Everyday students of almost all ages are spending countless hours emersed in different technologies that provide them with a vast array of opportunities to have fun, be deeply engaged and learn which is essentially why all teachers should utilise these technologies within their classrooms. Many technologies allow for social networking, collaboration, interaction with meaningful and worthwhile tasks, experimental learning and even self-directed learning. The latest generation of students (K-12) have been brought up in a digital realm that they have become ‘digital natives’ in, technology is fully integrated into their lives (Green, Hannon, 2007).
Technology allows students to participate in activities that involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluating (Kearsley, Shneiderman, 1999) which all allow students to acquire and integrate knowledge and skills effectively. If educational technologies are used as learning resources to support a particular learning experience they can potentially allow for higher order thinking, which is extremely important according to the Department of Education and Training (2004).
Now that technology has become such a phenomenon within the 21st century, teachers irrespectively need to incorporate and enhance all forms within their classroom and their learning experiences. Indeed technologies have a powerful place in instruction and the classroom (Klopfer, Osterweil, Groff, Haas, 2009). Learning experiences can be engaging and interesting without the use of technology though Kearsley and Shneiderman believe that technology can facilitate engagement in ways, which are otherwise difficult to achieve. The way the world approaches teaching and learning can be somewhat different to the way classroom teachers do, which is why it is crucial that educators seek to amalgamate these two differences and bring technology in all its forms to students within the classroom (Klopfer, Osterweil, Groff, Haas, 2009). Ignoring the need for technology only hinders the growth of a child’s education (Klopfer, Osterweil, Groff, Haas, 2009).
As previously stated there are many technologies that can be used within the classroom to more efficiently and effectively educate students. There have been many technologies over the past four weeks that I have personally looked, experimented with and engaged with. Some I perceived as beneficial within a classroom, where some I professed as irrelevant for students. Technology has changed not only the world but also the way young children think, learn and engage, which is why I am committed to using and incorporating technology into my lessons and classroom. There are many technologies that I would use throughout my lessons and within my classroom though the technologies that I have begun to use and will continually use are;
· Voki Avatars
· Interactive White Boards
· Animation and Stimulation
· Web Quests
All five technologies stated above have utilised within the implementation of my learning experiences.
How would I use these technologies to enhance, engage and provide adequate learning experiences for my students?
I have effectively used Voki Avatars to hook/engage my students into the learning experience. I used to Voki Avatar to introduce and detail to content of the lesson and the first activity for a planet unit. By doing this I was able to enhance the students learning because they were intrinsically motivated and engaged. Voki Avatars inevitably made my teaching more effective and worthwhile because I have full cooperation, engagement and participation from students.
An interactive white boards would probably be one of my favourite technologies. It allows me to effectively teach students, skills and knowledge through different mediums. Interactive white boards (IWB) allow me to present students with activities and tasks that effectively incorporate cognitive processes such as creating. IWB’s also allow me to provide and expose students to other forms of technology such as YouTube clips, Power Points, Web Quests and so on. Because IWB’s allow me to present students with such a variety of tasks I effectively enhance their learning’s and their experiences.
YouTube provides students with auditory and visual information much better than I can do by reading a book (this could be different depending on the class and the students learning styles and abilities). I use YouTube within my classroom to present my students with information through what they describe as a ‘fun way of learning’. YouTube enhances my students learning because it is a technology that they want to engage with – they want to me to use and teach through this technology. YouTube makes my teaching methods more efficient and effective because it inevitably reflects the needs and desires of my students.
I believe animation and stimulation technologies are one of the best. Animation and stimulation technologies are fun, easy, stimulation and interactive which is the key to engaging students according to Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999). Effectively students learning will be enhanced and improved if they are engaged and intrinsically motivated that is just a given. Animation and stimulation technologies make my teaching more efficient and effective because it allows me to create real, meaning, rich and authentic tasks for students to participate and learn through.
Web quests allow students to self-direct their own learning and move through activities at their own pace. It allows students to take control, set goals and enhance their own learning without any specific teacher instruction. Web quests give me the opportunity to create and make tasks that specifically reflects students’ knowledge and skill levels as well as tasks that are meaningful which inevitably makes my teaching more effective.
We as educators need to start/continue to explore and expand these technologies to give the educational community aspirations to grow and broaden within the classroom (Klopfer, Osterweil, Groff, Haas, 2009). Educators need to enhance and utilise e-learning technologies because that is what students are surrounded, swarmed and emersed by in the 21st century. Technology is the youths’ familiarity.
Department of Education and Training, (2004) Higher-Order Thinking. Retrieved August 13th, 2009 from http://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/newbasics/html/pedagogies/intellect/int1a.html
Green, H., Hannon, C, (2007) Their Space: Education for Digital Generation. Retrieved August 13th, 2009 from, http://www.demos.co.uk/files/Their%20space%20-%20web.pdf
Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B, (1999) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology- based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 2nd, 2009 from, http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., Groff, J., Haas, J. (2009) Using the technology of today in the classroom of today. Retrieved August 13th, 2009 from http://education.mit.edu/papers/GamesSimsSocNets_EdArcade.pdf