How Has Technology Changed Your Teaching?

How Has Technology Changed Your Teaching?

Many experts believe that advances in information technology have the potential to transform classroom teaching—for example, by providing alternatives to the standard lecture format and by giving students immediate access to a wealth of high-quality interactive resources and tools. But schools have been inconsistent in implementing instructional technology initiatives, evidence of effectiveness has been murky, and some teachers have been resistant to wholesale efforts to re-orient instruction around computers.

In what ways have you found digital technology transformative in your students' learning? What opportunities and challenges do high-tech advances present to schools and teachers today? What advice would you give policymakers or administrators on implementing classroom technology? What role should teachers have in developing classroom technology and apps? What do you think the classrooms of the future will look like?

Roundup Post: Teaching With Technology

By guest blogger Leanne Link, communications assistant at the Center for Teaching Quality This month's Roundtable participants shared how new technologies are affecting teaching and learning in their classrooms. While most of the teachers celebrated technology's ability to promote efficiency and creativity, many also stressed the importance of exercising caution through thoughtful and deliberate technology integration. If you're just checking into the conversation now, below is a recap of some of the teachers' reflections: • First Things First: We need to ensure that all classrooms and all students have access to reliable technology, Karl Ochsner and Bill Ferriter emphasize. • A Real-World ...

Follow Up: Reflecting on the 'Classroom of the Future'

Karl Ochsner My first post included a list of changes that are needed in education today. I wrote that first post in isolation—but was interested to see that others raised similar ideas throughout the week, in posts and in comments. So I thought I'd revisit some of the changes, sharing my Teaching Ahead colleagues' observations: 1) The technical infrastructure must be ready. Bill pointed out that, in order for real change to occur in the use of technology integration, we need to have guaranteed reliability. Nancy agreed on the importance of reliability but also emphasized that back-up plans must...

Follow-Up: Leveraging Tech in the Face of High Stakes

Joel Malley "Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information." —Common Core Standards: Writing #6, Grades 11-12 The above standard could refer to any type of digital composition. Blogging. Podcasts. Documentaries. Glogster collages. Google Docs. Powerpoint. Similarly, so could the Common Core's calls for students to make "strategic use of digital media in presentations" (Speaking #5 Grades 11-12) and to "integrate ... sources of information presented in different media or formats" (Reading #7 Grades 11-12). Any use of technology to compose, regardless of complexity,...

Follow-Up: Challenge Teachers To Be Tech Pioneers

Marsha Ratzel Walk into my classroom and you'll find us on Twitter checking out the latest volcano eruptions with iTouches through live updates from the U.S. Geological Survey. Or students might be accessing earthquake data on I Felt That, an iPhone app. Both provide immediacy and urgency to my curriculum and are exactly what students crave in lesson design. So why isn't every teacher using these kinds of techniques? It seems to me that to be out there using technology right now requires that you have a pioneering spirit. That you're unafraid to be "wrong" or to have things "go...

Follow-Up: A Strengths-Based Approach to Technology Use

Robert Pronovost When a Reading Recovery teacher sits with a 1st grader, she is not trying to determine a student's gaps and how she can fill them. Instead, she listens to a child read and analyzes the child's strengths, so she can use those strengths as a foundation in her instruction. Just as a Reading Recovery teacher looks for the strengths within a child, technology coaches and administrators should look for the strengths within a teacher's technology use. This does not mean sitting in a teacher's room for 20 minutes to see if the teacher pulls out an iPad or ...

Follow-Up: Making Magic in the Classroom With Tech

Jennie Magiera It has been posited that technology doesn't change teaching and learning but enhances it, and I completely agree. And oh, how it enhances it. Video "cloning" a teacher so there are five versions of her giving five interactive lessons at five varied levels simultaneously. Having a student create a screencast of his math problem-solving journey so a teacher can capture his math metacognition and assess progress. Videoconferencing a class from Chicago with an international school in Japan to discuss different views of Pearl Harbor Day. The same skills are being taught as with paper and pencil, and yet ...

Follow-Up: Teachers as Tech Coaches

Nancy Gardner As I read the initial Teaching Ahead posts, I kept thinking of how sports metaphors can help us understand what happens when we integrate technology in our classrooms. Teachers become coaches. In a truly tech-rich environment, teachers provide input, evaluate effort, and encourage critical thinking and creativity. Meanwhile, students can take a more active role than ever in their own learning. They can "write in their books" by making comments beside key words and passages. They can collaborate using Google Docs or Every student can take pictures, create movies and podcasts, and Skype with schools in ...

Follow-Up: Our Never-Ending Reliance on Digital Resilience

Bill Ferriter Did you get the chance to read Karl Ochsner's bit on building the classroom of the future yet? In it, he outlines a series of steps that we simply have to take if we're ever going to see educational technology efforts take hold in our schools. His first suggestion—guaranteeing that our infrastructure is ready for the changes that we desire—struck me as a simple first step: We do need to ensure that teachers and students have access to working devices and strong Internet connections. That should be an absolute promise that any parent, pundit or policymaker...

Technology Doesn't Change Teaching, But Enhances It

Joel Malley When I was a teenager my father was fond of one particular biblical quote. Whether I was coming home past curfew, insisting my homework was done, or spinning a story about why I needed to borrow the car, he would look at me knowingly and say, "Kiddo, there is nothing new under the sun." A quick glance into my classroom might cause one to argue otherwise. My classroom is very different from the traditional English classroom I remember from high school. Circular tables are scattered around the classroom whereas in the 1990s I sat in a desk staring ...

Building the 'Classroom of the Future'

Karl Ochsner I am an avid adopter of technology in the classroom. I've acquired many tools for my students, often by writing grants, scrounging, begging, and forgoing stipends. But I think that for technology to truly improve classroom practice, we need to undertake some important efforts: 1) The technical infrastructure must be ready. Computers must be fast enough to support the apps that are useful—and there must be enough working machines to support our students. Wireless connections must be steady. 2) Teachers must be supported in our efforts to integrate technology. Ironically, teachers are required to provide individualized instruction...

Technology for Technology's Sake

Robert Pronovost I recently heard Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) share a comment that I'm sure has been spread around the education circles: "If technology is the focus of your classroom, you're doing it wrong." While most people come into my classroom and see the laptops and iPod touches we have and are very impressed by their use by the second graders, if they stuck around long enough they'd also see we're not using them all the time. We do have leveled-reading time on the computer, but more importantly, we have interest-based reading time around the room. We spend time publishing our ...

Ed Tech Integration Is a Low Bar

Jennie Magiera Technology has changed my life. If you're reading this, then I'm sure it's changed yours too. Think about how much information you receive via a digital device. How often do you communicate, explore, and pass time with one? When our children grow up, they will need to use word-processing software and email, and create spreadsheets and presentations. So why aren't these skills also an integral part of their foundational education? Why are there still so many classrooms devoid of any technology other than an overhead projector and a handful of aging desktop computers? There are a myriad of ...

Technology's Unexpected Results

Nancy Gardner In 2007, the Mooresville Graded School District began a transformation called Digital Conversion. Five years later, all students in grade 3 through 12 have laptops. Our program garners national attention, and we frequently host visitors who want to see how it works. As a veteran teacher of 27 years, this conversion has involved a learning curve, but at this point, I canʼt imagine teaching without technology. Over the past five years, I have realized that technology is our studentsʼ world. They have facts and figures at their fingertips, they access and use technology with ease, and ...

Technology Is About Being Connected

Marsha Ratzel Technology has profoundly changed my teaching. If you were to peek inside my classroom you would see students using computers, capturing data with digital probes and manipulating it with Excel, corresponding via email with experts on the particulars of their projects, and so on. We'd look very techie. But what would be invisible to your eye would be the shift in how I approach learning and how my students use the "world" to learn now. That's where my biggest shifts in thinking and lesson design have occurred. Digital tools have allowed me to gather a geographically wide network ...

Technology Is About Efficiency

Bill Ferriter I think one of the things that frustrates me the most in conversations about teaching and learning with technology is the assertion that technology should fundamentally change who we are as learners. The truth is, I'm neck deep in the digital soup and my core learning behaviors haven't changed. I'm still seeking out conversations that challenge my thinking—or that allow me to pursue my own passions and interests. I'm still working to judge the reliability of information. I'm still organizing content and looking for trends across sources. I'm still trying to change minds by being persuasive. I'm ...

The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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About the Contributors

  • Jessica Shyu

    Jessica Shyu

    Jessica Shyu is vice president of teacher excellence and leadership at Teach For China where she leads teams to train and develop more than 300 fir...

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    David B. Cohen

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  • Patrick Ledesma

    Patrick Ledesma

    Patrick Ledesma is a middle school technology specialist and special education department chair with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. A N...

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    Marilyn Rhames

    Marilyn Rhames is a middle grades teacher at a charter school in Chicago and runs a nonprofit called Teachers Who Pray. Her Ed Week blog called "Ch...

  • Larry Ferlazzo

    Larry Ferlazzo

    An award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., Larry Ferlazzo is the author of Helping St...

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    Lori Nazareno

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    Carrie Kamm

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  • Noah Zeichner

    Noah Zeichner

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  • Noah Patel

    Noah Patel

    Noah Patel is a 7th-year middle school math teacher in the Boston Public School District and a National Board-certified teacher. He received his ba...

  • Jessica Hahn

    Jessica Hahn

    Jessica Hahn has taught elementary grade children for six years in Phoenix and New York City. She has a master's degree in literacy from Teachers C...

  • Rebecca Schmidt

    Rebecca Schmidt

    Rebecca Schmidt is in her fifth year of teaching in D.C. Public Schools. She is team leader of the 3rd grade at Bancroft Elementary, and also runs ...

  • Bill Farmer

    Bill Farmer

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  • Ryan Kinser

    Ryan Kinser

    Ryan Kinser is a 2012-13 teacherpreneur at the Center for Teaching Quality. He divides his time between teaching English to sixth graders at Walker...

  • Dan Brown

    Dan Brown

    Dan Brown teaches high school English in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Ju...

  • Sarah Henchey

    Sarah Henchey

    Sarah Henchey is a National Board Certified Teacher and a 2012-13 Teacher in Residence at the Center for Teaching Quality. Sarah has taught middle ...

  • Marsha Ratzel

    Marsha Ratzel

    Marsha Ratzel is a National Board-certified teacher in the Blue Valley School District in Kansas, where she teaches middle school math and science....

  • Jessica Keigan

    Jessica Keigan

    As a teacherpreneur, Jessica divides her time evenly between teaching English at Horizon High School in Denver and supporting results-oriented effo...

  • Michael Moran

    Michael Moran

    Michael Moran is a former sixth grade teacher currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Washington's Evans S...

  • Ryan Niman

    Ryan Niman

    Ryan Niman teaches English and Social Studies in the Edmonds School District north of Seattle, Washington. Ryan is a member of the Washington New M...

  • Megan Allen

    Megan Allen

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  • Ilana Garon

    Ilana Garon

    Ilana Garon has been teaching high school English in the Bronx since she graduated from Barnard College in 2003. Her writing has appeared in The Gu...

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    Anna Martin

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    Kate Mulcahy

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    Ariel Sacks

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  • Linda Yaron

    Linda Yaron

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  • Bill Ferriter

    Bill Ferriter

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    Robert Pronovost

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    Nancy S. Gardner

    A renewed National Board Certified Teacher, Nancy Gardner teaches senior English at Mooresville High School in Mooresville, N.C. She is also chair ...

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    Joel Malley

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    Jennie Magiera is a 4th and 5th grade math teacher and a technology and mathematics curriculum coach in Chicago Public Schools. A Teacher Leaders N...

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    David Ruenzel

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    Cheryl Suliteanu

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    Jody Passanisi

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  • Elizabeth Duffey

    Elizabeth Duffey

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    Lhisa Almashy

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    Meredith Kohl

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