Technology in the Classroom as a Peaceful Learning Practice

POSTED ON BEHALF OF MARIA SCHNEIDER

I myself am not someone who is fascinated by technology, nor someone who chooses to use it day-in and day-out. I am maybe one of the few people who still do not have a smart phone, an iPad or a kindle and there is something about not owning such devices that gives me peace. Ironic I know because I decided to look into using technology in the classroom as a way to increase peace in the learning environment and cater to learners with all different learning styles. I think that I don’t appreciate technology as much as others because I often do not know how to use programs, devices, websites etc. and that I become frustrated and stop using them altogether.  My frustration however, might not be so strong if I was well versed in how to use programs effectively and incorporate them into different contexts; thus I decided to explore ways to incorporate technology into the classroom to build peace and a positive outlook on learning form the eyes of students.

The eLearn Magazine: Education and Teaching in Perspective http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=2047484 features several different blog postings about tools, methods, and resources for educators and facilitators in both informal and formal classroom settings. I found many of the articles to be interesting and provide information that I was preciously unaware of. The Top 100 Tools for Learning http://c4lpt.co.uk/top-100-tools-2012/ also provides a long list of resources that can be used to teach and enhance all different lessons for various age groups.

Though these tools can be used in any setting I think they would be the most beneficial in a formal classroom setting with middle, high school and/or college students, as there is more structure within the allotted time of the class/course. In addition, branching out with various tools and technology helps bring variety to enhance all learning styles and build intelligence in community building, emotional learning and life skills building.

I would use the Top 100 Tools for Learning in group projects, presentations, and as I lead class sessions. Being introduced to meditation and yoga in the classroom I think that Skype is one tool that could be utilized to hold a yoga class/meditation session, iMovie, Garage band and iTunes are programs that could be used to create movies and podcasts and share them with other students. I hope that by incorporating these tools more widely into the classroom that students are able to realize that learning does not occur simply from listening to the teacher, and raising your hand to respond but that it happens collaboratively in different ways that can be interactive and fun as well as educational and academic.

*[One precaution that needs to be taken is realizing that not all student may have access to internet resources outside of the classroom. Because of that it is important that you find alternative routes to using technology in the classroom, media center, renting equipment (high school/college), using community resources at public libraries and community centers. Incorporating these devices and technological programs can be done more often in the actual classroom to eliminate the opportunities for students who do not have access to computers to feel left out from those who do have access.]

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3 thoughts on “Technology in the Classroom as a Peaceful Learning Practice

  1. I fall toward the opposite end of the spectrum from everyone so far in that I’m fairly addicted to technology. While I believe that technology should be used often, I definitely agree with Audrey in that it should be used with intention. I’ve walked into too many classrooms with students “working” on the mobile labs we have with their teacher seemingly not caring about what they are actually doing. I wanted to share my favorite website/app that I use with my students on a regular basis: http://www.showme.com

    There are instructional videos posted on almost anything you could think of and the best part is that students can make their own. I’ve had my students take our school ipads and make instructional videos on functions to teach the class – the one below is one of my favorites:

    I dislike the notion that technology must be used to create an effective lesson, which is what is rattled off more and more at professional developments I’ve been to recently. HOWEVER, we are in a world where students needs to be exposed to and competent using multiple forms of technology to function in many careers they are interested in. I definitely enjoyed this post and see where peace education could be incorporated into the classroom with technology.

  2. I know the feeling (could be the opposite of peace) of stress caused by not keeping up with the technology “race,” too, Maria. I have new-found sympathy for my middle-aged middle and high school teachers who seemed clueless about the educational and social uses of technologies several years ago.

    Your note at the end of the post is especially important and a good reminder — access to certain technologies can’t be taken for granted. Although I don’t know much about specific programs, I’ve heard there are innovative connectivity-sharing or collectively-owned online resources that could be useful. I’m afraid there’s a tendency for over-consumption of technological resources that our generation is particularly guilty of. In my Sustainable Cities course, which focuses on environmentally sustainable urban development, we recently learned about the mess created in the environment by discarded electronic waste, called e-waste. A lot of the e-waste Americans throw out is actually shipped overseas, which is — needless to say — not great. I would argue that technology in the classroom should be used sparingly, and always intentionally.

  3. Like Maria, I’m also reluctant to have my life revolve around the functions of technology. And for similar reasons: I’m insecure about my ability and lack the patience to learn more about it. I know this is not the right attitude, and hope that one day I will be able/forced to change it. It’s not goin anywhere…

    At Ballou, technology is a double-edged sword. We are often told that this is how to capture your students interest and foster engagement in the classroom – in a building full of young teachers – there are a lot of T.I. videos and Sprite commercials being shown to illustrate the talking points of any given lesson. However, the resources are not there and even when they are there, they are not dependable. As a result, I have chosen to simply not bother. I can’t afford to have an entire day’s work thwarted because the internet connection goes down, or because the sun shines so brightly in my room that you can not see the projector display. I long for the day, however, when technology is more at the ready. I know this is large in part how students are learning these days and I think there is so much benefit to it. Specifically, as Maria noted, I think it creates space for students to collaborate with alacrity, and to take more ownership of their learning. I hope that one day soon, I will be able to tap into this resource that Maria shared. Thank you.

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