Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Technology's Implications for Schools

The rapid pace of change in the technological world is a complicated issue for schools. 

On one hand, technology allows us to do so much more in the classroom than ever before! We can take virtual field trips to far off destinations or listen to a book being read aloud while watching animated illustrations. Our students can sit at a computer and do research on a topic in a matter of minutes. Kids can do a virtual frog dissection! Technology has opened doors to educators that have never been possible. Technology is motivating, fun, challenging, and seemingly limitless.

On the other hand, paying for technology is a challenge for schools. I agree with 2016 US Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes when she states that schools don't have the funds to keep pace with ever-changing technology. Our school computers are out of date after a couple of years, but there is no money available to replace them. I really liked her idea of partnering with technology corporations. With this kind of partnership, schools might be able to keep up with the constant demands for new hardware.

I think an important point she makes is that students have taught teachers how to use some technology. I think this is a valuable tool. At this point in history, students are often more competent in technology than their teachers. Why not let them share their knowledge with teachers? This would be motivating and valuable to student self esteem. It would also help develop the ever important teacher - student relationship.

In addition, there are physical changes in our brains due to technology. Neuroplasticity allow our brains to be rewired when we interact with technology a great deal. Today's children are developing neural pathways that are different than other generations. What are the implications for educators? Does different neural pathways indicate a problem? No one knows yet. This is an evolving field of research. 

To attempt to keep up and stay relevant, instruction needs to move away from teacher-centered, single media teaching to student-centered, multimedia teaching.

In the video Did You Know?, it says that college students beginning a technology related degree will learn things in year one that are outdated by year three! How do we, as educators, tackle that kind of problem? In my opinion, we have to focus less on learning specific content to pass a standardized test, and more on teaching students how to learn. If we do this, then people will be able to continually grow and learn, even after finishing school.


Edsurge.com. (2016). "We Don't Have Resources to Keep Up with Technology': 2016 Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes Talks to EdSurge" Retreived from edsurge.com on 8/30/16. 

Estwves, Jose. Did You Know? (2016)  Retreived on 8/30/16 from      https://www.youtube.com/watchv=uqZiIO0YI7Y&noredirect=1

Gunter, Glenda A.; Gunter, Randolph E. (2015). Teachers Discovering Computers: Integrating              Technology in a Changing World (Shelly Cashman) Kindle Edition. Cengage Publishing. Boston
 (Links to an external site.)


  1. Aly,

    As I was reading I found myself shaking my head in agreement to a lot of your words. First, I believe that funding is a huge implication to technology in schools. Our schools pay for materials that are needed in the classroom, but seem to skip over the fact that technology is what is needed in the classroom, not new textbooks or new projectors. We need technology in the hands of our students! I think one way to overcome this problem would be, like Jahana said, to join up with companies or industries that can fund our technology. I never even thought of this idea until I read her interview! This would be a win-win for both the schools and industries, because we would be raising their employment rates, but how would, how could we ever make a pitch like this?

    You said that we need to stop teaching students what to learn and instead teach them how to learn! What a powerful comment! I really sat back and reflected on these words. As a teacher, I feel that I am teaching my students what to learn, when in reality I need to teach them how to learn and allow them the freedom to learn. With technology being a huge part of our society, kids are not just learning the 3 traditional ways anymore. There are so many more learning styles that have been discovered since this era, and we as educators, need to embrace it and let them fly!

    1. I don't know how we could go about partnering with corporations, but I'm sure if we educators put our heads together, we could come up with some great ideas! I guess the first place I would start is with the parents at my school - find out if any of them work at a big corporation that we might be able to partner with.

  2. Aly,

    I agree that studnets have taught teachers about technology. That jsut shows that students know a lot more than the teachers do. Therefore, I think that teachers should go through a professional development or training session where they are continuously learning the new adn improved technology that they can use in the classroom for their students best interest. I also agree that students should be allowed to shaire tehir informationg with the teacher. Maybe the students can even teache the teacher a couple things about tehcnology. That is right!!! It would help develop the studnet teacher relationship. I think that maybe the students would gain more respect for the teachers knowing they make a difference in the teachers lives as well.

    Aly, I agree that instruction needs to move away from a teacher centered approach and be more geared to the students. Allow the students to show their technological aspects through. I think that classrooms should become more student centered and be more hands on and more interactive for the students. After all, I believe that students learn best through this approach.

    Lastly, you discuss the "Did You Know" video where it discusses the fact that college students beginning a technology related degree will learn things in year one that are outdated by year three. How crazy was that though!!!! Because technology is continuously changing every year and even everyday, colleges can't keep up. I also agree that it is important that students are continuously growing and learning about technology even when they are through with college. For example, I teach my siblings and parents new technological skill every week that they didn't know about. Just small things like "command;shift;t" to reopen a tab that you maybe accidentally closed. Little things like this amaze them!!!

    Great job Aly!!! I really enjoyed reading your blog and reflecting!! I look forward to reading more of your posts this semester!!

    Lindsay Pulse

    1. Thanks so much for the tech tip! I didn't know about that shortcut. I can't tell you how many times I have accidentally closed a tab!!

  3. Hey Aly,

    I loved your blog post.

    My favorite part was the comment of the changing neural pathways with students who have spent their lives interacting with technology. with their brains wired this way, I wonder how we can expect traditional teaching methods to work.

    I was also very amused with your point about students teaching teachers technology. This occurred during my sophomore year as a Undergraduate student here at UCF. We had to teach our professor how to use Youtube. It even happens in the workplace. I had to teach the person who, at the time was what you would call my assistant manager to use Google Forms to track data.

    Finally, thank you for realizing that it is more important to know how to learn rather than memorize information to pass a test. Students should not only know how to but want to become a lifelong learner. After all, is that not what brings us all here?

    1. Sally,
      I am very interested in the neurological implications of all this technology. You are right - we have to adjust our teaching methods to fit their needs.

  4. Hey Aly!
    You have such great thoughts here! I really liked the comment you made about "teacher-centered, single media" teaching- that is exactly how we teach! I have a screen with my lessons up on the board and the class gets a nice visual presentation, which is great, but no technological interaction. Thank you for saying that, because it put a nice label to the same thought process I had been having!

    Also, I mentioned the part about companies sponsoring technology in the classroom in my own blog posting. It sounds like a wonderful idea, but I wonder if it opens a whole new subject of schools having to advertise for these companies supplying the technology. Do you have any thoughts?

    1. You're right. I'm sure there would be unforeseen implications of having corporate sponsorships. Like so many things in education, there is no easy answer. The only other way I can imagine schools being able to keep pace with technology would be if states actually funded education appropriately, and none of us will be holding our breath for that!! :-)

  5. Hey Aly,

    I like how you said we need to focus on "teaching students how to learn". This is something I believe is so important! We should not focus on teaching students how to memorize/recall information, but instead teach them how to process information given to them. I also love using technology in the classroom and try to incorporate it as much as possible.

    I agree with you when you say you like Jahana's idea of partnering with companies as a means for access to resources. I see how Kristin mentioned above that advertising for companies might become an issue. I never thought of that aspect of it! It might commercialize schools and the education field. These are definitely things to think about when trying to come up with a solution to the lack of technological resources.

    Great first post! I truly enjoyed reading your thoughts! :)

    1. Hi Annie.
      We agree that kids do need to learn how to learn. They also need to become cognizant of how they learn best. We also agree that partnerships with corporations will be more complex than it first sounds. Hopefully we'll be able to figure out some workable solutions! :-)