The following are anecdotes of instances in which the use of technology in my experiences made a particularly powerful impression on me.

A.) We were studying cellular organelles in my sixth grade life science class, and were looking at the chloroplast of a plant cell in the internet. One of the students began laughing while I was explaining the structure of the chloroplast, and its related function, and so I stopped to ask what was so funny. She said, "Look at the stroma! It looks like a dancing couple!" We then spent five minutes while each student looked for the image of the dancing couple in the stroma...some found it, some didn't, but no one forgot what the chloroplast and the stroma looked like!

B.) In the same class, during a lab using stations, I had the students working with an interactive physiology website on the one computer in the room while I was at a different station. After the students left, I realized that the screen saver on the computer had been changed to an image of the skeletal system. I was unable to remove it, and so in the process of finding the student who had done so, I found out about "wall-papering", a method of pasting a picture on the computer screen, similar to a screensaver. I have since had to take precautions with leaving students on the computers alone, as this was an inappropriate use of the computer, and one that could be greatly misused. There have been several incidents this year involving dishonorable computer use in the school, which require that teachers be more controlled and careful about computer use in the classroom. The reality that the students know more about programming and down-loading information than we do is a serious one, and demands not only a response, but much more continuing education in the field of technology for teachers. We do need to "keep up with the students"!

C.) One of the coolest things I have used the web for has been for current events. This has been particularly useful for the earth science class this year as they have been studying El Nino, and its effects on our environment. There have been innumerable projects on this phenomenon which have been based on daily data collection from the web about the worldwide weather patterns. This has proved to be a fantastic opportunity to use the experiences and current events of our students' lives in order to teach them the basic levels of earth science!


Future Uses:

I have been found my own experiences with technology in classrooms as a student to be the most helpful ones for gaining the courage and knowledge to try new things. The ways in which teachers have introduced me to technology have proved to be the best learning experiences. I have written here a description of the most outstanding of these experiences, as examples of concrete ways technology can be incorporated into the classroom.

A.) The sixth grade class at the William Penn Charter School does a trimester-long project in which they create a museum. They are split into six different civilizations, and are required to research the communities, clothing, artifacts, history, food, and culture of their civilization. They then create a museum based on their research in which they dress in the costume of their ancient civilization, present artifacts and food they have made. They are required to finish a portfolio which includes much of their research and writing about their civilization. This year, for the first time, the students were able to create a website on which they presented their museum. The process of compiling and writing the information and illustrations that they have used to create the website was a long one, but the product is most impressive. The students are quite proud of their work, and have every right to be, as it is very well-done.

B.) Homework check websites are sprouting up everywhere, and the number of hits they get are amazing! An exponential number of the students we teach in class have access to the internet, either at school or at home. Several of the departments in the school have created these websites at which students can check their homework assignment, do bonus questions, find extra information and ideas, and research the subjects they are studying in class. This is a move that every department must make in the next few years, as it is widely-used and extremely helpful to many students!


Back to the main page