Monday, October 7, 2013

In the year 2000 / Tech in my placement (ED504)

I have a very short commute most mornings to my placement because, as I have previously mentioned, my placement school is the very high school that I graduated from a decade ago. This has given me the ability to compare how the use of technology has changed in the school since I attended.

We have added two more computer labs since I attended. One computer lab is new, while one of the "new" computer labs came from dividing an oversized computer lab into two smaller labs. Each classroom features the same 27 inch TV mounted to the wall from when I was walking down the halls. Nowadays the morning announcements feature much better graphics, including green screen backgrounds for the students/anchors sitting at their mock news desks. Clearly, the TV and communication classrooms have upgraded their equipment. A wireless network spans the entire school and a handful of new routers were installed over the summer to help make the coverage more reliable.

Inside the math classroom, little has changed in terms of technology. The overhead projector has been replaced by a Doc-Cam, LCD projector and a laptop combination. Every classroom I have seen has a similar setup for the projector. We can contrast that with the blackboards that hang next to the projector screen; we still use chalk in most of the classrooms. We have a classroom set of TI-81 calculators (The TI-81 was discontinued in 1996). My mentor teacher has a pair of Windows ME laptops set up in the corner of the room in case we ever need to use them for student projects. The technology insides the classroom itself has not changed much.

One noticeable addition is the use of Skyward for managing attendance and grades. I have already heard from a few students who monitor their grades and assignments on a daily basis. Skyward also features a calendar with students homework in them. If a student misses a day they can download any handouts that they missed in class. The teachers and the students are connected. Another feature of technology in my placement is our use of the flipped classroom. Ten years ago, most students had dial-up or nothing. Now there is an expectation that all students will be able to watch videos online at home.

The ubiquity of students' cell phones is another technological change that I have noticed in my placement. Most of the students have a smartphone. Most of their smart phones have cracked screens. Many students wear earbuds like a piece of clothing. Most of my students think that if they put their cell phone under their desk that they can text and I won't notice.

There are a few things missing from my placement. We do not have a full time media specialist. The doors to the library are locked before lunch. Also, as I previously noted, we have a wireless network in the school. On the other hand, we don't have laptops. The teachers have laptops, but students do not. We don't have a one-to-one technology policy. We don't even have a laptop cart. We have WiFi throughout the school so that teachers don't have to bother about plugging in an ethernet cord to their computer and so that students don't have to use their cell phone data plan when are watching videos on the internet. I see technology in my placement, but I am not sure we use technology to further student learning any better than we did a decade ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment