The 2015 Speak Up article was really interesting to read because it presented a lot of research regarding kids and schools technology usage. The article is called “From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations, and simulations within K-12 education.” I love articles that have a lot of research because it allows me to see what is actually going on rather than just looking at an article. Therefore, this article is interesting and useful because it is packed with research, student quotes, and an opinion that follows both. The beginning of the article was very good about comparing the integration of technology to other innovations in the past, including written texts and the distribution of printed materials. This initially made me think that hesitations about technology today were going to be thought of as ridiculous in the future. The rest of the statistics and quotes supported the increasing use of technology in the classroom and the reality that many students want that technology integration for learning purposes.
The changes described in the rest of the article are extending further, in my opinion, than the ones described in history. The other ones described are mainly for communication purposes (communication of ideas-others can read the ideas), which I think is comparable to textbooks as ebooks, lectures as videos, and communication via social media. However, the innovation of technology has extended well beyond just that. The article described students taking their educational interests in their own hands via the Internet and students playing learning games. This is not only a major change in education, but it is also a notable change in history.
The statistics and quotes in the article promote the use of technology in the classroom. However, one of my concerns is whether it is more effective than traditional ways. The Speak Up article shares statistics about how principals want more technology effectively utilized, and feel that lack of teaching training for technology is the problem. This is key. I am in a technology class right now and have learned a lot this semester about how to use technology effectively in my instruction and also getting students involved. However, technology seems to be changing much more than anything else in the field of education. To keep up with the technology in my teaching career, I will need to continue to learn and try new things. This idea of learning for a lifetime is not only important for kids to learn, it is important for us too.
But why is it so important to learn through professional development? Can’t we just find resources online and implement them? Technology is good teaching right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. We still need to be good teachers and we do need to evaluate the effectiveness of each piece of technology before using it in our classroom. The Wall Street Journal has an article supporting this idea and provides points that are important for all teachers to consider. The article is called “Technology in Classrooms Doesn’t Always Boost Education Results, OECD Says.” This article presented conclusions from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that explained that students who used computers in the classroom more than the average time actually performed below average academically, which was even lower than students who did not use technology in the classroom. In contrast, the article presented a conclusion that students who used technology in the classroom a little less than average actually performed above average. This study was done in 40+ countries, so it spans across a variety of education systems and economies. The overarching message that I got from The Wall Street Journal article is that schools should not just use technology, but show students how to use it and to make sure it is still being used as good teaching.
Moreover, the Speak Up article shows us how prevalent technology is today and how desired it is, and that is something all teachers should remember when creating their unit and lesson plans. However, it is also important to listen to the cautions of other of research, such as the one described by the OECD. The idea of a good teacher hasn’t fully changed in the 21st century. A good teacher is not defined as the teacher with the most technology, but rather, a good teacher is defined as a caring individual who helps their students learn and grow in the classroom. The effective use of technology is a great way to help students learn and grow in the classroom. So definitely use technology in the classroom, but assure that you are using it to improve teaching.