HeartThe power of today’s technology can help teachers in making their classrooms positive learning environments. Children are eager to learn new skills and the power of technology can help them become achievers.
Technology can help teachers organize their classrooms and it adds the power of efficiency as well. Children can work on computers while the teacher helps others. Students have an advantage over paper and pencil by writing with a word processor.
A child’s natural ability, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn should be kept in mind when introducing new technology. If a teacher solely learns the new technology and introduces it to her students little by little, it can slow the learning pace and cause them to lose interest.Therefore, teachers should involve children from the beginning to keep their enthusiasm high and speed the learning process.
Learning to use technology is different from learning to read or master math. Unnecessary lecturing is not needed because children are more apt to understand the use of technology sooner than adults. By giving students more hands-on opportunities and less lecturing, a teacher can see how much instruction a child needs. This approach will also save the teacher valuable time in the classroom.
Two projects were implemented in classrooms to prove the effectiveness of giving students as much power as they can handle when learning new technology. The first was a journal writing project for first grade classrooms. Teachers selected two students from each classroom to be experts. These two students were taught how to create a new journal template and make daily entries. They then had the responsibility of helping the other students begin writing their journals. This responsibility involved being guides for the students with the use of the computer and word processor program. The teacher did not share this responsibility but did assist the students with choosing topics for their journals, monitored their writing and supervised taking turns on the computer. All of the students accomplished the journal writing task by using the word processor and guidance from the experts. The experts gained confidence by seeing their classmates achieve their goals and knowing they aided them in the process.
The project was especially effective for one student. He appeared to have low self-esteem, seemed withdrawn and showed little interest in school activities. He was given the opportunity to be an expert and this challenge provided the fuel to ignite his enthusiasm and desire for learning.
The second project involved the use of a digital camera. Second graders were to create pictures to accompany their story writings. Two experts were again selected, trained and given the responsibility of introducing new technology to the other students. The experts successfully guided their classmates through the step-process involved with using a digital camera. After they took the picture, the experts showed their classmates how to place the picture into a desktop publishing program. The experts were also able to offer suggestions on how to take a good picture.
These two projects were both positive classroom experiences because of the method used in introducing new technology. It proves that students have the desire to learn and can master new skills if they are given the power.
Maurer, M. M., & Davidson, G. (1999). Technology, Children, and the Power of the Heart.
Phi Delta Kappan, 80 (6), 458-460.