New Teachers

Technology in the classroom

Hi! I'm a prospective teacher who's been shadowing K-12 teachers over the last year or so as part of my classes and I was wondering how you all implement technology in the classroom?  I've been shadowing teachers of life science and some use technology more than others.  I think that simulations have the ability to encourage student inquiry, but often their presence seems to distract students from the learning.  What are your thoughts?

Kyler McKessy
Kyler McKessy
20 Activity Points

Hi Kyler

You raise an interesting point about some students being distracted when using simulations or other applications. It's been my experience that students need to know that whatever the activity (technology-based, hands-on, etc.), it's part of helping them learn. They may see activities as something extra, a break from traditional lectures, or a reward for doing something else, when in reality, the teacher has chosen the activitiy for a specific learning goal. Some students will make the connection themselves, but others may need a reminder as to the learning goal supported by the simulation, game, investigation: This simulation will help you see how different variables can affect the outcome. We're using this app to collect data on... This looks like a game, but notice how... In this investigation we'll explore... It's also important to debrief (orally, in notebooks, etc.) after any activity to help students summarize what they are learning.

Mary B

 

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7925 Activity Points

There's many ways to implement technology in the classroom.. If you have access to iPads, there's tons of apps you can use. One is called Plickers which is a great assessment tool also. You only need one iPad or a smart phone with photo capabilities. Here is a link with more information: https://www.plickers.com/  It's a great tool and can be used for any subject. 

We also use Code.org and do Hour of Code in December. I've also used Ozobots and had my students design programs for them. 

Brenda Velasco
Brenda Velasco
2280 Activity Points

Great question, Kyler.

First off, there are many different kinds of technology not just laptops and tablets.  Phones, sensors, meters, cameras also count.  As well, software technology is not restricted to animations, simulations, videos, etc. Spreadsheets, video-editing, photo-manipulation, graphics all have a place in the science classroom.   I think the big thing to remember is that it is not the technology, itself, that is important but how you use it as a part of science education. 

With respect to simulations - as has already been said, there has to be a purpose, some kind of review and a debrief.  Make sure you know what you want the students to get out of the simulation.  

Ways in which I have used technology in addition to simulations have included:

  • graphing lab data using spreadsheets (my students didn't hand-draw a graph for me this millenium - I attached a file that I used to teach my students)
  • video frame analysis of motion using cell phones
  • infrared thermometers to capture the heat of flames, beakers and boiling water.
  • electronic probes from several different vendors to measure distance, velocity, temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide, light, magnetic fields, 
  • arduino and raspberry pi microprocessors with various electronic sensors to teach coding and data capture.
  • video and photography through a microscope.
  • scripting, filming and editing public service announcements, mini-documentaries or science shows.
  • creating websites to highlight climate change and/or conservation issues
  • wikis to discuss issues in science
  • creating brochures, pamphlets and posters on everything from endangered species to digestive disorders to information packets on plastics. 
  • video conferencing with a scientist (there are several organizations that offer this as an outreach)

Hope this helps!

Gabe Kraljevic

 

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Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
2235 Activity Points

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