Written to the song: Cocoa Butter Kisses — Chance the Rapper
“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world” — David Warlick
Today I am graduating from Teachers College. I am really looking forward to seeing my friends and my professors, and reminisce on this year’s growth and accomplishments. While I learned so much from working one-on-one with students and learning from experienced teachers, there was something that was missing from my teacher training — technology. Over the year, we had a total of a one hour technology workshop where we learned how to use a SMART board and a few other apps. One hour, that’s it. Additionally, our professors were required to dedicate one of their classes to teaching tech. Many were not helpful at all, and most of my professors sheepishly remarked that since many of them are retiring soon, it isn’t worth it for them to learn and to teach us. Teachers Colleges in Ontario are being extended to two years, and they will include a course on technology, my one-year classmates and I missed out on this field. How does technology benefit both teachers and students in the classroom?
Technology is proven to boost math skills, increase student motivation and even helps their retention rate. In one study, a class of eighteen students were given two presentations on animals. The first lesson was taught orally, and the second was presented using a technological platform. After both lessons the students were given a 17/18 students remembered more when they were taught using technology (Alex, 2007).
75% of teachers see the benefit of technology, but only 53% of teachers actually use it (Chen, 2014). What’s up with that y’all? Almost half of teachers — 49.3% haven’t been trained or haven’t received up-to-date training (Gurney-Read, 2015). As well, 50.7% of teachers state they don’t have up-to-date software (Frose-Germaine, 2017). What ends up happening is teachers end up using cool technologies like SMARTboards as projectors, missing out on the opportunity to create interesting and fun content for students. Why do i believe that incorporating technology truly matters? For teaching digital citizenship! Back when I was in elementary school, we used to have time in the computer lab where we would learn how to type, create Powerpoint presentations and time devoted to discussing how to research and find good sources. I believe that this is something that is not taught at schools. During my practicum, there were 5 different cases where students lost all of their work because they did not save their work on the computer, and these students are in Grade 6. Many teachers assume that since we live in a “digital age”, we no longer have the responsibility to teach tech as students “just know it”. While I do agree that technology is more frequently used than before, teachers still need to teach basic computer skills and digital citizenship, using technology and the internet in a productive, healthy and safe manner. Digital citizens apply critical thinking skills when using the internet, as well have the potential to interact and learn about individuals from around the world. To get to this place students need to learn the basics tech-knowledge, and teachers do too. Check out the infographic I created for some more stats and ideas: