TeachNow Module 3 Unit 1 Activities 1-2 Reflection and Video on Using Technology in the Classroom

Using Digital Tools in the Classroom

Icebreakers for lower level English learners

I walked away from this activity really understanding how important it is to have icebreakers that can be amended. I really like the yoga icebreaker where we do funny yoga poses for super low level English learners since icebreakers are all about making students feel more comfortable. But, the survey really made me consider that while my students English levels are high, it’s important to create a task where the difficulty can be taken up or down like the “All my friends like” game in the discussion.

Reflection about Digital Tools in the Classroom

During the survey, I learned several things about my Advanced Reading and Discussion students who happen to all be male. First, while the students have the ability to answer the questionnaire based on their test answers from the previous semester, they still lacked confidence. So, I  gave it to them orally. It’s good to know that they need to build more confidence in writing full sentences.

Second, I confirmed with question 1 whether a student felt he/she was given enough attention at home daily. The students who said they’re parents don’t have time to play with them are often the students who need just a little extra attention to stay on task. The survey lets me know which students most likely will need that extra attention, so I can head it off before they become disruptive.

In addition, I confirmed that my students for the most part are part of a higher socio-economic class. This is indicated by the jobs their parents held. This means that in my teaching, I should probably work to subtly work in how to view things from other people’s perspectives particularly those with less privilege.

I was pleasantly surprised that many of them felt more comfortable speaking English than their native Japanese according to question 6. So perhaps having them verbalise a thought as an intermediate step before writing it down will help build their writing confidence.

Learning about each student’s favorite food gave me something personal to remind them that I knew and bond with them a bit. They actually really enjoyed answering that question, and we had an icebreaker like discussion about what we all liked and whether you should eat healthy or not healthy foods.

Finally, I learned that they are open to technology since many regularly use technology at home (video games/computers/youtube videos), and most of them were interested in science. So, we read an article about Pepper the smart robot this week, and they loved it. It’s the most engaged in debate I’ve ever seen them in. They were actually reluctant to leave the class which was so wonderful.

The survey was so helpful. I think my students will learn a lot more because I know a bit more about them.

Interviews with my Teachers/Professors and the Video

I interviewed several teachers about using digital tools in the classroom. I created the questionnaire they filled out and then used it to make a video. It had to be 7 minutes or under. Check out the video below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OAZwF7ETJZe_fbIyyugVkbzMbZXUMNc6/view?usp=sharing

Transcript for teacher interviews on use of technology in the classroom

1. What was the most exciting way you were able to use technology in a lesson?

Teacher A: A bridge building activity where students had to research about bridges and work in small groups to design and build a strong bridge with a limited number of resources. This project used a very constructivist method to learning information focusing around the scientific/invention method. Students used both digital and physical technologies to make strong bridges.

Teacher B: I still love to use Powerpoint presentations – I know they are not the latest thing – but you can embed so much into them and they are awesome outlines.  When it works – I love using the  tech that allows you to respond live during a presentation and the votes/responses show up in real time – I especially love that it is anonymous.

Teacher C: Bluetooth is such a lifesaver. My (special needs) students sometimes need something to calm them quickly

Summary: Teacher number one said they loved a lesson focused on building a bridge for a science class using the investigation method. During this time, students were really excited and even used some app to create their own bridges in the digital world. Teacher number 2 really enjoys using Powerpoint because of the easy visual outline for students more visually oriented and access to live poles in the classroom to keep students more engaged. The final teacher mentioned that being able to access music anywhere has really helped calm her more easily stressed Student needs students.

2. What is one thing I should avoid when using technology in the classroom?

Teacher A:: Technology is not a one size fits all method to teach. Just like anything else you would use in the classroom think about the content knowledge, the pedagogical knowledge, and what technology solution can be used in combination with those. Also keep students actively engaged with technology. The less you use it the better. Let the students take control.

Teacher B: At some point technology will fail – often through no fault of your own – always have a back-up plan or lesson

Teacher C: Make sure you should use it. Also, don`t rely only on technology, you still need to teach.

Summary 2: Teachers number 1 pointed out something really important which is students  should actively participate with the technology to keep them engaged. Teacher number 2 indicated that you need a backup lesson at all times. And Teacher Number 3 like Teacher number 1 thought that technology was something to enhance teaching to many different learners, but just using technology wouldn`t create a classroom where every learner can succeed.

3. Do you talk about Internet bullying/ Internet etiquette ever in your instruction?

Teacher A: Yes, I taught many lessons on it. As a Technology teacher, I would teach every grade something. I love this video to start a discussion. I made many resources I can share with you if I get an email address. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgCNGvL0g1g

Teacher B: I don’t discuss cyber bullying – but I do discuss/teach the etiquette of How to respond to an email, text etc…I actually teach this  to my entering UC 160 class – as they often to do not realize it is not appropriate to be so informal or to use so many abbreviations  – particularly when responding to a professor, teacher, boss.

Teacher C: No. But that`s because I usually just use videos and music. Our school doesn`t have school laptops or anything. But it`s an awesome idea.

Summary: All the teachers had different takes on this question. Teacher 1 said he taught his students both about Internet bullying, and safety. But they didn`t really touch on how to write and email and such. Plus, he mentioned a fabulous video resource that I`ll link in the submission section. Teacher number 2 said her class at University focused more on the etiquette portion of technology with many students struggling to write a professional email to a teacher, professor, or boss. What a useful life skill! And Teacher number 3 reminded me that when schools aren`t adequately funded and given technology to practice on that sometimes the teachers aren`t really given the opportunity to teach important life skills like how to protect your information online or prevent/stop online bullying.

4. Do you find that some groups of students get frustrated when you introduce technology into the classroom?

Teacher A:: Students are typically excited about the use of technology. Anytime, I encountered a student who was frustrated, it was because I had failed to engage that students interest in the topic. However, technology does fail and when it does students get frustrated just as easy as us. Always have a backup plan… or two.

Teacher B: Yes, I would say 1/3 of students are technologically challenged.  They struggle to use Blackboard and often do not use or read their email messages (which is how bosses and professors send information).

Teacher C: Yes, me and the students get frustrated with it all the time. But sometimes it`s the lesson not the computers.

Summary: Teacher number 1 said his students always were excited about technology, and usually it was the lesson not the technology that frustrates them. He also re-entered the need for a backup plan. Teacher number 2 indicated that she encountered resistance by college students to non-intuitive/potentially buggy programs. But since companies use these types of programs, that it was worthwhile to teach students to use programs like Blackboard. Teacher Number 3 said sometimes it was the lesson and sometimes it was the technology.

5. How do you deal with students that get frustrated with new technology?

Teacher A: I took extra time to get to know those students and figure out what gets them excited in life. Every student has something that interests them. By building a good rapport with them, it will help you in every aspect of teaching regardless of whether you`re teaching with technology or not.

Teacher B: I always offer to help them get started ex – using Blackboard.  However, I find that students rarely take me up on this offer and simply complain about the technology not working.

Teacher C: I try to be patient and work with them on it individually.

Summary: Teacher number one said a good rapport in combination with using their interests in assignments was a good way to deal with the frustration. Teacher number two said she always offered to help them, but at the college level they rarely asked any questions. Teacher number 3 said she tried to give them individual instruction.

6. Do your students ever seem extra motivated with technology?

Teacher A: I have always been surprised by which students are more motivated. I was teaching typing earlier this year, and I was doing all the lessons with the kids online. I have one 4th grader who completed twice as many lessons as I did simply because they thought typing was a really cool skill. And they really wanted to learn. It became a motivator for the whole class to keep up with.

Teacher B: Many students are move savvy about technology than I am – but sometimes when they see the final product of a presentation – they do get excited

Teacher C: Yes, I work with non-compliant students. Sometimes a video or music is the only way to motivate them.

Summary: All the teachers indicated that students became more motivated when using technology. Many of them who ordinarily wouldn`t participate or become bored would do extra work when using a cool new technological tool.

7. What`s your favourite piece of technology that you`ve used in the classroom?

Teacher A:I love using a SMART board. It allows you to navigate the room instead of being stuck behind the computer. Students can use the board easier, and there are a variety of interactive ways to use it. Your creativity is the limit.

Teacher B: I actually love to use You tube videos interspersed with a lesson to highlight a point.  I also love the multipurpose nature of  Blackboard.

Teacher C: Bluetooth! I can`t say it enough.

Summary: Teacher one said SMART boards have changed the game for him. He`s able to move around the classroom which would help keep them engaged as well as use stuff like live polls to engage student interest. Teacher number 2 mentioned  her favorite tools were embedding videos to really highlight a point and using Blackboard which allowed the classes to access lots of resources and also discuss topics online. Teacher number 3 mentioned Bluetooth again because music is so important to her students.

8. If your school allowed it or does allow it, would you have an online forum for students in your class to connect with? In addition, please describe the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

Teacher A: I tried once with an 8th grade class using Google forums. I shut it down within a week because the students were trying to hide their identities and abusing the comment feature by putting down other students. While I think it can work in a high school setting be ready to monitor it on a daily basis and know the tools you have for monitoring and controlling the forum. In graduate school, I used it a lot, and it was extremely helpful. But you have to weight how much time you`ll have to spend monitoring the board versus how effective it is. Personally, I won`t use it again during a middle school class.

Teacher B: Yes, online forums are encouraged and many other professors/teachers use both these and the “chats”.  I have not yet done so – but hope to add it to my repertoire soon.

Teacher C: I think that sounds like a good idea. Some teachers use online software like we did at Olentangy for homework. But some people cheated by logging into other people`s accounts to figure out the answers. But it saves a lot of time for teachers who can find everything fast.

Summary: Teacher 1 pointed out that while discussion forums were very helpful, a teacher might have to spend an inordinate amount of time monitoring the board. Therefore, he wouldn`t use it again unless he had students older than middle school. Teacher 2 said she`d never used it but she felt it was really useful based on what she`d heard from other professors. Teacher number 3 mentioned that sometimes online forums are a hotbed for cheating. But it had the potential to save a lot of time for teachers.

9. Have you ever used a technology such as Skype or E-mail to connect with classes from another culture?  If so, why did you choose to do that? If not, would you be interested in doing that and why or why not.

Teacher A: I tried a few times, but school privacy laws are difficult to navigate. And at the schools I`ve worked at, the families did not respond to the permission forms sent home. I do think it is a great resources, and I would attempt to do it again.

Teacher B: I have not used either Skype or E-mail to contact another class.  However, I personally use Facetime to speak with my daughter in Japan all the time.  Yes, I think it is a great idea and not expensive and widely available.

Teacher C: It`s not really useful for my class. (She teaches Special Needs) But it sounds like a good idea for a language class.

Summary: All three teachers indicated that it might be a useful tool, but they hadn`t been able to use it either for privacy reasons or because it didn`t fit well into their class. But they all felt it would be an excellent use of technology.

10. If you could invent a piece of technology for the classroom, what would you invent and why?

Teacher A: I don`t think I would invent anything new. I would simply improve on current software. I would either improve on Google Classroom to make it more versatile for teachers, or I would improve Apple products to create more common digital space such as a google classroom for iPads. Both of these would help make 1:1 even better in today`s classrooms. Teachers often complain that their grades, assignments, etc. are all in different programs. Uniting these under a platform such as Google Classroom would make teachers jobs easier and would allow more time for them to work one on one or with small groups while students collaborated on assignments using their technology. This also could provide classrooms choices.

Teacher B: Tech that does away with the need for buffering to lessen the time necessary to watch a short video; and something easier/more intuitive than “Google Forms” to solicit answers to questions that are available online.

Teacher C: That`s really hard. Maybe something that would allow my special needs students to feel safe all the time. Many of them react unpredictably when stressed out.

Summary:

Teachers 1 and 2 both liked the current technology citing Googles programs specifically. But they felt it needed to be made more intuitive and united under one program. The third teacher said she wished that she had a piece of technology that would instantly calm a distressed student which makes sense because she deals with many distressed students in special needs

Script for Video

Summary: Teacher number one said they loved a lesson focused on building a bridge for a science class using the investigation method. During this time, students were really excited and even used some app to create their own bridges in the digital world. Teacher number 2 really enjoys using Powerpoint because of the easy visual outline for students more visually oriented and access to live poles in the classroom to keep students more engaged. The final teacher mentioned that being able to access music anywhere has really helped calm her more easily stressed Student needs students.

Summary 2: Teachers number 1 pointed out something really important which is students  should actively participate with the technology to keep them engaged. Teacher number 2 indicated that you need a backup lesson at all times. And Teacher Number 3 like Teacher number 1 thought that technology was something to enhance teaching to many different learners, but just using technology wouldn`t create a classroom where every learner can succeed.

Summary 3: All the teachers had different takes on this question. Teacher 1 said he taught his students both about Internet bullying, and safety. But they didn`t really touch on how to write and email and such. Plus, he mentioned a fabulous video resource that I`ll link in the submission section. Teacher number 2 said her class at University focused more on the etiquette portion of technology with many students struggling to write a professional email to a teacher, professor, or boss. What a useful life skill! And Teacher number 3 reminded me that when schools aren`t adequately funded and given technology to practice on that sometimes the teachers aren`t really given the opportunity to teach important life skills like how to protect your information online or prevent/stop online bullying.

Summary: 4 Teacher number 1 said his students always were excited about technology, and usually it was the lesson not the technology that frustrates them. He also re-entered the need for a backup plan. Teacher number 2 indicated that she encountered resistance by college students to non-intuitive/potentially buggy programs. But since companies use these types of programs, that it was worthwhile to teach students to use programs like Blackboard. Teacher Number 3 said sometimes it was the lesson and sometimes it was the technology.

Summary 5 Teacher number one said a good rapport in combination with using their interests in assignments was a good way to deal with the frustration. Teacher number two said she always offered to help them, but at the college level they rarely asked any questions. Teacher number 3 said she tried to give them individual instruction.

Summary 6: All the teachers indicated that students became more motivated when using technology. Many of them who ordinarily wouldn`t participate or become bored would do extra work when using a cool new technological tool.

Summary 7: Teacher one said SMART boards have changed the game for him. He`s able to move around the classroom which would help keep them engaged as well as use stuff like live polls to engage student interest. Teacher number 2 mentioned  her favorite tools were embedding videos to really highlight a point and using Blackboard which allowed the classes to access lots of resources and also discuss topics online. Teacher number 3 mentioned Bluetooth again because music is so important to her students.

Summary:8 Teacher 1 pointed out that while discussion forums were very helpful, a teacher might have to spend an inordinate amount of time monitoring the board. Therefore, he wouldn`t use it again unless he had students older than middle school. Teacher 2 said she`d never used it but she felt it was really useful based on what she`d heard from other professors. Teacher number 3 mentioned that sometimes online forums are a hotbed for cheating. But it had the potential to save a lot of time for teachers.

Summary:9 All three teachers indicated that it might be a useful tool, but they hadn`t been able to use it either for privacy reasons or because it didn`t fit well into their class. But they all felt it would be an excellent use of technology.

Summary 10 Teachers 1 and 2 both liked the current technology citing Googles programs specifically. But they felt it needed to be made more intuitive and united under one program. The third teacher said she wished that she had a piece of technology that would instantly calm a distressed student which makes sense because she deals with many distressed students in special needs

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