Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Technology Kerfuffle

This week, my Math 7 class is once again using Explain Everything to create presentations as a portion of their test grade on area and perimeter. As the name suggests, I am using it primarily as a platform for them to explain their strategies and ideas surrounding the one problem they had to solve for their math test. I thought they would be excited to get back on the iPads, but some are quite vocal about how much they don't like this app. In particular, 'ghost' writing that they had previously deleted keeps showing up on their slides. So there's that. I am also wondering if the time it takes for them to create their EE presentations is worth it (3 days). If I had them just go to the board and explain to the class their strategies and work for finding their answers, I would achieve the same end goal and it would take less time. So at the moment, I am feeling very frustrated and discouraged by technology use in my math classroom. I think it is important to continually evaluate the merit of technology, so I understand that being frustrated can be a good thing. Being behind a week or two in my curriculum due to the time it has taken to use the technology is clearly fueling my frustration. It reminds me that good old fashioned methods of presentation don't have to take a back seat.

On the flip side, my Science 6 students will begin their research projects/Voicethreads after vacation. This will be the first time using the technology for most, if not all, of the students. It is a fun project and allows yet another opportunity to work on some important skills: research, time management, communication, word processing (for their scripts), and application of the topics we learned during our animal behavior unit. Most importantly, the use of this technology has proven to be an easier way for students to provide feedback to one another. This wasn't the case when we made brochures as the end product.

I guess the lesson here for me is to remember that technology doesn't have to replace what IS working in my classroom. I need to remember not to jump on board of the technology wagon just because.......

1 comment:

  1. You are right in thinking that EE as a replacement for the board is not worth the time. The use of EE in your situation is a simple substitution of a traditional tool for a technological one. The greatest impact of the tech tool comes with future steps. What will happen to the EE presentations? Will they be posted on a blog and other groups write evaluations on them? Will they be strung together and posted on YouTube for future classes to learn from? Will they be use as a backdrop for a perimeter version of Harlem Shakes? Kidding.

    Many of us feel frustrated when we simply substitute because the traditional tools work. Now that we are growing more comfortable with the tools and apps we need to find ways to modify and redefine what we do in the classroom. That is frustrating as well.