Shaping the Classroom for Tech

Since we started using laptops in my school along with the addition of a digital projector in my classroom the teaching and learning has became much more rich. It’s been a process though. Shaping Tech for the Classroom touches on some of my experiences from first dabbling and then doing things in old then new ways and finally doing new things in new ways. Training and finding the time is always an issue but I wouldn’t say I was ever “afraid to experiment” with new technology although letting students have the space to work effectively and not feel like you have to be in total control of what they are doing on their laptops is always a bit of a struggle for me. One of the things I don’t think the article mentions and that I have found important from my own experience, is the physical environment, and how small changes can make a dramatic impact when technology is implemented in the classroom. When we went with bigger desks this year it really allowed me to use all the resources I like using in teaching economics. Having students being able to have their laptop, textbooks, and mini whiteboards all easily accessible really improved our ability to quickly transition between activities and back again. I can quickly check student retention with the mini whiteboards and move on to another activity on the laptops with the textbook easily available for a quick resource check. To get teachers to buy in and get them using the technology you really have to provide them with not the just the tools, training and support to take risks but the physical environment to use them effectively. Something as simple as desks can have a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of technology integration.

I enjoyed the video on “when I become a teacher” but I really don’t see many of those teachers in the international setting (well maybe the occasional quiet one trying to become an administrator). On a similar theme check out Mr. Gump’s comment as he compares teachers to a box of…

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If you want to see more from this group check out the 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Educators.

2 thoughts on “Shaping the Classroom for Tech

  1. Jack-

    I agree with you that we “don’t see many of those teachers in the international setting.” I taught in Texas for ten years and saw a few. I think what breaks a lot of teachers and causes them to be worksheet junkies is the unreasonable expectations of standardized testing. I use to teach at a low performing school where we had test-prep hour everyday. It was only after our scores were satisfactory that we were allowed a degree of freedom in how we taught.

    Moving into international teaching eight years ago allowed me to really start teaching in a way that both challenges students and engaged them. Technology has been integral to these moves from video editing with kids to blogging to creating websites. I feel lucky to be in a school now where authentic experiences and pushing the technological expectations of the classroom are valued.

    Being ex-pat I have grieve for the state of many public schools in the States. I friends who tell me that it has gotten worse.

    • Thanks Ben for your comments. I sometimes find myself thinking what it would be like to someday go back to the public schools for a couple of years. I only ever did my student teaching in one and other than an early stint teaching in Hong Kong to class sizes of 40-45 immigrant students in one school, I don’t have wealth of knowledge about today’s challenges faced by public school teachers. I too have friends at home who don’t like where things are going and a couple who have actually said they wouldn’t recommend young people getting into the profession. It’s a great profession, so when I hear this, it really gives me an idea how some teachers are feeling about the state of education in North America. There seems to be a lot of discussion about this and educational technology and communication technologies are now playing a role in this discussion so that has to be a good thing.

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