Alright, I have to admit it, I am on the fence for the debate topic last night, but I do think my fence is leaning to the side that agrees with the statement “Technology in the classroom enhances learning”. I feel that there is a large grey area for this debate and I can agree with arguments made from both sides last night. Before I get started I just wanted to send a shout out to the teams who debated last night and say congrats on a job well done. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but you would never know watching you all.
There are many ways that technology can enhance learning and I agree with some of the points presented last night. I agree that there are many ways that technology can help with students who have disabilities, just as there are so many different ways that we can use technology to transform the way we teach, connect and interact with students in our classrooms. When it comes to technology it seems that the possibilities are almost endless. The problem with having endless possibilities is determining which option is best and just how to implement the new technology into your classroom. How do you know if the app will work for your students? Will it benefit your students? What if you want a class blog but have never blogged before? How do you make it all happen?
Which brings me to the next point brought up last night that I agree strongly with – there aren’t enough trained teachers. So how do we prepare teachers in order to make them more comfortable with technology? For me personally I think that by the time we graduate with our post-secondary degrees we should have a good technological foundation to build on. There isn’t near enough training at the post-secondary level (at least there wasn’t 10 years ago when I was in University). I think I took one education class that focused on technology and it was taught by Alec (big surprise). Technology needs to be integrated into all education classes in some way or another. If we are expected to integrate it into our classrooms when we start working, then we should be taught to integrate it while we are learning to be teachers. If we were trained a little more as undergrads we wouldn’t have to use PD time to learn and it wouldn’t take up as much of the budget to try get everyone trained. One last issue with teacher training is that in some ways it almost seems impossible to keep up with everything because technology changes so fast. This video gives you an idea of just how quickly things change.
I firmly believe that simply having computers, iPads or SmartBoards in the classroom does not count as successfully integrating technology in order to enhance learning. If you want to use technology there should be a reason greater than just simply using it to say you use it. Students should be benefiting in someway by using it. I wouldn’t consider having students write an essay on the computer as a way that technology enhance learning. It is making learning more efficient and perhaps more convenient which I suppose you could argue enhances learning, but it is definitely not enriching their learning. There are hundreds of websites, apps and ideas that you can use to integrate technology in order to enhance learning. There is certainly no limit when it comes to integrating technology in the class.
I agree that it can be challenging to integrate technology in the class room especially when it comes to time, money, resources and network connection. For some I am sure that the hassle of integrating it doesn’t seem worth it, but I think that we are only hurting our students when we feel that way. Our students are worth it and we need to continue to look for ways to integrate technology so that students are prepared and successful as they move forward. Although it is challenging, the success that students can have outweighs the challenges of the prep and work to integrate it. If it is done properly, technology is an amazing tool that can enhance learning in our classroom.