October 16, 2015
To determine the practical impact of the trend towards technology in education, the Talon interviewed the individuals who implement technology in classrooms on a daily basis — the teachers.
School webmaster and computers instructor Erik Amerikaner said he sees technology as an integral part of education, especially with respect to STEM careers.
Amerikaner’s goal for the technology department is “to provide the tools and learning environment for students to be successful in the 21st century career and educational world.”
Science department chair and biology chair Winnie Litten said she views the integration of technology in schools as a method for providing students with additional perspectives.
Litten currently serves as a TechLITE, a teacher who assists and motivates other teachers in using technology. In her classrooms, Litten frequently uses Senteo clickers and iPads.
“There’s so many more resources out there and things we can relate to once we have technology as a vehicle to see the rest of the world and how it interacts with our topic,” Litten said.
Teachers consider not only the academic effects of technology in the classroom, but also the social effects.
“In education, we think we have to use technology to reach students, and I think students themselves say, ‘I don’t think this is really doing it for me,’” English teacher David Kinberg said.
Kinberg, whose classroom has comparatively little technology, said that there is a lack of “human connection” with technology that does not exist with traditional methods of teaching, such as classroom discussions.
Health teacher Eric Pryor, who also uses little technology in his classroom, expressed a similar sentiment.
“[Technology] can’t take the place of a good teacher and quality lessons and instruction,” Pryor wrote in an email.
Regardless of their use of technology, teachers agreed that they could not be replaced or even largely substituted with technology.
According to Litten, instructors can “become the guide” and bring with them “the wealth of perspective” that the Internet cannot.
English teacher Caitlin Fowler noted that the teacher must be able to continue when faced with technical difficulties.
“It is a really cool teaching/learning experience when technology fails because students can see how the teacher handles it,” Fowler said. “The teacher uses technology but doesn’t depend on it.”
Fowler, who uses iPads regularly in her classroom, is also a TechLITE.
“[Technology] should be used to augment what the teachers already do well and what the students already do well,” Fowler said.
“Each and every teacher has to be able to use [technology] to the extent that it enhances their teaching style,” Kinberg said.
To Kinberg, the key to effective education is just the teacher.
“You could give [teachers] a candle and that’s all they would need — just a little bit of light, and they’re going to reach their students and really be effective,” Kinberg said.