In my opinion, questions need to be asked before implementing any new teaching practice and technology to see if it is the appropriate choice for students, teachers and the school. It should not be assumed that “teachers should automatically adopt the latest tool for fear of appearing behind the curve.” (Staley, 2004)
I first read an article written in 2004 by Staley. He came up with 10 assessment questions to ask before deciding on the technology to add in the classroom.
ere are the author's questions with explanation and my personal opinion towards them:
1. What impact does the technology have on the ergonomics of the classroom space? This question looks at the physical ecosystem of a classroom to see how the technological tool can be integrated in the classroom while making sure that the setup is ergonomically conducive to promote learning. So, if the course requires collaborative work, it would not be ideal to set up rows of computer tables.
My opinion: Technology is so mobile these days that I don’t believe that it is an issue. Furthermore, it would be so expensive to install technological tools such as computers in each classroom. Often the students can do the work on their phone and if the activity requires a specific application or program, the computer lab and the library are available to do so.
2. How does the technology expand the dimensions of the classroom space?For this question, the author looks at how learning was happening traditionally within the four walls of the classroom. Staley mentions that “digital technologies can often legitimately expand the information ecology of the classroom space.” He gives the example of how asynchronous discussions can expand the walls of the classroom.
My opinion: Students are already using electronics so; having it integrated in their studies will provide an opportunity for them to continue their studies outside of the classroom. It will also teach them how to use their devices for something else than communication with friends and entertainment. Most students have very powerful devices in their hand but they are only using it for basic activities. Of course, teachers need to make sure that there isn’t any digital divide within the class and if there is, he/she needs to remediate to the situation.
3. Why is this technology here? Within this question, Staley ask other questions: Will the technological tool be used by the instructor/teacher or it is just purchased to upgrade an old one? Does it prepare the students for the workplace? Do students already use this tool for their studies even though it is not integrated in the class? He suggests that schools should do an audit among students, teachers, administrators and technical staff to determine the purpose of the technological tool and how the specific tool will match the purpose.
My opinion: I agree with the idea that before technological tools should be integrated in the school, teachers need to at least be consulted to see if they will meet the teacher and students’ needs and if they will have a purpose in the course material. However, I also think that teachers should receive training on what new tools are available, provided practical examples on how they can be used in their specific subject areas and provided time to practice with the tools. I don’t believe there is enough time in the day to day teacher’s life to keep up with what is coming out in the technology and to see how it can be implemented within their own teaching practice. To have a few professional days every year is just enough time to skim the surface and does not provide deep learning. I think that when trained teachers provide a more up-to-date experience to their students, it shows engagement in their teaching practice and modeling a life-long learning perspective.
4. Does the technology add some demonstrable pedagogical value?Staley (2004) stipulates that “it is perfectly acceptable not to use a new technology when an old technology works just as well.” He also mentions that “telephones are a widely used technology, but this does not mean that professors are required to incorporate them into teaching (unless, of course, a compelling pedagogical reason can be articulated) Pedagogy, rather than technology, should derive the process of adoption.”
My opinion: I totally agree with Staley’s last statement. However, as mentioned in question #3, I think that it is important for professors/teachers to use more up-to-date technological tools instead of archaic ones just to show that they are in touch with the present reality.
5. Does the technology encourage authentic pedagogy?For this question, Staley stipulates that “authentic pedagogy means that the activities professors ask students to engage in are similar to the activities carried out by practitioner in the field.”
My opinion: In the last two decades, technology has developed exponentially not only to make the job easier but also to provide a better outcome. Therefore, as it is an integrated part of most fields and it is very important for students to learn about the technology to be better prepared for the work force.
6. Does the technology promote “augmented” education?The author examines the phenomena that people, including students, are engaged with their devices more than with people surrounding them. Staley mentions that “in contrast, researchers have recently begun to explore the idea of “augmented reality,” where users of technology employ it to engage their physical surrounding and interact with other people.” He also quotes Henry Jenkins who observed that “augmented reality “[heightens] our awareness of the real world by annotating it with information conveyed by mobile technologies.” The author stipulates that there should be a balance between “virtual elements and real physical elements”. He does not believe that online learning is beneficial to students as it is missing the face-to-face interactions.
My opinion: It is interesting how the disconnect phenomena that people are experiencing with having technological devices in their lives, has not really changed since 2004. We see people being surrounded by people but having interactions with the online world instead of face-to-face. Teenagers often stand beside each other communicating with others on their phone instead of talking to each other in person. In the real life situations, I don’t really agree with Jenkins that “augmented reality” is helping to increase consciousness. I think that in the present time, people are usually using the virtual world to escape the reality of their lives. However, there are some technological tools being develop to provide virtual reality which will be useful in the educational environment. Concerning the author’s opinion about online learning, I agree that it is important for anyone to experience face-to-face human interactions but I also believe that it is possible to exclusively study online as long as the student’s personal live provides physical interactions with people.
7. Will professors use the technology to aid students in the acquisition of knowledge, not just information?As presented in the text, some people raised strong objections to integrating technology in education as it could eventually replace the need for teachers. First, Staley explains the difference between information and knowledge. “Knowledge [ ] is usually associated with a specific human being, is very difficult to bundle and transport, and is typically associated with the knower’s appreciation of the meaning of the information. (2004)” The author explains how technology distributes information but teachers are needed to help the students understand and learn from the data found. “Knowledgeable people [such as teachers] who can help users navigate the labyrinth of information. Similarly, students will still require teachers –skillful people who can impart knowledge.” (Staley, 2004)
My opinion: I think that individuals who were afraid that technology would eventually replace teachers felt this way because they saw their roles as educators to be the sharing of information as was traditionally the case. They could not imagine that instead they could become facilitators of the knowledge. I totally agree with the author when he stipulates that “imparting information to students is instruction; helping them to develop knowledge is education. Technology is simply a tool that can support either function. (Staley, 2004)”
8. Does the technology appeal to different learning style, allowing students to produce (not just consume) knowledge and information? Staley (2004) goes over the idea that in the last two decades, educational theorists have argued that “in an effective educational setting, teachers mush appeal to a wide variety of intelligences: some students are visual learners; others need to hear information presented orally. All teachers should assume a “cognitive diversity” in any class they teach and present information accordingly.” He also stipulates that students should be allowed to use their strengths to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding instead of being forced to do it in a specific manner. His final argument for this question is that “when thoughtfully used by faculty, digital technologies present many opportunities for students to produce information and knowledge that exercises all of their multiple intelligences” (Staley, 2004)
My opinion: I totally agree with how the author explains this question. I am a fan of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which stipulates that teaches should “
9. Does the technology promote play or merely entertainment? The author presents the difference between entertainment and play: “Entertainment is largely a passive experience: watching others at play for our amusement. […] Play, on the other hand, is an active experience: it is a hands-on activity, involving creativity, participation, and experimentation.” Staley provides examples of each one and shows how play is the best option in the educational environment. He even mentions game-based learning and simulations as being very good options for authentic learning experiences.
My opinion: I believe that at all grade levels including university, learning should be engaging and playful but not entertainment. Students, who are actively involved in the knowledge acquisition, will become more proficient and apt to using what he has learned in a real world situation.
10. Is it any good?
Since this article is a bit outdated, I have presented the author’s point of view and my opinions in regards to each question. I am hoping that by doing so, I am showing a more up-to-date view on how to address the usage of new technology in the classroom.
However, I was not satisfied with this exercise so I decided to find another article that was more current. “3 Questions to ask when using new technology in the classroom” written by Nira Dale caught my attention as it presents a more concise approach. It provides three “questions to ask that can help you avoid common mistakes when integrating new technology in the classroom.”
The first one focuses on how the technology will support the primary goal of the activity. The purpose of the activity should be determined and then, how the technology choice will support it. It is very important that the technological tool doesn’t become the focus of the activity and overshadow the goal of the activity. If it is determined that it would be appropriate to use a specific technology, it will be important to take care of all the logistical issues such as: how to create an account, how to use the technological tool, and so on beforehand so that they don’t interfere with the goal of the activity.
The second question requires determining how the technology will broaden the students’ perspective. In other words, will the technology allow a broader experience or just provide the same as if it was accomplished without the technology. Adding a technological tool in an activity should enhance the students overall learning.
Finally, the third question looks at if the technology will help the student learn. Dale refer to Puentedura’s SAMR model that can be used to evaluate how technology will be incorporated in the instructional practice. SAMR stands for “Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition” The first two will enhance the learning while the last two will transform the learning. Ideally, using a technological tool would bring transformation within the student’s experience as it focusses on analyzing, evaluating and creating. In order for technology to transform a task, it needs to provide an opportunity to create a multimedia project for which peers will give feedback.
As Dale (2016) mentioned in her article, “If education technology only serves the purpose of task-efficiency and submitting assignments, students will use technology in your classroom just enough to hate it. Alternatively, just because “there’s an app for that,” doesn’t mean the app is best for your students’ learning needs. The key is purpose and balance. » Technology should be used to transform the learning by allowing the students to demonstrate their understanding in a creative manner and their ability to evaluate the concepts learned to provide feedback to others.
Before integrating technology within an activity, it is also important to research the student’s privacy, to get parents’ consent, and to make sure that there is no digital divide within the classroom.
In this day and age, I don’t think that the question of deciding if technology should be added in the classroom is relevant. It should also be assumed that it will expand the classroom’s physical dimensions. Therefore, one should focus more on which technological tool should be used to transform the students’ learning in order to enhance their experience.
In summarizing the reflections that I have done throughout this exercise, I came up with my own questions:
This was an involved process but I think it was valuable for me to narrow on what I need to ask prior to choosing to add some technological tools within my courses.
Dale, N. (may 26, 2017). 3 Questions to ask when using new technology in the classroom. TED-ED Blog. Retrieved January 28, 2017 from http://blog.ed.ted.com/2016/05/26/3-questions-to-ask-before-using-new-technology-in-the-classroom/
National Center on Universal Design for Learning. 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2017 from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udldefined
Puentedura. R. (2014) SAMR and Bloom’s taxonomy: assembling a puzzle. Common Sense Education. Retrieved January 27’ 2017 from https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/samr-and-blooms-taxonomy-assembling-the-puzzle
Staley, D. (2004) Adopting digital technologies in the classroom: 10 assessment questions. Educause Quaterly. Retrieved January 26, 2017 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0432.pdf