Why Should Teachers Embrace Computer Technology?

Why Should Teachers Embrace Computer Technology?

Enhanced Educational Experience Gets Results.

Think of this one small invention. The Smart Pen has the capacity to “turn your words into action” by the use of an infrared camera, ARM processor, Bluetooth Smart chipset and flash memory.

As it has developed, the Smart Pen has become even smarter because now you can bring your notes, diagrams and drawings to life on your tablet or smartphone. If every student has the capacity to record your words and can play the lessons back when they get lost or don’t know what to do, imagine the boost to exam results that will eventuate. If the student only needs to revise one small section of their notes from a lesson, they can tap on the approximate location on the page and the recording will play back from that spot.

No more searching through notes or playing endless recordings to get back to that one small item of information they so desperately needed. How convenient for you the teacher and how much improved will student time management become? This trackable nature of smart pens alone will enhance student’s independent learning and this will greatly enhance performance and self-confidence.

Combined Technologies – The Powerful mix

The capacity for smart technologies to synch together greatly enhances their educational capacity. Like the Smart Board the Smart Pen can by synched with an iPad or laptop so that it becomes interactive. What this means is that you and your students can neatly transcribe and file your notes as you write. The Smart Pen is not only a wonderful organiser but it also provides a unique potential to capture informal and spontaneous creative ‘moments’ in a way that has not hitherto been possible.

Picture This

Say that you have decided to make a comic with your class. You have decided that you will script the story line in five sections and have class groups work on these sections as teams. Each team is to be sent off to record the working process onto templated storyboards provided for the purpose. Smart pens don’t record babble well, and so you explain to each group that they must elect a team leader who will manage the conversation. (You could show this video about team collaboration to encourage productive teamwork)  The process requires that only one person talk at a time until the words have been scripted and the thumbnails have been drawn onto the storyboard. Each student must be assured of a turn and be able to make a contribution.

Now you will have each group upload their storyboard onto their iPads so that each presentation can be loaded onto the Smart Board for a broader class discussion.

If during this discussion it is decided that the story doesn’t sit well chronologically….  No problem! Ask one of the students to go out and rearrange the order of the story by pushing elements around with their finger. Once this student and their group has agreed that the story reads well, take a snap shot for future reference and file it in a ‘working’ planners gallery on the class Blog. Now allow another student who has a different opinion about the way the story should read have a go at rearranging the storyline by pushing the elements around with their finger.

Again keep a snapshot of this layout for future reference. Continue with this group critique process until the class is happy with the layout of the comic.

How Technology Makes Learning Exciting

It is not just the intersection of the two technologies that make this class sound so exciting. It is also the intersection between traditional skill sets such as teamwork and negotiation as well as the enhancement of traditional techniques (for example) with didactic technology. Suppose now, that you have noticed that the children’s drawings were flat a lifeless. You decided that the class needs a little education about rendering.

As you walked about the groups when they were outside planning their storyboards, you used you mobile phone to snap some shots of the rocks they have drawn. The ones they used to hide the ‘cops and robbers’ behind when they were ambushed in the mountains.

To teach them about rendering you will set up a discovery experiment. Display one of the snapshots on the Smart Board and demonstrate how to capture the shape, render the rocks and cast long twilight shadows. Even if you have lost your smart board marker you can use your finger to draw. Although that sounds like magic, this video will show you how! Smart Board Interactive White Boards. It will show you how you can automatically switch between ink write and eraser mode.

The system is intuitive in the way it interacts with a simple press or click. The students can come out and interact so that they are engaged in discovery learning. The experimentation will take place out in front of the class and all of the students will be involved. To make sure the experimentation is fun play “what if” games with the students. For example; “What if the sun were shining from here?  Who would like to come out and draw where the shadow would be cast?  Would it stretch out or would it puddle around the object?”

Learning to Use Smart Technology

Do you feel resistant to using Smart Technology?  Does it sound as though it would be too steep a learning curve and too much bother to set up? It is the fact that this technology is synched to the Internet that makes the whole process easy to use and to learn. Because the companies that make such products are eager for you to use their product they provide excellent videos to teach you how to manage the functions as well as provide you with ideas about how to use the technology.

Why not watch these videos with your students so that you are all switched on and synched in to these innovative ways of working?  Even if you feel intimidated by drawing in front of the class it is just as easy to play a video that demonstrates drawing techniques for you!  The students are sure to feel challenged to come out and have a go. If you are interested in upskilling with your class there are many ways to access drawing instruction online for little or no outlay.

Easing into Technology

The best way to get started with technology is to submerge in it for a while. Play and experiment with technology such as smart pens. Just let the fun develop. Once you have an idea about what the technology can do, look around for already prepared units to give you ideas. Try some really simple experiments.  Once you have a clear idea of the capability of the technology, start to write small sections into the courses you are already running.

Eventually it will all become natural.  You will definitely wonder how you ever did without technology such as the Smart Pen and iPads in the past.  Below you will find some resources that show how others are embracing technology.


Featured images:

License: Image author owned

Jenny has extensive experience using technology in an educational environment. She has worked with every form of computing technology in the classroom, from micro computers to tablet devices.