Saturday, February 1, 2014

Journal Entry 1



Running Head:  Journal Entry 1



Journal Entry 1
    
Andrey Murphy

January 18, 2014

Institutional Affiliation:  VCC













Objective:
What is the role of technology in education?  As the chalkboard of the olden days is synonymous with the digital board of the present and the overhead projectors are being replaced by the digital devices that are more than capable of presenting multimedia to the whole class, this question is worth asking as time goes on.  Many educational institutions are trying to adapt to the new technological changes such as multimedia presentation, social networking and distant education. According to Factmonsters.com (Life-Changing Science Discoveries) majority of scientific discoveries were made before technology took ahold of the education system and these discoveries were accomplished using old school “absorb the information” methods, what makes one think that technology will deliver the information with better or at least the same results? As the parents of elementary and secondary school students voice their disappointment over the degrading education system, is it worth spending taxpayers’ dollars on seemingly useful gadgets which in the end may not result in better education. 

Reflective:
Fear of the unknown is a fear in itself.  With this in mind, I’ve launched into this course and had my doubts regarding the whole technology thing dissipated when I came upon this in the Teaching Naked textbook in which the writer states that “with technology, we can do more to ensure that all students can find a way into the material” (Bowen J.A.)  This short but precise line in our textbook was an eye opener as to what technology has to offer in the class room.  Up to this point, personally, I’ve been leery of technological changes until I started fixing imported vehicles during my free time.  I have lost count of how many times I had to go to YouTube to watch a video on how to perform certain repairs, or post questions on bulletin boards.  The vast expanse of information relating to other aspects of my life such as home improvements, travel etc. predominantly found on the web makes me wonder if the power of it could be incorporated in the classroom as well.   As I look back at the teaching I’ve done using old VHS tapes which were outdated or even trying to use the white board to explain complicated concepts of physics, I am very excited about exploring in this class what technology has to offer and the methods of using it for the benefit of everyone.  Even though technology offers a wide array of teaching tools, it also comes with a few negative implications.  How can the information be verified?  Is the knowledge being shared reliable and trustworthy?  Who makes the decision regarding what is presented and what is omitted?  Taking into consideration the positive as well as the negative effects of technology changes, it might be my responsibility to be a facilitator of the kind of technology being used in the classroom setting, which in turn will cut into my personal life. 

Interpretive:
My understanding is that technology could be used a lot more extensively in the classroom but my fear is that, firstly, it will take a lot of my personal time since I would have to partially or completely redesign the courses I might be teaching, and secondly, it may be hard to find good and reliable information.  The likes of programs like Skype could be a very interesting venue to explore since an educator from another city or country could lead instruction from a remote location, making it more interesting to the students.  All in all, technology does not have to cost a lot and many are available free of charge.  There is a slight disadvantage, in which there is too much reliance on the information on the web and lots of it is either not proven or completely useless.  I think that being a mediator as far as what information the students will present in the class will be my role.  On the other hand, there are huge benefits to introducing technology in the classroom.  According to U.S. Department of Education (Overview of Technology and Education Reform. n.d.) the benefits are:
-          increased motivation and self esteem
-          accomplishment of more technical tasks
-          more collaboration with peers
-          increased use of outside resources

One of the benefits of using technology is that the lessons can be customized to meet different learning styles.  These benefits seem to align with the thoughts of the author of the Teaching Naked textbook and even if one of these benefits is achieved by using technology, it’s a risk worth taking.

Decisional:
Once I’ve explored the benefits of technology through this course, I would like to look into bringing it into the classroom if the benefits outweigh the shortcomings.  In my personal life, I use Skype to stay in touch with my friends and relatives overseas and I believe it could be used with the same success in the classroom.  As I am completely unacquainted with Social Media such as Facebook or Twitter, I am looking forward to determining whether either one or both could be used as a communication tool with my students and also being able to organize a group study.  Having online lessons for tradespeople may seem like an impossible task at this time.  I am hoping to somehow make it work using technology, even though I am not completely sure at this time how it could be achieved, but I hope this course will be of assistance.  I had thought that technology will make my life more complicated by cutting into my personal life, since the students expect me to be available for them 24/7, but the feedback from the students confirms otherwise as per a video on Youtube.com (Benefits of using Facebook to connect with students and how to keep them engaged. 2013)  The following benefits of using technology outlined in this video are:  information gets checked constantly, information flow is quick, students can be organized in groups, material relating to class is posted online, easy communication to all students as a group.  As I start to understand the trends, it makes me wonder whether being connected to the learners may just readjust my work time around my personal time.  Even though initially technology will take a lot of my personal time and effort, I am willing to adopt it for the betterment of the students.




References:


Bowen J.A. (2012).  Teaching Naked. How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. p.55

Life-Changing Science Discoveries. Retrieved from  http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0932440.html. Fact Monster. 2000-20013 Pearson Education, publishing as Fact Monster. 19 Jan. 2014

Overview of Technology and Education Reform. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/overview.html

Benefits of using Facebook to connect with students and how to keep them engaged (2013). Retrieved from : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-faEhXD4kI


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