The video case studies were very interesting to watch from several perspectives. That of the teacher (pre-service, new teacher, teacher and retiring teacher), the student (elementary, secondary, post-secondary and post-degree), as well as the male- female dichotomy and finally what I will term confidence (with or without reason) and non-confidence (with or without reason) the confidence factor could be applied to student or teacher at every level.
If I were to create a blog on all the notes I took watching the videos I think this entry would be several pages long. I watched and re-watched the videos with a different lens and spent a few days mulling over what I thought was the most important take away for me. After much consideration, my mind constantly returned to the struggle of the teacher (pre-service, new teacher, teacher and retiring teacher). I will admit however, that I likely returned to this struggle because it is an area of interest I would like to explore further when I have completed the MET program.
1. Teacher Confidence: Teacher Confidence played a role in the use of technology at every grade level. Teachers who were confident in their material and understood what I will call the bigger picture seemed to seek out using technology to engage their students and deepen their knowledge. (I will state here however that a couple of the teachers seemed to use technology in less effective ways and it seemed to me, the viewer, that it was more to entertain than educate).
The STEM teacher (Case 1), the math teacher (Case 2), the physics teacher (Case 3) and Glenn Pellerin (Case 7) the college professor, all appeared to use technology to get the students more active in their learning. As the physics teacher said “more transactive, than transmissive”. I applauded the STEM teacher’s comment that he no longer stressed about sticking to the curriculum guide because he found the students were making more connections and deeper connections. The STEM class seemed like an awesome place to work. A makerspace every day. Students exploring concepts in a self-directed setting that allowed for problem solving and critical thinking.
Conversely, several other teachers were much less confident in their ability to use technology well. This theme emerged like a red flag with new, preservice and retiring teachers.
New and preservice teachers felt they were not educated on the use of technology in the classroom, and many seemed overwhelmed at the prospect. There was so much to learn, there was so much to do, they hadn’t been taught much if at all in preservice programs, and all were wary of how much time it took. As for the retiring teacher, honestly part of me thought she was retiring because technology was taking her on a route she was uncomfortable with and felt that she perhaps was not as effective as those who could implement technology more confidently. (What I did like about the retiring teacher was her willingness to try some technology and let her students show her how it worked. Many retiring teachers I have watched, shy away from technology and avoid it completely).
2. Teacher Education: As I have worked my way through the MET program I have become increasingly frustrated by a) the lack of technology training for preservice teachers and b) the lack of professional development and time for training for new and regular teachers. I would love to develop a technology course for elementary preservice teachers and implement it at the local Faculty of Education. It could be a full year course in focused modules that explore the depth and breadth of the technology available, as well as time for students to work with the programs and become confident using them before they ever step into a classroom.
Pre-service teacher education and professional development is sorely lacking, at least in my area of Ontario.
Classroom teachers are wary of technology for several reasons.
A) they worry that it is next bandwagon the board is jumping on; they will try to use it and implement it only to have it tossed by the wayside the next year for the next best thing. For many long-time teachers, they have “great idea” fatigue.
B) Teacher in-service usually consists of quick modules presented on a PA Day where they sit and watch someone “show” them technology. They do not get an opportunity to try it at most workshops and many don’t know where to find the time to practice what they learned on their own. Many lack the motivation as well.
C) Many of the teachers in the case studies (Strawberry Hill, lead teacher Case 5) as well as the confident teachers mentioned earlier in this blog sought out technology on their own time, at times investing their own money in courses or equipment. They went to meetings and professional development sessions outside of their regular day. Teachers often feel so overwhelmed and that time is a limiting factor anyway that they are not able to take advantage of these opportunities.
D) Availability of hardware, software and bandwidth. As mentioned in several cases where preservice teachers were interviewed many felt they did not know the devices or systems well enough and were concerned about relying on technology as part of a lesson and being able to trouble-shoot if a problem popped up. Classroom teachers know the reality of not being able to access Chromebooks or iPads, systems crashing and poor internet connectivity. To most going ahead with their regular lesson and style of teaching is less of a risk.
As I mentioned this problem is one I would love to help solve. I have a niece and nephew who are now in their second year of teaching. Both attended a faculty of Ed three years ago. They had no real technology classes and had no idea what was available to them in the classroom. They graduated with the B.Ed. with the same level of tech training as I did 27 years ago. How can that be?
We have spent time in this past summer and on holidays working together. I have shown them makerspaces, digital storytelling, stop motion animation, on line programs. They have eagerly learned about it, tried some of it in their classrooms and are always asking me to send them more. We need to capitalize on the enthusiasm of our preservice and new teachers and provide the opportunities for them to learn technology before they try teaching with it. Does anyone know of a preservice program that does a great job of introducing technology to preservice teachers? How do we go about helping to implement changes in other programs that do not?
As for teachers already established in their careers and skeptical of the benefit of technology I look forward to the day that that changes. Unfortunately, until good professional development opportunities and time to use the technology is available I must hope that they will see technology being used in other classes and seek out how to use it from their co-workers.
Finally, the use of technology must not take over the reason for the lesson. Teacher’s must be able to assess work on an ongoing basis not just at the end of the assignment. If the teacher has to spend all their time troubleshooting hardware or other issues this on going assessment is going to be lacking. This is when misconceptions can be missed and sadly, I believe if a student has a misconception that is not caught and corrected, all we have done is reinforce their misconception as correct.
Posted in A. Video cases, e-folio on January 16, 2017 by catherine sverko. 5 Comments Edit