Observations from the Field

Observing the students in your classroom

It has been very interesting observing my students with a focus on technology usage. The students are given Chromebooks and are responsible for the condition of their given equipment. In each observation, they have not used an installed software. Instead, they usually go to a website called Ducksters or take Cornell Notes through Google Docs, which each student can find in their Google Classroom.

With their laptops, students are expected to follow along with the lecture for the day. They are required to take notes, and at the end of each unit, turn in their Cornell Notes. Students are also on their phones a lot, especially students that have disengaged from the lecture. Uninterested students watch TikToks and message each other. There have been many occasions where students slip in AirPods and listen to Youtube series/episodes during lectures.

I don’t see how technology is facilitating learning. The students were in trouble at my last observation because many of them copy and paste from the lecture to their Cornell Notes. While plagiarism is wrong, I thought about the students’ perspective. What is the point of the Cornell Notes? I went around to several students and asked about their thoughts on the Cornell Notes. Not one student told me they use the notes to study. They complete the notes simply to get a grade. I then saw students participate in a review game in which they were allowed to use the devices to look up answers. The idea was to reference their Cornell Notes to answer the questions. When asked questions, students would refer to Google immediately to search for answers. Not one student referenced their Cornell Notes. I was left thinking about how we could stimulate these students to engage through technology.

From my point of view, technology is not viewed as a tool. It seems to me that technology is viewed as a necessary evil. Students need their computers to take notes and research information for activities. However, technology is not viewed as a tool to further the capabilities of the students. Students are always under threat to have their phones taken away or to close their laptops, but how can they use their technology as a catalyst to learn? I think students need to have more autonomy at Richmond Heights. The teacher only allows students to look at Duckster, and I feel that it constrains the students.

Observing your cooperating teacher

My mentor teacher is given a school-issued Chromebook, but she also brings her Apple Macbook (which I think is interesting). The teacher uses a Smartboard and uses an HDMI cord to connect her Macbook to the HDMI. She manages her class using Google Classroom, and she has her 7th Grade students use Ducksters.

I would describe my mentor teacher’s use of technology as very traditional. I saw parallels to my education experience. She would lecture with Google Slides for 15-20 minutes; students would take Cornell notes, then she would give them an activity. She often would turn on her Pandora station and play music while the students worked on the activity.

The smartboard facilitates a lot of teaching. It allows my mentor teacher to off-load information and to make sure the students understand the instructions for the activity she wants them to do. The smartboard also allows media to be played. My mentor teacher has been showing clips of Roots, which has allowed students to connect to conditions of slavery. I have seen my mentor teacher impede learning by assuming students know instructions to the activity because she has the instructions displayed. She will put up the slide with instructions and have the students read then begin. I often hear students say, “What are we supposed to be doing?” This assumption of knowledge has impeded the class because there is no example to guide the students.

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Educational Technology in the World | David

ED386 & ED586 educational technology integration, workshop and field study

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