668 ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How different is your current classroom from the one in which you learned when you were a student?
The classroom I teach in is different than the classrooms I went to school in when I was a student. One major difference is in the use of technology. When I was a student, we didn’t have computers or the Internet. What we learned was what the teacher taught us. I don’t think I got on a computer until high school. In my classroom, I use computers every day. We use google docs to write our news entries, research information on countries, and create projects. I try to include technology every way that I can because I know that students use technology every day in their lives outside of school.
We also have access to up-to-date information from online sources. When I was in school, we had books that we used and, if they were older editions, we used them anyway. We couldn’t watch the news every day like I do in my class now so students know what is going on in the world. We learned what the teachers taught us. I have also noticed that the students prefer to use a computer than a book when we go to the library. I have a few students who will use books, but, for the most part, they use computers. That is different from when I went to school. We had to use the books.
Technology has made a difference in the way that teachers teach. Before, the teacher would be in front of the room lecturing. With technology, the students are engaged in the lesson. I don’t stand in from of my classroom. I use a dell projector every day and, much of the time, the students are learning from projected images. I talk from the back of the classroom or walk around as I explain what we are seeing.
McNight (2015) mentioned another way that technology has changed the way teachers do their work in and outside of the classroom: electronic communication. Today, I email parents when I have a concern or need to engage with them about anything else. I would say about 90% of parents have email. When I was a student, the teacher would call home. Another thing that McNight (2015) mentions that I have noticed in my own classroom are poster boards. When we did a project when I was a student, we had to use poster boards. In my classroom now, most students will do their project on the computer. I leave up to the students how they want to do their projects. I may get a few students who use poster boards, but most use the computer.
I will also not forget the chalkboards. When I was in school, the teachers used chalkboards. Even when I started teaching, I had a chalkboard. We now have white board or interactive boards that we use in the classroom.
Another way that my classroom is different from when I was a student is there are many more students and their make-up is much more cross-cultural than in my experience as a student. When I was growing up, I went to school with almost exclusively other Alaska Natives. In my classroom today, I work with students from a vast array of cultures. Wendler Middle School is actually the 3rd most diverse school in the nation.
In the end, I think that technology, more than anything, has made a huge impact on education in the classroom. I know that it has changed, and continues to change, my way of presenting material to the students. Looking back on how it has changed learning since I was a child, I can only wonder how much technology will have changed by the time my students graduate. Technology is advancing so rapidly, and most schools are now bringing more technology into their classrooms. It will be interesting to see how my classroom will change in the next 10 years, how my teaching will change—and how the students’ learning processes will change.
McNight, K. (2015). Top 12 Ways Technology Changed Learning. Retrieved September 15, 2015, from http://www.teachhub.com/how-technology-changed-learning