Technology and 21st Century Learning

Q1: Do you feel school is preparing you adequately for your future. Why or why not?

I do believe school is adequately preparing me for the future! Even though some of the teaching methods may be outdated and ineffective, the intangibles that are taught are extremely important for our future every day and work lives. School consists of long hours and an extremely overwhelming work supply, which is very similar to the workplace where full-time employees are expected to work many hours a day on their assigned tasks. Also, school teaches us how to work with others, co-operation, which is a very important skill in the workforce since most people do work in a team or some sort of group. For example, I know computer programmers are grouped into teams depending on their specialties (ie. Java) and they must work together to achieve a common goal. I plan on becoming a computer programmer in the future, and from my perspective, I believe school is adequately preparing me for my future!

However, the education system can be vastly improved to even further prepare me for my future! For example, there is a rule that forces students to take Civics/Careers and French in grade 9 and 10 in order to graduate, along with a few other courses. Some of these required courses are a huge waste of time and don’t further learning, for example, why is it necessary for a student interested in computer science to know French? These mandatory courses are a huge waste of time and should be optional, instead, students should be allowed to choose high-school courses that are of their interests starting from grade 9! For example, I would have gladly taken Grade 10 Computer Programming instead of French in grade 9 which would have been a huge benefit to a person like me. In conclusion, educational systems can be vastly improved to further prepare students for their respective futures however the school system is currently doing an adequate job of doing so!

Q2: How do you personally use technology to learn?

I use technology as much as possible as I’m a very tech-savvy person! I use technology in my Math classes through the form of a digital graphing calculator known as ‘Desmos’. Demos is a free online graphing calculator which can also be downloaded to your smartphone as an application which drastically simplifies the use of a graphing calculator. Desmos has a very friendly user-interface and it is able to graph virtually any function in color which was previously limited to the very expensive ti-84 graphing calculators. I use ‘Desmos’ to enrich my learning as it is a much better alternative to the traditional graphing calculator.

Another piece of technology I use to learn is YouTube! YouTube has been very useful for me throughout my high school career, YouTube tutorials helped me better understand my Math, Computer, and Science courses. YouTube has also helped me learn a lot of new things, so far I have learned Java, video-editing, Photoshop, and much more thanks to YouTube. I mainly use YouTube to enrich my knowledge in certain areas and to learn new things. In conclusion, I use technology to enrich and add value to my current bank of knowledge in the form of graphing calculators, video tutorials and much more.

Q3: Do classes that use more technology appeal to you? Is it easier for you to learn the content?

In general, classes that use any form of technology are very appealing to me, which is the primary reason I decided to take this course. My favourite course ICS (Computer Programming) requires the constant use of a computer, and I love using the computer to create various computer applications and programs. It is also much easier to learn new concepts through the use of technology since it is much more engaging for the student.

Also, most of the time when content is represented using technology it is generally much more organized and easy to read, which increases the clarity of the content! For example, PowerPoint presentations drastically simplify learning since only the main ideas are listed and are a presented in a concise and organized manner. In conclusion, the use of technology does significantly interest me and through experience, it has been much easier to learn while using technology!

Q4: Does it matter to you if a teacher uses technology in class? Why or why not?

The use of technology is very important to me in a classroom if it is being used to enhance learning and not just as a substitute for something else. For example; in chemistry, my teacher used to take the course content and present it to the class using a PowerPoint, in point form, oppose to reading straight from the textbook which I found to be extremely useful. It helped me to better remember lessons and also kept me more engaged during class. However, my History teacher used to copy and paste the content from the textbook directly onto the PowerPoint, which was not helpful at all and just made learning much more difficult. Therefore, the use of technology does not always make learning easier and thus technology should only be used if it is beneficial for students. In conclusion, if the technology is used to improve student learning than it should be used otherwise it should be avoided as it is a huge waste of time!

Q5: What technology would you like to see teachers use that is not currently being used?  Why did you choose that technology?

Textbooks are extremely heavy and in some cases carrying four textbooks to school may cause back problems and other health-related issues. Textbooks are also extremely expensive and losing a single textbook can you set you back a couple hundred dollars.  I believe that textbooks are not necessary and should be replaced by a tablet, this will not only reduce costs but will also make it much more convenient for students. Instead of loaning textbooks to students, teachers would loan tablets preloaded with all the textbooks they need for the year.

Majority of the school textbooks are available online for free and thus the school would be only required to purchase a tablet for the students. PDF textbooks can be virtually highlighted, sticky notes can be added, and pages can be bookmarked for reference. Therefore, a simple tablet will extend the functionality of a traditional textbook and further student learning. In conclusion, the school should use tablets as a substitute for textbooks due to its convenient features, cheaper price point, and light-weight design.

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