Technology Lesson Paper - Advantages of Technology Such as Smart Boards, Microsoft Power Point and Google in the Classroom

Technology Lesson Paper - Advantages of Technology Such as Smart Boards, Microsoft Power Point and Google in the Classroom

Technology is quite possibly the most useful tool a teacher has in her classroom today. Some would argue that the advantages of technology in the classroom are limitless. Three advantages to focus on include: motivating students to learn, facilitating beginning reading, and making information easily accessible. Technology helps get students excited about and involved in learning. Through the use of Smart Boards, students can now manipulate documents with their hands and play games interactively. They can also create graphs and diagrams to help visually organize information. Smart Boards can do just about everything else you can think of. They provide excellent visual stimulus for students. The programs they offer and the websites and software that can be accessed through the smart board help to engage students in active learning. There are dozens of wonderful education programs and software today that are used to promote beginning reading. The computer is a revolutionary invention that can assist people in many ways. One of the ways it helps young children is by providing them with useful reading programs. These programs make reading fun for children. In some programs, the computer actually talks to the children and reads to them as they follow along with the written story. Other programs have children play letter games, where they have to put letters together to make words and words families. Young children actually look forward to going on the computer and practicing their reading skills, because they think of it as a game. When we think of technology like the television and more importantly the computer, we think of information. I cannot even imagine writing a research paper without the help of a computer. The internet makes information so much more accessible than other, older methods such as reading an encyclopedia and looking through hundreds of books and articles just to find what you are looking for. Now, through the use of search engines and internet databases, students can search key words and limit their search from infinity to ten in seconds, without ever having to look through a book. Having information readily available is one advantage to technology that I do not think I could live without.
The lesson I have prepared includes a technology-based activity where my students have to use computers to research information and create power-point presentations. My lesson will be on Central and South American Architecture. It will be taught to a seventh grade, social studies ESL class. This lesson is part of a unit on Central and South American culture. It fits into the multicultural part of the seventh grade social studies curriculum. In addition to the Global History the students are learning this year, we will be studying a new continent every month from October to April. This month we are studying Central and South America. We have already covered other aspects of the culture such as food, dance, traditional clothing, currency, languages and landscape. Each month, I will have the students complete a culminating project that sums up one aspect of the continent. In this case, I am having my students complete their projects on Central and South American architecture. The learning objective for this lesson will be as follows: Students will be able to conduct research on a South or Central American country of their choice, pick one architectural structure from that country to create a power point presentation about, and eventually present it. The language objective for this lesson will be: Students will be able to read and analyze books, websites, and magazines about their countries, write about their country in their own words in grammatical sentences and paragraphs, and orally present their presentations to the class.

The activity for my lesson will be having the students perform research on an architectural structure from country they choose and creating a power point presentation on various aspects of that structure. Before allowing the students to start the activity, I will be showing them an example presentation that I completed on the Panama Canal. After the example presentation, I will hand the students a ditto, detailing what I want them to include in their projects. The ditto will be a list of bullet points. The ditto will say, “Log onto the internet and search Central and South American Architecture. Once you choose a structure, create a 10-slide power point presentation. Be sure to include: a KWL chart, two slides of facts about your structure (including its location, dimensions, and significance), a description of how the structure was built, the pros and cons of building it, a biography of the head engineer, and a slide explaining why you chose this structure. The last three slides are at your discretion. Choose something that interests you about the structure and write about it. Once you finish making the ten slides, add pictures and colors to it to make it look nice. Before you e-mail the slides to me, make sure you read over them over to check for errors.” I will be assessing my students based on how well they did their research, how much work they put into writing their presentations (whether they followed instructions, wrote in their own words, used correct grammar and etc.), and how effective they were are presenting their topic to the class. The actual presentations will be graded on a rubric scale of one to four. One will be no effort shown and four will be excellent, meeting all of the criteria. There will be no follow up for this lesson, because it is the last of the unit. After this lesson, we will be moving on to the North American continent.

Two educational psychology ideas that I incorporated in my lesson are different learning styles and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. When we think of different learning styles the three that come to mind are most often are visual, auditory, and body/kinesthetic; however another way in which students learn is verbally. Richard Mayer, a research psychologist, has been studying the distinction between visual and verbal learners through computer and multi-media based learning. Mayer found that there was a visual-verbalizer dimension with three features, cognitive-spatial ability (high or low), cognitive style (visualizer or verbalizer), and learning preference (visual learner versus verbal learner). In my lesson, I tried to cater to all four types of learning styles and preferences; visual, auditory, verbal, and bodily kinesthetic. I accommodated the visual learners by showing them an example power point, handing them written instructions to follow, and allowing them to create a project that is very visual in nature. I assisted my auditory learners by reading my example presentation out loud and reading the directions out loud before handing it to them. I assisted the bodily kinesthetic learners by having them conduct research and put together a power point presentation. Finally, I aided my verbal learners by having them present their presentations to the class. Howard Gardner’s theory on multiple intelligences states that there are at least eight different intelligences. These include: Logical-mathematical, Linguistic, Musical, Spatial, Bodily-kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic. Gardner believes that intelligence has a biological base. He says that intelligence is a: “biopsychological potential to process information in certain ways in order to solve problems or create products that are valued in at least one culture or community” (Gardner, 2009, p.5). According to Gardner, different cultures place different emphasis on the eight intelligences. I found it interesting he suggests that our industrialized culture today views intelligence as a combination of linguistic and logical-mathematical skills. Maybe this is why so many important tests administered to students assess mostly math and English skills. The SAT tests and even I.Q tests tend to evaluate only logical and linguistic skills. I have incorporated Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences in my lesson by allowing my students to create three or more slides about their architectural structures on a topic of their choosing. For example, if I have a student that is a logical or mathematical learner, he may choose to focus on the structure’s architectural design, which would include its dimensions, the type of material used to build it, and the calculations of how long the structure can stand before needing repairs. If I have a student who is a verbal or linguistic learner, I would suggest that she use her extra slides on the biography of George Goethals. She could write a journal entry pretending to be him and write to his family about the work he is doing in Panama.

In my lesson I used several educational materials and technology resources. Three of these resources are: Microsoft Power Point, http://www.pancanal.com, http://web.bryant.edu. The students will be using Microsoft Power Point to create and present slides about Central and South American Architecture. They will have to write bullet point details about their architectural structures and include pictures and diagrams to demonstrate how the structure works. Since every student will be researching a different country and structure, I will give you example websites that I would use to get information for my guided practice presentation on the Panama Canal. In order to get the necessary information I need to complete my slide on George W. Goethals, the architect, I would Google Search “biography of George W. Goethals.” When I did that search, the first website that came up was: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/history/biographies/goethals.html. The title of this webpage is “GEORGE WASHINGTON GOETHALS 1914-1917.” It is a short, one page overview of the architect’s life and achievements. It is a perfect webpage to base a power point slide on. To get information for my slides on Panama Canal facts, I searched “Panama Canal facts” and the first website I chose was http://web.bryant.edu/~ehu/h497/lioeanjie/fnfacts.html. The title of this webpage is “Fun Facts.” It lists about twenty fun and interesting facts about the Panama Canal that would be perfect for basing a power point slide on. Technology is valuable in teaching and it certainly is an effective tool in my lesson on Central and South American Architecture.
As we know, technology is very useful in the classroom.

There are however, limitations to technology-based instruction. Three of these limitations include: a decline in spelling and grammar, decreased attention spans in students, and no teacher-learner interaction. I always hear parents and teachers say their children do not know how to spell. One of the biggest culprits causing this problem is spell check. Spell check automatically corrects spelling; therefore students no longer have to remember how to spell a difficult word, they just have to know what it sounds like. For example if a student doesn’t know how to spell the word “picture” and they write “pictsur” then they can just click on spell check to correct the word for them. Because of technology, students are becoming harder and harder to please. It almost seems impossible to get children’s attention these days. Since they are constantly inundated with so much technology and visual input, it is hard to get their attention without the help of technology. Finally, technology based instruction, such as online classes and presentations where the teacher writes on the computer and the students take notes, does not encourage teacher-students interaction. Learners need to negotiate and ask questions in order to make meaning. Without this interaction, I do not think it is possible to fully comprehend the material.