The good and the evils of technology

Posted on: November 26, 2012

It’s all around us! You can’t get away from it!! Imagine, a nice, warm, spring day at the park. You look around and see a girl sitting on the bench texting her girlfriends, a boy riding around on his bike listening to his ipod, a man reading a book on his ipad and myself typing on this laptop. It’s the 21st century, and technology is slowly taking over the world. Technology is also taking control of our classrooms and facilitating learning and instruction. However, not all people think that technology is such a fabulous concept, some think it is the root of all evil.

The individuals who think this way are the ones that don’t want to learn new things and implement new ideas into their classrooms. This semester has been very challenging, but in a positive and rewarding way. Prior to taking this course, I considered myself very “tech savy”, however, I realized just looking at websites does not justify that. My biggest challenge perhaps was creating the wiki and digital storytelling project.

I faced many challenges when trying to create my wiki and digital story, and can understand how some people may get very frustrated with technology. For example, my first challenge was simply just setting up my wiki page. I had read about designing your wiki on a word document prior to designing it on the webpage. I am a perfectionist and it took me hours to put all these cute images and set up a very cute background. Well, once I went to copy and paste everything, my wiki looked NOTHING like what it looked on my word document. Then it took me several more hours to figure out how to import my curriculum page. After several e-mails to Dr. Thompson, I was then reassured that there are some things that cannot be done on a wiki. There went hours of my time and a cute background! Another challenge I faced was composing my digital story. Prezi looked like a fairly easy software to use. My original digital story worked great with Prezi but then after reflecting on it, I realized this may not be the best tool to use with second graders. Prezi, should be used with an older audience and is not child friendly. I want my students to use ppictures, images and sound and I couldn’t even figure out how to even insert a blank slide on Prezi! It was then, that I decided to use Microsoft photo story 3. This is such an EASY program to use. I loved it! You could just upload any picture or image, add text and sound. I was able to narrate my entire story without any struggle. This to me is a lot more child friendly, and something that my students can all use.

After many headaches and tears of frustration, I FINALLY completed my final project. Easily, anyone could’ve given up. That’s exactly what many teachers do, it seems too difficult that they rather just do it the “old fashioned way.” Not only did not have a choice to do that but looking at the overall big picture, I see how much of a benefit incorporating technology has on children and learning. For example, finally, a projector was installed in my classroom. Although it is not interactive like a smart board, the children are able to see what is on my computer on a large screen. That little bit of technology completely fascinated them! Through the use of technology, students become more engaged, motivated, focused and learn easier. . Digital stories are very appealing and engaging to students because they contain a variety of multimedia such as images, text, voice recordings, music, and video clips. They are able to take ownership of their work and make the most of their creative potential.It improves a variety of skills such as research skills, organization, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Students can develop technology and presentation skills. If students calibrate with one another, they also develop interpersonal skills. Teachers can facilitate learning, meet the needs of most students and learning styles, increase classroom discussion, and maximize student learning. Through digital storytelling teachers can build background knowledge, review concepts taught, pre-teach vocabulary, and assess students. Digital storytelling is recommended for ESL and special needs students as well. For ESL students, digital stories can be used as an accommodation in the classroom since it is both visual and students can listen to the audio. Teachers can introduce new vocabulary through text and pictures in both English and the native language. Digital stories can be used as a form of communication between the teacher and the ESL student. For ASD or other special needs children digital storytelling can be used as a method to express emotions and a way to communicate as well. Digital stories are used also to improve communication and social skills. I have both ESL and Special needs children in my classroom, so this is something that will benefit my classroom.

Jason Ohler describes digital storytelling as an advantage to having students maximize their creativity and express their ideas and themselves. Students can strengthen critical thinking skills and media literacy skills. Children are taking ownership and developing power of their own voice. I have noticed a huge improvement on the motivation of my students and their academics since my projector was installed. Now they are beyond excited when I can hookup my ipad to the projector. The possibilities are endless, and although technology is VERY complicated, it gets easier the more you become familiar with it. With the success of virtual schools, we need to implement more technology into their daily lives. As the world keeps changing and adjusting we must do the same. So yes, technology may be the root of evil, but positives out weigh every negative aspect!

Ohler, Jason. (2006) The World of Digital Storytelling. Educational Leadership, 63 (4),44-47.


2 Responses to "The good and the evils of technology"

Amanda, you succinctly described what many of us feel about educational technology. We have certainly learned much this semester and have been given many capabilities to use technology everyday in our classrooms. It truly is an exciting adventure and well worth the effort if we plan to give our students what they deserve in the classroom.

I am sorry that you had some difficulty with getting your wiki to cooperate 🙂 But, it sounded like you were able to see the positive that came out of your hard work. And in retrospect, even though it sometimes felt like we would never get it done, this process has definitely been well worth it. I know you will agree.

I agree that Prezis should definitely be reserved for older students. I teach computer lab to elementary students, and I see only a few that may be able to handle it. So, for now, I’ll stick with teaching PowerPoint first. And I would love to try Microsoft Photo Story 3. You have inspired me. 🙂

I hope you have a superb break. Enjoy your family. Hopefully, we can “see” each other in another upcoming class.

Thanks for sharing!

I had a similar problem, with getting my story to upload onto my wiki account. I was almost in tears. Thank goodness its over and we figured it out. I just read this article by Ohler for another class… I love how he incorporated so much writing before letting his students jump into the creation of digital storytelling.

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