Technology can make teachers happy and efficient
MANILA, Philippines–“Ma’am, when will you give us our Quipper codes?” “I saw you on YouTube!” “Please accept my FB invite.”
These are some of the things students usually say to me in school. I teach English but my heart skips a lively beat whenever I hear such comments. It makes me happy to know that my students are enjoying the simple things I teach them. I only wish other teachers could feel the same joy I get from technology.
My advocacy of turning things around a little in education through technology was inspired and supported by a former school administrator who believed in the importance of incorporating technology in the system so students could acquire simple computer skills and use them to their advantage, both in school and in their outside life.
With kind hearts donating computers, our school was able to offer computer classes. I was fresh from the private sector and was very eager to share what I knew.
But the following years were quite different. Principals changed and computer units were not upgraded. Instead, they were used for office purposes.
So I became a regular teacher who used technology only for my personal needs.
When the Department of Education realized the role of technology in effective teaching and came up with the E-classroom project, I was thrilled to take charge of it.
With administrators now recognizing that technology was a prerequisite in education, my advocacy rose from the dead and I began to push for it with more vigor and vitality.
Technology as a teaching and learning tool has given me more than what I want. I am not good in arts or crafts and with technology, I have found the best way for me to impart my lessons. I teach using colorful, lively presentations even children can manipulate, just like any strip of paper with words or pictures.
Children and technology
I usually start the lesson with online games or images (still and/or video). This gets the attention of the class. I then use scanned books or voices to tell stories or teach a certain skill or both.
My students are allowed to use the computers in the E-classroom for output and assessment. I have shared with them, as simply as I can, the rudiments of presentations, encoding and Internet use.
Technology gives children the opportunity to explore possibilities, express themselves freely, unleash their creativity and boost their confidence to share their ideas using a whole new approach.
It allows them to discover their own strengths and weaknesses through tools that assess their performances.
Teachers and technology
As for educators, the personal gains range from the very simple to the quite complex.
They do not need to write anything on paper (Hooray for a paperless society!) or on the chalkboard. No more risks of inhaling chalk dust and pen chemicals.
They can edit, revise and make changes in their presentations to suit their students’ needs. They can access their work online anytime.
Teachers can also share their work online for others to use and learn from other educators through publicly accessible websites and blogs.
They can assess student abilities through online tests with just a few clicks of the mouse instead of spending a lot of time using a red ball pen, which students say is quite degrading.
They do not have to get stressed over lesson plans, as they can achieve the same goal with the help of online, up-to-date resources offered by all kinds of educator networks.
Teachers can innovate teaching strategies that can fully engage students to learn, using audio and visual gizmos. Also, and this is by no means a small advantage, they can conserve their precious voice by letting the audio do the talking over and over. No more laryngitis!
Of course, teachers need to invest on gadgets and applications, but once they have done so, they can use technology for an assortment of educational purposes.
The benefits have always been there. Educators need only to get out of their comfort zones and explore the possibilities of technology in making learning and teaching easier, more engaging and innovative.
Won’t a teacher want to be at ease and comfortable yet still efficient?
The author teaches at J. Zamora Elementary School in Pandacan, Manila, and is the district information and communications technology coordinator.