Blog Prompt #1: Technology and 21st Century Learning

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

Overall, I don’t feel like school is preparing me well enough for my future. Yes, it does help since I was able to learn how to code, explore my interest in computer science, and get actual work experience through co-op. All of which, as an aspiring computer programmer, is invaluable. However, when it comes to other aspects of my future such as buying a house, paying taxes, voting, cooking, using the healthcare system, or even something as seemingly simple as saving money, school has taught me nothing. Some people equate life after school to being thrown out into the wild and having to fend for yourself against the unknown dangers there. I can say honestly that, right now, that’s exactly what it seems like to me as well.

How do you personally use technology to learn?

I use technology to learn in a variety of ways. If I don’t feel like taking my textbook home, I can just take pictures of the pages I have to read and the questions I have to do and look over them anytime and anywhere I want. Plus, using the draw feature on a photo editor, I am able to jot down notes and answer questions as well. Technology is especially helpful with math. Using applications such as Desmos, Derivative Calculator, and Wolfram Alpha, I can check my answers, visualize the graph or see the steps involved, and fully understand, on my own, how to solve the problem.

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

This mostly depends on how the technology is used. If the teacher only uses technology to read sentences off a PowerPoint, it would not be very appealing and it definitely would not make it easier for me to learn the content. On the other hand, if the technology used is to show us interesting and relevant videos, play a game of Kahoot! to help solidify ideas, or to present information in a way that helps us to understand and visualize a concept better, the class would be much more exciting and I would find it way easier to learn. If the class were about learning technology though, I would be very interested and my interest would help immensly to make it easier for me to learn in that class.

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

As a preference, I would want a teacher to use technology since this usually means a teacher website, teaching from a PowerPoint, or using the SMARTBoard to teach. With a teacher website, I would be able to access relevant links and check what I have for homework more easily. When teaching from a PowerPoint, if it is well made, it means I can actually see what I have to copy down even from the back of the room. Or, I can view the PowerPoint from my phone if the teacher posted a link to it on their website. With a SMARTBoard, similarly to the PowerPoint, anything that the teacher writes can be seen from far away. It also allows the teacher to draw diagrams with different coloured markers that can help to differentiate parts of the diagram.

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

A technology that I’d like to see be used is Augmented Reality. AR allows users to see an additional layer of information on top of what they see in reality. This means that students could look at a picture of a cat, for example, in the textbook and, with AR, see a 3D model of a cat that appears. They’d be able to rotate the model to see the cat from all angles and zoom in and out. Additionally, they’d be able to change what type of cat they are seeing or change what animal they are seeing. This would all depend on how it is implemented. Alternatively, students could look at a picture of Vimy Ridge in a History textbook and it could transition into a video explaining the significance of the battle. We would be able to watch a video while still looking at the textbook! Currently, it is not feasible to introduce AR into classrooms due to the cost of the wearable devices. The only AR we’d be able to use is with apps on our phones and they aren’t really of the greatest quality right now. They also require a code on a paper to activate which makes it difficult to incorporate into classrooms. Even so, one day, I want it to become a reality – an augmented reality.

If you want to check out what I meant with the AR cat model, here’s a video of what I was imagining except with shoes and they’re using a smartphone to view the AR instead of a wearable device.

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