Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Technology in the Classroom

ashley's picture

Given the nature of our course and our affinity towards the inclusion of technology, as well as comments made via Twitter recently, I’ve been considering the impact technology can have in other educational settings than our own.

I’ve been thinking back on my own education and the slowly growing incorporation of technology into it. I remember when it used to be if you had a projector in your classroom you had advanced technology. How is technology currently used in a public high school? When I was a senior in high school, we had ONE SmartBoard in the school, in my A.P. Physics class, and we must have used it about two or three times throughout the duration of the school year. For the most part it was off to the side of the room and no one was inclined to use it. When our teacher brought it out, it was mostly for play - what he was showing us was physics-related but it was just for fun as it was after we had already taken the A.P. exams, so it was never really used in the daily lessons.

On a visit to a public high school last year, I talked with some teachers who expressed frustrations with the increase in technology brought into their rooms as they did not know how to use the products brought in, i.e. SmartBoard or otherwise, and were given no instruction as to how best to incorporate them into the lessons nor any orientation towards their functions.

I wonder what other technology, if any, is currently being brought into public schools, and if there has been any address towards the need for orientation on their usage for educators. And of that technology brought in, how much of it is being used on a regular basis? Is it useful? Productive to the learning environment? If useful and productive, is it more so than traditional modes of teaching? 



alesnick's picture

tech in schools

The idea of tech being "brought in" to schools is interesting in its own right, when we consider how it is already there. Many ed writers who are enthusiastic about tech comment that students and increasingly teachers "power down" when they cross the school threshold, and set down media that they use constantly outside of school.  The boundaried quality of schools comes through very clearly in your post.  What does this suggest about how literacy is understood and taught there?

kwyly's picture

Technology as a Key Part of the Classroom?

Ashley, your great post expressed questions that I had also been thinking about this week. In middle and high school there were a few SmartBoards that were used once in a while, but standards in classrooms were usually overheads, projectors, videos, and internet resources. In elementary and middle school, computer class was a time to practice typing and learn how to effectively research. Generally, I would not say that being technological literate, besides typing and familiarity with how to effectively use a computer, was a major part of my schooling.

This differs from how I have seen technology in my field placement at a Quaker school. Although a few years have passed from when I was in school myself, I can still see differences in how the school approaches technology as an integrated part of elementary and middle school education. There is a technology class that meets two or three times a week that all students go to. Instead of just typing and using the internet, this class presents students with the opportunity to learn a myriad of ways to use technology effectively. In my experience visiting the class, students have completed a range of activities; they use websites and practice typing, but they also learn how to create websites and to use social media websites that are specifically created for schools. A computer is taught as the source of many effectives tools that should be utilized; programs such as powerpoint and excel are taught so early that they will soon not be skills that are specifically noted as necessary for jobs. Students in this class, and others like it, are reaching a new level of literacy in the technological realm that is becoming more and more expected. Other subjects, such as English and Social Studies, has their curricula planned around technological influences. What does this emphasis on technology mean for the future of our schools? How will students in under resourced schools fare with a lack of technological instruction? I think it is key to note that the internet serves as a gateway to learning these skills that are also taught in schools; for those who don't get instruction in a school, if they are able to use the internet they can also learn some of these taught skills. For example websites like Khan Academy ( help teach concepts to those in a more accessible way way (if you have a computer). I am interested in talking to my placement teacher about how often he includes technology in what lessons he teaches; I am curious to see if he often plans lessons that don't require specific learned skills or if he prefers to integrate his own lessons into the technology curriculum.