Technology on the Rise K-PhD

The question of “what kind of educational experience changes lives?” is truly an important question. The goal of educators is to often have high impact on their students so they can go out with knowledge and change the world. However, my self I can only remember a handful of instructors/ classes that really had a strong impact on my learning experience or just me as a person, that is surprising to me as I reflect because I have been in school forever (straight fro high school 2009). It was interesting to find out through Kuh’s article that active learning practices was unsystematic at the undergraduate level of education. But now that I really think about it, it is really not surprising to me at all. I work as a substitute teacher for a awhile. And my GTA focuses on how to teach pre-service teachers science (STEM)  grades K-12 due to the lack of women and diversity in the STEM careers and higher education, this course that pre-service teachers have to take focuses on how teachers can present science in an engaging way. Focusing also on inquiry based learning and Understanding By Design (UBD) model (a backward design model focusing on doing the activity first then talking student through what they just say happening in the activity).

I know I went off on kind of a tangent but this idea of active learning not being systematic at the undergraduate level is not surprising because it is not systematic at the K-12 level (especially in sub filed like science) which is an interesting notion because everyone learns differently and I believe that all 5 senses need to be recognized as instructors teach material due to the fact that everyone attains knowledge and information in different ways.

As I substituted I saw alot of students using internet-based material and technology for learning, such as ipods, ipads, computers (especially for students that were known to act out. Instructions for me as a sub was to just “let them get on the computer”.  I mean yes it made my job easier to handle the rest of the class but to think of all the psycho-social impact that it had on these students that “acted out” is kind of scary. Smart boards are in the classroom there in no more white boards and all fundamental learning games are on the internet or technology based materials for these students. Only one teacher I saw still used and hand blocks and marbles to help teach the students to count. So network learning has taken place in all levels and areas of education. Can this be a good thing to keep society technically advanced? Yes. But I also think there needs to be a balance of networked based learning and the “old school way” of learning as well.

5 Replies to “Technology on the Rise K-PhD”

  1. This may seem like it is coming from left field, but I’m curious to see the studies in the future linking poor hand-eye coordination to excessive internet/technology use at a young age. Math, science, english, history knowledge aside… by having young children stare at a screen rather than use their hands and move around. There has to be some kind of kinesiological drawback to having children learn through screens. Just as cursive handwriting was pushed out of the elementary school curricula due to low demand, so may handwriting in general? Interesting to think about, regardless.

    1. NO not left field at all! I totally agree it just breaks my heart to see not just the kids that “act out” but all the students that are glued to the computer and imagine all the computer time they get at home too not a good combination. And Yes the handwriting situation was ridiculous! So how are they going to learn to sign the names on documents or even read old historical documents?…oh thats right technology will do it for them by then…

  2. I agree! I am a retired science teacher (do we know each other?) and have long believed in technology where it is effective, and not technology where it is not. When students collect data in an experiment, for instance, technology can either:
    –increase the number and accuracy of data so that analysis gives meaningful results, or
    –decrease the understanding of the physical processes students are investigating because they are too busy trying to understand the relationship of the magically appearing data to the physical processes the they observed.
    I think that you also get at the distinction between digital usership and digital authorship. Deep learning occurs when students create something new from their existing knowledge–at least it does when their creations are meaningful. Designing and facilitating experiences that allow students to do this and also teach the curriculum is hard! We should talk about what you are doing with your student teachers.

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