Teaching with Technology
Educators today should not ignore the call to incorporate the use of technology in their classrooms. Every day a new technology is developed; and every day the use of technology becomes more commonplace, especially as mobile technologies, such as the smart phone, evolve. People can obtain information with just a swipe of their finger on a device that is connected to the Internet. Educational institutions that encourage faculty to incorporate technology in the classroom will bring teaching and learning to the 21st century and help students to be successful in today’s high-tech society. In this blog, I will discuss a few technologies used in the college classroom, those which ones I embrace to enhance my student’s learning, those which require further training on my part, as well as ways to foster further technological and pedagogical professional development.
A Few Technology Resources
- Blackboard (Learning Management System – LMS)
- Smart Boards
- Classroom Networked Computers with Overhead Projectors
- WebEx and GoTo Meeting (Live conferencing software)
- Office 365, Office Online and Free Office Download
I embrace all of the above mentioned technologies to enhance my classroom teaching. A LMS not only allows students easy access to instructional materials, it serves as a great, all-in-one communication and collaboration tool that can be used for online teaching as well as facilitating a face-to-face class. Technologies in the classroom, such as networked computers, overhead projectors, and smart boards, assist the instructor to bring active learning into the classroom. A college-wide E-mail system along with free software programs that enable students to create electronic documents that can be shared by everyone, creates a standard protocol for communication. Finally, being able to conduct live web conferences with students, especially those only enrolled in online courses, creates an atmosphere of collaboration, student engagement, and a sense of community in a cyberspace environment.
A Challenged Technology
The only technology listed above that I am uncomfortable using is the smart board. After participating in a half-day training session led by our smart board vendor, I admit that I have not spent any additional time learning how to effectively use it in my classroom. As Brigham (2013) states, it is easy to underutilize a smart board because effective training takes time. As a result, many faculty use it improperly (Brigham, 2013). Although smart boards are more commonly used in K-12 classrooms, they are more widely used in education-type college programs (pre-service K-12 teachers) (Brigham, 2013, p. 196). My only experience, thus far, has been to use the smart board to display my power points. The time required to learn this technology has been my enemy.
Professional Development (Smart Board)
Additional training on how to incorporate the features of the smart board into my classroom would need to be self-motivated. For example, I could visit the vendor’s website to learn how to use the smart board features. Instructional videos and scholarship of teaching and learning articles could be accessed through the Web; or, I could ask for assistance from a colleague who is proficient in using the smart board. Learning to effectively use the features of the smart board would enable me to bring more dynamic and active learning activities into my classroom.
Continued Assistance with Technology
Improving technological and pedagogical support should be the goal of any college, especially with technology constantly changing and evolving. According to Clemmons (2015), it literally takes a village to effectively get faculty on board with using technology in the classroom. Faculty assistance should come in the form of support from a college IT department, academic departments, colleagues, as well as professional development opportunities. In order to ensure that faculty effectively utilize technology in the classroom, they must be knowledgeable not only in their discipline, but also in how to integrate the technology and adapt their pedagogy (Matherson, Wilson, & Wright, 2014).
Clemmons, R. (2015). It takes a village: Boosting faculty instructional technology use. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/events/educause-connect-san-diego/2015/it-takes-village-boosting-faculty-instructional-technology-use
Matherson, L. H., Wilson, E. K., & Wright, V. H. (2014). Need TPACK? Embrace sustained professional development. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 81(1), 45-52.
Tara J. Brigham (2013) Smart Boards: A reemerging technology. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 32(2), 194-202, doi: 10.1080/02763869.2013.776903