The TechCHAT series invites teachers, media specialists and other educators from across the country and around the world to share how they’re using technology to enhance instruction and student learning. Contact us about sharing your classroom tech ideas and lessons learned.
Stacy Holcombe Henderson is a Library Media Specialist at Mauldin High School in South Carolina’s Greenville County School District. She also blogs at EdTech Apps for Educators. Certified in Adolescent/Young Adult Lit, English and School Library Media, Henderson taught high school English prior to becoming a media specialist.
How do you see EdTech helping with the learning process? List a few examples.
Educators face tough competition from gaming, texting, video and picture-hosting sites and social networking. Our students’ sources of entertainment have created an expectation within them for fast access to content and dynamic graphics/sound. Students also have difficulty comprehending information presented in only one format, sitting passively in desks, and retaining information that appears irrelevant to the world they live in today.
Educational technology is capable of addressing these challenges.
Students who may not be successful at traditional paper-and-pencil assessments thrive when provided the creative platform available through ed tech apps. In addition, technology allows unlimited opportunities for students to become actively involved. They are in the driver’s seat—experiencing a sense of ownership for their own learning and academic potential.
Schools that have limited technology or that do not train teachers to use these resources will poorly prepare students to compete in today’s global society. Once in the workforce, if our students cannot effectively use technology, they can easily be replaced by people who can.
Has increased access to information also increased acts of cheating?
My speculation would be that it has somewhat, particularly in the form of plagiarism. If a teacher assigns a writing or research topic that is popular or one that is broad in scope, students can locate a finished product through a simple online search.
Plagiarism can easily be deterred by educators, however. We can require students to use more than one source, teach them note-taking and paraphrasing, and use technology as a form of student research assessment. Most presentation tech tools allow limited amounts of texts, making it difficult to copy an entire work found online.
I believe that easy access to information has actually proven to be a disadvantage for our students. In the areas of reading and writing, Common Core State Standards outline expectations for students to synthesize relevant details from a variety of resources and different source types. Students who are accustomed to going to Google and copying the first results accessed will not be meeting those academic expectations.
How prevalent is cyber-bullying in your school? How is it addressed, and how is it prevented?
Fortunately, cyberbullying does not seem to be a prevalent problem at our school. Should it ever become an issue, our administration would implement a school-wide policy. Preventive measures are still taken through teacher training. Teachers must complete a video course on bullying in schools. They are taught to recognize the signs of a victim who is being bullied and how to handle reporting of incidents.
Cyberbullies frequently use social networking sites as an additional means to harass their victims. Our school utilizes these vehicles to create a sense of school community. Mauldin High School has both a Twitter and Facebook account. Our principal uses them to keep our community, students and parents informed about events and important dates. The principal also highlights student and staff achievements through these sites. We hope that by modeling the responsible and positive use of social media, our students will be impacted to do the same.