Issues Position Paper By Meaad aldarbi

As I will become a teacher, I believe that integrating technologies could motivate students to learn in a climate where they can work freely based on their interests as a team or individuals. With this digital age, many students suffer to understand the concepts from teachers who prefer to use traditional methods of learning and teaching, because many of today’s students have grown up with technology. I believe that technologies provide many formative and summative assessment tools for teachers, so they can integrate them into lessons by bringing lessons into live to enhance students’ learning. Technologies also provide tools for students to study, memorize, organize, search, watch videos, and participate with others in the social media world. However, many kids today spend their free time playing video games, listening to music, and playing with cellphones, so if we give children better ideas and clear instructions for using these devices for educational purposes, that will enhance their learning as they regularly use them.

Indeed, there are many technologies tools out there, which were created particularly for learning functions, that could facilitate students’ learning including computers, laptops, iPads, cellphones, and more. All over the internet, we can find billions of educational materials that can fit into the curriculum to benefit students’ practicum and enhance their knowledge such as Quizlet, Nearpod, Kahn Academy, Whyzz, and so on. However, these materials could be helpful or harmful for students depending on whether students have experience using them or if their teachers are good with those technologies. Also, integrating technology into the curriculum is a part of the No Child Left Behind Act, because technology provides more support for teachers and gives them a chance to develop their teaching skills for using technological tools. Therefore, many teachers, even in Saudi Arabia, have to attend many workshops and professional developments to empower their teaching skills, especially in Math and Science.

As we think of technologies in place of the best way of learning, they could also hinder learning, especially when we prefer to find information from google instead of reading books and have more than just an answer for the specific question. If we continue to think of Google easy way to find a reply, I think no one will read books anymore. I reflect this point as a disadvantage of using technologies for teaching and learning since Google reduces reading skills. In my previous assignment, I remember that one of the interviewers told me that “his students are not able to find information without going back to the Google,” Larry said. What I was trying to say is that many teachers now work to develop their teaching skills to get their students attention by some technique that might be effective on students’ learning. Thus, I believe that every school needs to empower teachers and support students to have an active learning setting. However, not all students are going to understand the new teaching and learning techniques unless teachers spend more time demonstrating the tools. In this case, time is a very challenging and significant matter for both educators and students, because technology takes time away from real learning environments.

Moreover, many articles that I read support my belief in how technologies have not only positive influence on today’s student's educational performance, but also has abundancy of benefits in term of enhancing students learning skills and developing many educators’ teaching capacity. I agree with Ian Jukes and Anita Dosa (2006), where they provide a meaningful description about understanding the new digital generation and how we handle the differences among various generations to achieve the educational goals under one roof. They genuinely described how simple were the life and schools’ expenses were comparing with the schools today. It seemed that children have to be treated depending on their current changing and environment in how students think, learns, understands their tasks, has fun in the classroom, and achieve some learning objectives because today is on the move and children are not living a stable life. I have come to believe that children deserve us to understand and listen to them, because they are different and live in much pressure and changes with curriculum, teaching and learning strategies, and assessments in a different way than we were treated generations in the past. The idea of this lecture could benefit many teachers in today's’ schools when they feel difficulties or are scared to change their teaching styles, even though many of their students have access to computers, emails, video games, cell phones, digital cameras, and are ready to communicate through screen and face-to-face. Indeed, I consider this article an invitation to join this generation, put their concerns into account, and understand students’ needs in how they can use technologies, because the 21st century is utterly different.

David H. Jonassen (2005) stated that technology should be a cognitive tool to enhance the knowledge and critical thinking for students rather than using them to conveyor knowledge. I think that teachers should consider Jonassen’s viewpoint about representing a better use of technologies for students. Even though today’s students can use technologies, they still need to learn how to use them for educational purpose, because their abilities are limited. As well the educators must have the capability to teach the cognitive tools for students and learn how to use them professionally. That could make a better learning environment since teachers would provide good tutorials and guidance for their students instead of giving them a hard time trying to comprehend how to design tools. Overall, I also believe that learners should be involved in knowledge building rather than knowledge reproduction. For example, I’m working on two tutorials for my field experience project. In the tutorials, I’m trying to create a meaningful explanation for using Nearpod and Quizlet for both students and my mentor. I have been working on them for two weeks even though they are just five minutes long each. I’m still trying to be more specific and clarify the details by adding some images. It is easy for students to watch the tutorials and apply on their own, so it does not matter how long I have spent on the development process if these cognitive tools will benefit the students’ learning.

Cheryl Lemke’s interview made me ask the same questions she asked; what, when, and for which age should we use the specific technology tools? These questions are dynamic questions to answer. Many teachers, including me, should ask us such questions before development, or even decide which tools we should use for different subjects. Besides teaching through technology, students also have to apply their knowledge outside of the class and practice what they learn. It is true that technologies should not be the essential teaching methods that teachers have in the classrooms as they should be part of the teachers teaching plans because students need more than that. They need real learning environments and interacting with each other and exchange knowledge at home, with their friends and peers.

Technology is a wide topic to discuss or argue about, because we will find a variety of perspectives about using students certain ages. There are many parents who are comfortable with, as well ae thousands who are against it due to various reasons. Overall, using technologies with learning and teaching plays a vital role in a learning environment, but not without balance and professional utilizations.

References:

Jonassen, D (2005). Technology as Cognitive Tools: Learners as Designers. from: (file:///C:/Users/Essa/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/IE/T6LX0OV0/jonassen_2005_cognitive_tools.pdf )

Jukes, Ian (2006). Understanding Digital Children. from: (file:///C:/Users/Essa/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/IE/2L5BG4DV/Jukes%20-%20Understanding%20Digital%20Kids.pdf

Lemke, C (n.d.) Interview with Cheryl Lemke. from: http://www.4teachers.org/keynotes/lemke/index.shtml

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