and often do, arise.

    Many teachers hailing from the traditional school of thought may be more reluctant than their more contemporary counterparts to introduce and use technological tools for education purposes in their classrooms. This can cause a problem when a mandate is passed down through a school district, requiring the incorporation of a technological tool (i.e. Smartboard). In a perfect world, the technology would be introduced only after the teacher has had sufficient training in not only the use of the technology, but also the upkeep and troubleshooting of the technology. The problem that I see developing is a reluctance on the part of these more traditional teachers to learn the new technology, making its use in the classroom a futile attempt at education.

    As educators, it is our obligation to ensure that we stay informed on the different kinds of technology available to us and our students, as well as, when implemented, are fully cognizant of the tools functions and workings. When time is wasted on the upkeep of technology, time is wasted, and in our current classroom situations, we cannot afford any wasted time.

  4. Mark,
    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment, “First we need to change the way we teach then we need to find the tools to match the need. Not the other way around.”

  5. I think it would be helpful if teachers gave themselves permission to learn about the new technology along with their students. I learn from my students as well as teach my students

    My students are very accepting of the fact that I may not have the technology down pat, but they respect me for trying to incorporate the new technology into the classroom and have told me that they wish more teachers would do that.

    At the beginning of the semester I just explained to them that we we were going to be using new technology this semester, and since it was new I was just learning how to use it and sometimes I might need their help. I told them that sometimes I would be just half a step ahead of them. They were OK with that. I told them that teachers are life long learners. Just because I’ve been teaching for 20 years doesn’t mean I know it all. I’m always learning.

    My grade 11/12 class absolutely loved using the technology because they were comfortable working on the computer and trying new things. If we ran into problems during class time they simply did the work at home. It wasn’t a problem. It’s all about quality not quantity. It’s all about collaborative learning. It’s all about showing students that I’m a life long learner and maybe they will be too.

  6. […] in the classroom this past semester after reading  Chris Wood’s comment in response to David Adams post on teachers and the new technology. Chris […]

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