Tools or the Answer to Our Prayers?

When I see this question I tend to cringe a little because of the history of technology in the classroom. I am reminded of my stroll through education as a student to being a teacher. I have developed many opinions regarding the use of media in the classroom for instruction. As a teacher, I have a fuller understanding of intentions but I still pause to consider all of the decisions surrounding the issue that have changed the outcomes. I would like to spend time discussing my interpretations of technology over the last 100 years.

I am a firm believer that the idea of bringing technology into the classroom for instruction was pure and with the best of intentions. I had a teacher in the 1970’s who spoke of D-Day and all that happened on that day and the following days. The charm of that class was that the teacher was on the beaches 6 June 1941 and the information he brought to us was from his views as he observed and not from a text or description. Not everyone has that opportunity and in many cases, those chances are slipping away every day. I believe that if every student heard the stories of my teacher they would have a greater understanding of World War II. As it now stands we have to access that knowledge from others sources. As teachers, we need to find ways to bring these things into the classroom and give the students the chance to have him tell it in his own words and watch his face as he tells the stories and every expression adds to the words he is speaking. It is this drive that has lead teachers to seek opportunities to bring media into the classroom. 

The use of modern technology goes back to when they would use radio to get information over large distances. You could have a Calculus teacher in one town and students could interact with him three towns over by the use of a radio in the room. It was this kind of expert use that made it easy for those hard to find teachers. The became more evident in the 1960’s with the use of television. I remember at 10:42 AM several days a week we would sit in my 4th-grade class and watch the Social Studies lesson on PBS that went with our school books. This was much easier than the teacher trying to get a movie from the district Media Library and it was much more interactive, or at least it was for those times. My favorite was a short movie about Colonial Williamsburg that starred Jack Lord who went on the star in Hawaii Five-O in later years. I always loved watching the movies and lessons at the time.

 

Trcano, Michael. “Interactive Radio Instruction : A Successful Permanent Pilot Project?”Edutech. The World Bank, 11 May 2010. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.