How do students and the teacher use technology in the classroom?

I've been fortunate enough to go back to Downey High School to  observe the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), a course which I took four years ago. According to the teacher, the curriculum has changed from time to time; however, one of the major changes has been the use of technology in the classroom. This change hasn't only affected teachers but students as well. 

Genocide is one of the units taught in this course, and at the end of the unit students are expected to give a speech about a genocide they have been researching. This year the committee of teachers for ERWC have collectively decided to change this major speech into a multimedia presentation, instead. 

I still remember the day when I had to present all on my own in front of 30+ classmates. When I heard that they changed the speech into a multimedia presentation I was jealous! The students even had the option to work in groups of four. The presentation could be in the form of a Prezi (with a voiceover) or an iMovie. It is amazing to see how different teachers are teaching and how different students are learning now in days. Just a few years ago, presentations were done on PowerPoints. 

One positive thing I notice about the multimedia presentation is how students seem to be more engaged in the material. Students seem to enjoy their time researching cool videos and songs to put in their Prezis and iMovies. Many of them are excited when they get to check out an iPad for the class period. Overall, the environment that the students are working in shifts from boringness to excitement. Students are more talkative with eachother when it comes to sharing ideas. Perhaps it is because students feel like it is easier to do research from watching YouTube videos. As I was walking around, some of the students brainstorms were great. 

On the other hand, one negative aspect of the multimedia presentation is that students are leaving the actual project to the last minute (or so it seems). When I talked to a few of the groups most of them said they were going to start their projects on the weekend (the weekend before it was due). Some of their reasons were that they wanted to use their own computers. Others said that they didn't have enough time to finish their projects at school. Another problem I saw had to do with the typical technical difficulties. One group was almost done with their iMovie; however, it wasn't showing up another computer. The pictures wouldn't pop up, and the girls were freaking out. 

In this blog, I wanted to focus on the use of multimedia in the classroom. Although I'm not the biggest fan of technology, I've been learning that it is inevitable. Technology is a part of us now and there's no turning back. So my question is how effective will this project be. I am curious to know how these projects will turn out. I'll keep you posted on the next blog!

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Comment by Midori Sanchez on February 17, 2014 at 2:20pm

That's really great that students have a more "fun" alternative available to them. You're absolutely correct that we need to embrace technology. Technology can be frustrating though. I've definitely had problems with doing presentations on macs and then trying to use a PC. Was the technology teacher involved or is there even one available for students to receive help? Instead of having students have more free time in class, they could work on an example as a class to make sure they know their way around for half of the time. That way if they want to wait to do it on their own computer, they're not wasting time. And if they want to try their hand at it and run into problems, they have access to their teachers. Keep us posted on how it goes! (:

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