What Are Classroom Technologies

smart-key

Hardware

An Interactive Whiteboard is one of the many technologies which are revolutionizing our classrooms. Anything that can be done on a computer monitor, can be replicated on the interactive white board. Research findings indicated that teachers developed various teaching strategies for integrating IWBs into their teaching to increase their interactions with students (Miller, Glover & Averis, 2005), to smooth the teaching process (Smith et al., 2005), to help explain complex concepts (Lopez, 2010) and maintain students’ attention (Wall, Higgins & Smith, 2005), and to increase the opportunities for adapting other classroom materials (Miller et al., 2005).

The following video shows some teacher feedback on IWB.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMqlDMxn50U

Research has repeatedly demonstrated that students learn better when they are fully engaged and that multisensory, hands-on learning is the best way to engage them (Miller, Glover & Averis, 2005). Interactive whiteboards facilitate multisensory learning whether it is a collaboration exercise for math problem solving or a Google Earth tour of the Amazon rainforest

While most teachers use this easy-to-use technology to smooth the teaching and learning process, those that are incompetent in computer knowledge face some challenges. In many schools now, teachers have Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) inside the classrooms, yet they are doing ‘chalk-and-talk thing’ (Walker 2002a, p. 2) and pen-paper based assessment. They stand at the front lecturing instead of letting the technology do the job.

Some researchers also showed that teachers perceived reasons for not using IWBs including lack of time to design instructional lessons (Higgins, Beauchamp & Miller, 2007), lack of professional training and related teaching software, as well as difficulties in solving technological problems (Slay et al., 2005).

Having said this, teachers have various reasons to use or not to use IWBs.

 

Affordance of interactive whiteboards include:

  • Multimedia lessons and presentations including audio and video
  • Collaborative problem solving
  • Showcasing student projects and presentations
  • Virtual field trips
  • Recorded lessons that can be used by substitute teachers
  • Documentation of student achievement

 

Software 

When should students start word processing? — Word processing software can be introduce to students as young as 4 or 5 years old. Some educators feel that word processing will free students from the physical constraints of handwriting while others worry that it will make students unwilling to develop handwriting skills and I believe it is an essential fine-motor skills.

Is it necessary to teach keyboarding skills? Some educators feel that students will never become really productive on the computer until they learn 10-finger keyboarding. Others feel that the extensive time spent on keyboarding instruction and practice could be better spent on more important skills and that students will pick up typing skills on their own.

What effects does word processing have on handwriting? —I believe that word processing diminishes students handwriting, ostensibly because of infrequent opportunities to use their handwriting skills.

 What impact does word processing have on assessment?-  Some researchers believe that certain features and capabilities of word-processing environments can facilitate writing and revising their work (Owston, Murphy, Wideman, 1992) thus can be beneficial during assessment.

 Is the auto correction of spelling a problem? – When it comes to using spell check, Professor Johnson says that she thinks it is a “wonderful tool” which can help to “free up” the higher parts of our brain. “A machine can take care of the spelling. But a machine can’t write a novel,” she says.

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