Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tech in My Placement

As I sat down with my mentor teacher to fill out the tech in my placement survey, I was surprised to find out about all of the resources available to students at DSA.  Within my mentor's classroom, technology is seldom used and if it is, it is often the teacher that is in charge of it.  There are instances where students are permitted to use their netbooks during class, but technology is often seen in the form of a projector where the teacher is guiding students through a lecture.  I was surprised to find out about all of the resources that can be checked out of the library, such as digital cameras, camcorders, laptop carts, headphones, scanners, and smartboards, because I do not interact with them much in my classroom.  I am wondering if many teachers in the building take advantage of these resources.  Perhaps they are not utilized because they are not readily available in a classroom, or perhaps it is because technology is simply not integrated into curriculum in a way that garners frequent use.

Throughout this process, I was also surprised to find out about the differences in resources between individual classrooms at DSA.  There are four other teaching interns at DSA and we all seemed to have a different list of technology that was available in our classrooms.  Some had smartboards and projectors while others did not.  Additionally, we all seemed to have television sets in the classroom, yet some worked and others did not.  I wonder if the discrepancy between available technology is based on content area (math vs. science), or if it is simply a matter of not replacing items once they are broken.

I found it interesting that the technology students interacted with most is in their own hands.  Students at DSA are able to check out their own netbook at the beginning of the year and are responsible for it throughout the school year.  Not all students choose to check out a netbook and I wonder what the motivation is to obtain one.  We have used the netbooks for instructional purposes a few times in my classroom, yet some students use them for inappropriate purposes such as online shopping during class. I hope to incorporate the use of technology into my teaching so that students will be more motivated to use these devices for instructional purposes than for distractions.  There are many resources at my school that I have yet to tap into.  I hope I can take advantage of what is available to me and my students as I start to take over more classes this year.


  1. I share your surprise, Rachel! I recently walked down the hall to make some photo copies (as I do each and every Tuesday and Thursday), only to find out that the copy machine in the Social Studies Faculty Work Room was out of ink. Being proactive, I then walked to the Library to see if they had another machine I could use to make a pile of copies for my mentor. But, alas, the copier in the Library was out of service. Looking around, I noticed that there was a cart full of laptops. I learned that these were available for in-library use for all the students at the school. Sparking my curiosity, I asked how one would go about “reserving” the cart. Although the process is rather straightforward (all one has to do is sign his or her name on a sheet), it take quite a bit of pre-planning before the students can starts surfing the net. The process is two-fold: (1) Teachers have to make a reservation for laptops; and (2) Teachers have to juggle available time slots. For example, I’m currently co-teaching 4 sections of AP Us History: 1st hr, 2nd hr, 4th, and 5th hr. It’s highly unlikely that the Library’s laptops will be available for all of my sections, which creates a huge inconvenience for those of us teaching AP courses, who test our students every Friday. For consistency (not to mention sanity), all four sections should be on the same page: they all need to take the same end-of-the-week assessment, in preparation for the soon-approaching AP exam. So, then, while my school does have technology available (although down the hall and somewhat far-removed from the classroom environment), it is rather inconvenient to use technology during the course of instruction on a regular basis without a lot of pre-planning and forethought. At the end of the day, it’s probably much easier (and less disruptive to the students learning process) to continue teaching them with transparencies and handouts.

  2. Rachael,

    I enjoyed reading your narrative regarding the available technology for your classroom at DSA. To me, your current tech situation is bittersweet. On the sweet side, it's awesome to know that you have useful technology at your fingertips. And, I look forward to hearing how you incorporate tech into your classroom as the year progresses due to this availability. However, on the bitter side, it's unfortunate to hear that technology is being wasted. In my relatively short experience teaching, I've come across this situation a couple times. Most of the time, the wasting of technology, as it sits on the sideline, is a result of teachers not knowing how to use the technology. Therefore, I wonder if you're familiarity with different tech tools could increase the use in your classroom? Just a thought.

    Also, I share in your desire to leverage technology for instructional purposes. I think that this endeavor is important in 21st century education and serves many purposes. Currently, the feature I like the most is the ability to gain instant feedback in programs such as a socrative. I think the more formative assessments we use to gauge our student's understanding of lessons, the better we'll be at determining how best to make content related instructional decisions. What ways do you plan on implementing technology in your classroom?


  3. Rachael-
    I was surprised to hear that students at your school all have access to their own netbook! This seems like a great resource for them! I have quite a few students who do not have computers at home so it is hard requiring them to turn in typed papers without giving an adequate amount of time to complete them at school.

    Do you know how many students have access to the internet at home? I know this issue has come up quite a bit in our classes. Have you thought about how you could use all of the technology you can check out from the library? I know nothing about Smart boards but they seem pretty amazing from what I have seen.

    The computer lab at my school has really old computers that work half the time. There is also a laptop cart you can check out but there is only one for the entire building. My best bet may be using the technology the kids already possess! Their phones! :)