Technological Time Travel

future-medical-technologyBy Elizabeth Turco — In today’s day and age, an abundance of technology in the classroom is the norm.

From smart boards to iPads, my Marquette education has taught me how to incorporate all aspects of technology into my lessons. In my previous semester’s field experience, I have mastered the smart board and have become an expert at bringing all pieces of media into my classes. I started my student teaching ready to show the world how technologically relevant I could make my classroom. After all, technology makes the lessons better, right?

As I entered my classroom, eager to teach my class, (United States history, from the Gilded Age to the present) I had visions of video clips, historical imagery, and beautiful presentations, stimulating and interesting the students for the entirety of the semester. What I was met with, however, was not what I had anticipated. Waiting for me in my classroom, was one of those transparency overhead projectors, with the light bulb and the lenses, projecting simple images or simple text onto a pull-down screen. There was one television, but it was not nearly large enough to be truly seen by all students in the huge classroom. The one computer was not hooked up to any larger screen and was virtually useless in terms of incorporation into lessons. My education courses had done nothing to prepare me for this shock.

In my education classrooms, I was taught that to be the most technological and advanced would help me be a more effective teacher. If I could incorporate more technology, my students would learn better. That is, after all, why so many schools are giving their students iPads and teaching an abundance of computer classes. My education classes were filled with technology themselves, and I could see how the advancements could better student learning. I was not taught how to make the best of a low-tech situation and still teach effectively. Instead of creating beautiful PowerPoints filled with video links, pictures, and easy to take notes, I am forced to adapt.

I have found, however, a bright side. In forcing my students away from technology I am giving them more skills for life. They are able to listen to me talk and take away important points, instead of having it presented to them. It forces me to incorporate more student involved activities, instead of having them simply read a PowerPoint or watch a movie to learn. I find myself growing as an educator. Yes, it is important for students to be trained to keep up with technological advancements, but there is more to life than just technology.  As generations before me have found, there can be teaching and learning without all of the technological hoopla.

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