Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Article #6: Measuring and Evaluating Effective Media Use- How Should Schools Be Using Tech to Teach?

Cleaver, S. (2013, July 31). How Should Schools be Using Tech to Teach? Retrieved December 10, 2014, from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Tech_in_Schools/

Main Points:

When we think about how far technology has come in the past 10 years it’s hard to believe that overheads used to be the most technological piece of equipment in our classrooms.  Many students are becoming the technology experts in the classroom, as opposed to the teacher.  According to Cleaver (2013), 93% of students between the ages of 12 and 17 are online.  More so, 89% of students say that technology makes their lives easier.  With this new wave of technology expert students, teachers undoubtedly need to incorporate the most recent tech tools in their classroom.
Students are accustomed to using the Internet to find information and communicate with their peers.  But what the teens are talking about online is quite a shocker.  “The majority (59 percent) talk about education topics, from schoolwork to college applications” (Cleaver, 2013).  As our current classes get closer to graduating and finding their first job, a new skill is emerging in order for them to be college and career ready.  Along with problem solving, 21st skills include “collaborating, synthesizing information, communicating, having a strong work ethic, and being aware of global cultures and perspectives, all while using technology.”  Currently technology education isn’t making the grade when it comes to preparing our students for life after high school.  Sure students know how to text message, send emails, use Google, and Facebook, but do they understand how to search and find information on Google, and then compile it into a database and use that information to solve real life problems?  These are the issues that await them in the real world.  It’s our jobs as educators to make sure that students can be successful on the new roads that technology has paved.  
Cleaver briefly discusses four ways that technology has been used in classrooms across the United States to combine all the skills necessary for 21st century learners.  One teacher is using podcasts to help his students study for tests.  Students are using blogs to create content and publish it.  Students are also collaborating with other students around the world through the use of a wiki.  A computer teacher in Colorado is also teaching her students the importance of using social networking sites safely.     

Reflection and Application:

I felt that this article was a good reminder of why it is so important to incorporate technology into the classroom.  I think this article would be great to use at a staff meeting to encourage hesitant teachers to try and use more of the technology that is available to them.  
In my own classroom, I am currently starting a mini-research project to go along with our novel study that my English class is doing.  The tech coach at my school is coming into my room to discuss with the students how to properly use Google to research a certain topic.  Currently, most 8th graders just type whatever into the search bar and look at the first site that pops up.  Our goal is not only to teach the 8th graders good search terms to use, but how to access the reliability and strength of any given source.  Based on the themes presented in the novel we are reading, students will be creating their own large question to research.  The information that they find will be composed in Google presentation in a note card format.  In our next research project, the tech coach and I will be introducing the students to Diigo.  My ultimate goal in the research lessons is to make finding quality evidence on Google an easier task for the students to complete.  Like the article said the majority of students believe that technology makes their lives easier.  If I can use tech tools in my classroom properly then I should be able to increase this statistic in my classroom.  

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