Thursday, March 6, 2014

Technology in UWL Classrooms, by Stella Nathan

Many teachers allow students to bring laptops and ipads to class to take notes or look at assignments online. The technology is great when it works and is not a distraction. 

Some teachers are all for the technology and like to be able to go on computers or laptops and look up information quickly and relay it to the students. Computers used in classes like Journalism are a benefit. Other teachers are more traditional and like to work straight from the textbooks.

Some teachers rely heavily on technology but it doesn’t always function properly. In a 55 minute conjoined class, with creative writing students and art students, the two teachers spent 20 minutes trying to get the doc cam and projector to work. A lot of people are not prepared for technology mishaps and fails. The schools printing system crashes occasionally, once 30 minutes before a class and would not print completed homework.

When the printing system crashes, some teachers allow students to email their assignments instead. When links don’t work, or D2l crashes, or has technical difficulties, teachers and students are not always able to do the assignments planned. And class time is wasted trying to get technology to work.

Technology can also be a distraction. The teachers who allow laptops and ipads into class usually tell students to sit in the back as to not disturb the others. Students with personal computers will sit in the back less than half of the time and are an immediate distraction. The sound of the key board is intriguing. Some students are usually on pinterest or facebook.

“Desire2Learn” otherwise known as “D2L” is used in many universities and colleges. Some schools also use something called “Blackboard.” With Blackboard and D2L, and other tools similar to it, all of the students’ assignments and grades are online. At UWL most of the teachers will use D2L as an easy way for students to know all of the assignments, their grades and look at the syllabus. At UWL, teachers, staff, and the chancellor, use email to keep in touch with students and give them continuous updates about school. Teachers also have doc cams and projectors.

It is helpful to have a computer in class if one wants to look at readings or material for class. Most of the time if a student needs to look at something for class it can be done before or after the class. The teachers will make it so that one need not look at something on a computer.