In our school we have limited access to laptops (a cart of laptops no longer supported by IMS and mostly all checked out by staff), a computer lab with older PC’s, and although our internet may be high speed, the available bandwidth is severely limited. Reflecting this lesson off of my volunteer time in the past when I have worked with similar technology I should still been able to get this sort of lesson to work.
I read a couple of articles on integrating tech into the classroom and found that this is a common problem. One such article, Teacher beliefs and technology integration practices: A critical relationship by Ertmera, Peggy et all suggests that it will be a long time (if ever) before the tech in the school catches up to the tech at home. Reflecting my experience off of this article, I have learned that the problem really isn’t the tech in this instance, it’s my misconceptions of the belief and attitude of what tech should be available, how it should be used, and more importantly, what to do when it fails.
The trick is to use what you have in a way that works because you can’t always count on having the latest and greatest. Going forward, I will have to rethink how I will use this tech in the class and likely abolish the concept of using the computer lab as the only time for tech related ativities.
Next week we’re going to check out the few laptops available for a couple of days, allow students to bring in their own tech with the expectation of their parents that it will be used appropriately and will under the student’s care (not the schools’) and I’ll provide direct, small group instruction during seatwork time in other class periods to bring everyone up to speed. It will be challenging for me as most of my lessons involve a lot of facilitated activities with the individual part to be done as homework, so this will mean a change in my lesson style.
I anticipate we will have much more success in this manner since there will be less demand on the internet bandwidth so that my students will be able to access and complete their work quite quickly. (For me to complete this same lesson at home without instruction would take me about 5 minutes).
I also anticipate that this will be disruptive for the other students who will not be using the laptops at that moment. Because of this, I will allow them to observe the tech lesson (demonstrated and explained using the smart board at the front of the room for visuals) or do their seatwork/homework until it is their turn to work.
Ertmer P, Ottenbreit-Leftwich A, Sadik O, Sendurur E, Sendurur P. Teacher Beliefs and Technology Integration Practices: A Critical Relationship. Computers & Education [serial online]. September 1, 2012;59(2):423-435. Available from: ERIC, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 29, 2012.