The teacher who learns to incorporate ordinary computer technology into her high school classroom will be more successful. Technology is changing the way people learn. Today’s students are accustomed to using technology in nearly every aspect of their lives, and there are many ways that high school teachers can integrate ordinary computer technology easily into their classrooms to take advantage of students needs, interests, and learning styles. The role of the teacher is to present information. Traditionally, the presentation is in the form of a lecture or reference to a textbook.
A computer with PowerPoint and a digital projector can make presentations much more effective, engaging, and easier to deliver. PowerPoint can easily import outlines from Word. Templates and themes make it easy to format slides to make them more attractive. Animations can often show students processes or emphasize key ideas. Virtually everything that is done on a whiteboard can be done better in PowerPoint and all the information can be saved for the next class or next course, easily modified and improved. Entire sites are dedicated to supplying PowerPoint templates for popular games like Jeopardy! Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Family Feud, and Who’s Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader? Such games can be adapted to almost any subject for fun, whole-class learning. There are also hundreds of appropriate course-specific programs and online tutorials, many available for free, that gain students’ attention, and make teaching and learning more fun and effective. The consensus among educators is that giving students opportunities to create products from newly-learned material will help them remember, understand, and appreciate it better.
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According to Benjamin Bloom, synthesis, or creating, is one of the most complex forms of thinking. Many computer technologies give students opportunities to synthesize instruction. For example, students can create slideshows with pictures, text, hyperlinks, and animations to show what they have learned. Paint, iMovie, online whiteboards, and other animation or illustration programs allow students of all ability levels to showcase what they have learned; it often forces them to do ore research in order to create products that their peers will see or judge.
Communicate More Frequently and Effectively If students and parents don’t understand exactly what is happening in the classroom, then learning won’t be as meaningful as it could be. Thus, communication is an important part of a comprehensively effective teaching program. Email is an obvious tool that teachers can use to keep parents informed. Message templates can make sending emails fast and easy. Snail mail is easier than before using technology, with mail merge, Word templates, and printed reports from grading programs. Newer online technologies give teachers even more options.
Blogs are becoming a standard way of informing families of class activities. Students can collaborate and offer comments on the class blog, and pictures enhance messaging. Technology is an important part of most high school students’ lives, and teachers can leverage it to make teaching more efficient and effective. Educational technology, especially computers and computer-related peripherals, have grown tremendously and have permeated all areas of our lives. It is incomprehensible that anyone today would argue that banks, hospitals, or any industry should use less technology.
Most young people cannot understand arguments that schools should limit technology use. For them, use of the Internet, for example, plays a major role in their relationships with their friends, their families, and their schools. Teens and their parents generally think use of the Internet enhances the social life and academic work of teenagers: The Internet is becoming an increasingly vital tool in our information society. More Americans are going online to conduct such day-to-day activities as education, business transactions, personal correspondence, research and information-gathering, and job searches.
Each year, being digitally connected becomes ever more critical to economic and educational advancement and community participation. Now that a large number of Americans regularly use the Internet to conduct daily activities, people who lack access to these tools are at a growing disadvantage. Therefore, raising the level of digital inclusion by increasing the number of Americans using the technology tools of the digital age is a vitally important national goal. (U. S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, & National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (2000, p. v) The very concept of the Internet would not be possible without technology. This is paralleled by the incredibly rapid growth of information that likely would not be possible without this technology. Research centers with no computers would arouse suspicion about the completeness, accuracy, and currency of their information because science and mathematics information grows daily and much of that new information can only be found through the use of technology. In fact, very few would argue with the statement that computers are essential to the work of professional scientists and mathematicians.
From the beginning of the computer age, educational researchers and practitioners have told us that for technology use to be successful in our schools it needed to be closely tied to school reform. Glennan and Melmed (1995) wrote: “Technology without reform is likely to have little value: widespread reform without technology is probably impossible” (pp. xix–xx. ). The unavoidable conclusion is that successful improvement of technology, science, and mathematics education is of high importance to our future.
In 2002, 100 high-tech executives met with President Bush to discuss the future of technology: They indicated Indeed, many researchers believe that using paper-and-pencil tests to assess student learning after students had been taught content through the use of technology is the wrong thing to do and the wrong focus of technology use. Russell and Haney (1997) studied the effects of test administration mode to see whether tests administered on computer versus paper-and-pencil have an effect on student performance on multiple-choice and written test questions.
The study found that significantly higher cognitive-level responses are written on computers than those written by hand: Today’s technology can offer adolescents a bridge from concrete to abstract thinking, enabling them to observe and create multiple representations of mathematical ideas: numerically, graphically, and symbolically. For example, students can use geometric construction software to investigate the relationship between the circumference and diameter of a circle. They can measure several round objects and record the circumference and diameter (numerical representation).
They can plot the values and estimate a “best fit” (graphical representation). Students can then determine the best fit equation (symbolic representation). information technologies such as word processing, calculators, spreadsheet tools, and the Internet can enable middle-grade students to begin learning higher communication and problem solving skills—abilities that are essential to mathematical thinking. Technology has been proved to accommodate learning styles and to be an effective motivator for students with specific learning needs.
Furthermore, students working in collaborative-team-learning settings appear to function better when learning events are accompanied by technology use. In addition, technology also is important when used to provide distance-learning opportunities to students who otherwise would not have access to course offerings. Distance education is especially important to students in rural settings because many high school courses that are necessary prerequisites in universities, such as higher mathematics and science offerings, are less available because of the fewer numbers of students in smaller schools.
The digital classroom takes advantage of being able to write on the tablet in a variety of programs because it makes that written work available anytime and anywhere. Students can submit their assignments to digital drop-boxes before class even begins, and teachers can carry them anywhere with their tablets. Students and teachers both retain copies of documents shared with each other, and they can collaborate online. The teachers can retain copies of annotations made on student work. Modeling of the use of the tablet: Teachers and administrators use their tablets in school meetings to take notes.
This modeling of digital note-taking occurs because we would not ask students to do something which we ourselves do not believe in. Furthermore, by taking the leap to do this ourselves, we increase our understanding of the process and we open doors for our own shared productivity and professional practice. Use of digital resources and digital tools: The digital teacher routinely uses digital resources and has his/her students use them for a variety of purposes including research, texts, and multimedia. Library databases are utilized to reach richer sources of information including peer-reviewed journals and expert-edited references books.
Digital versions of text books replace the paper version for in-class use. Students can easily navigate and use the digital resources and are able to annotate and insert comments on them. Digital tools like NoodleTools, Diigo, and Zoteroare used to support the research process by enabling students to easily track citation information, annotate web content, and organize and store web content. In a paper-based classroom, a student hands in a paper to the teacher, it gets graded and returned to the student who likely sticks it in his backpack, never to be seen again.
In the digital classroom students are putting their writing on blogs or posting PowerPoints, podcasts, or PhotoStories online. These digital products are viewed by more than only the teacher. Peers, classmates, and parents can access the student’s work to review and comment on it. Outside experts: Students might also have an occasional opportunity to communicate in some form with experts in the field. In the digital classroom it is understood that students must gain fluency searching, evaluating, manipulating, creating, and publishing information in a variety of media forms and formats.
Text, hypertext, blogging, audio, video, wikis, networks, social-networking, and other web2. 0 tools are used to support and take advantage of multiple learning styles and multiple intelligences. Have teachers feel that they are part of an innovation team. They could sign an “innovation contract” that we celebrate innvoation. Parents will thank you for this information. They love to be able to review their children’s assignments and grades online. The more you can involve parents, the more successful your outcomes will be. Digital projectors are THE most exciting classroom tool ever. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.
Project your laptop or desktop image on the screen for students to see you solve that math problem or examine a frog’s retina. Powerful technology! the Internet had its birth in the research and academic communities. It was created to allow the free and rapid flow of information to benefit higher learning. Let’s recapture that focus in our work, and enrich our teaching in the process! The world is experiencing an information explosion of unprecedented proportions. Not only is the volume of new information large, but it is also growing exponentially. Rapid changes in many fields are making basic knowledge and skills obsolete.
In the technological world of the 21st century, the meaning of the phrase “to know” means more than simply having information stored in one’s memory; it means having access to information and knowing how to use it. The challenge for education is to design technologies for learning that draw both from knowledge about human cognition and from practical application of how technology can facilitate complex tasks in the workplace. “Like training wheels,” computers enable learners to do more advanced activities, and engage in more advanced thinking and problem-solving than they could without such help (Pea, 1985).
In this rapidly transforming world, where employment requirements and fundamental literacy expectations are quickly changing, education must also change to meet these demands. The essence of education has been to transmit society’s cultural heritage to successive generations and to foster competencies will permit children to successfully participate in a society. To that end, Information technology must become an integral part of the general education curriculum so students are prepared to meet future technology challenges.