Web Based Presentation - Noddings Final Reflections on Teaching - Does the Use of Technology in the Classroom Foster Effective Teaching and Learning?

Technology plays a very important role in the lives of students today and in their educational journey, but is it truly helping their learning? What steps can be taken to ensure it is a tool for teachers and learning and not a babysitter, or even an obstacle to learning?

In the third Chapter of Noddings' fourth edition of Philosophy of Education (2016) entitled Analytic Philosophy, Noddings explores a variety of educational philosophies and how education and the acts of teaching and learning are viewed.

In 1933, John Dewey said teaching can be compared to selling commodities and there is the same relationship between teaching and learning as there is between selling and buying an item, with two people involved in the process (p. 48).

Nodding said that teaching can be viewed as a job, giving out information like another person sells items, but there is so much more involved in the process (p. 47).

In 1960, Israel Scheffler’s Language of Education, said that teaching does not always imply learning and with B. Smith, Scheffler outlined - three criteria of teaching: The teacher intends to bring about learning; teaching strategies must be reasonably thought to be likely to achieve the desired learning; and what the teacher does must fall under certain restrictions of manner (Noddings, p. 49).

Through the use of technology, is this type of teaching happening? Is there an exchange of information between teacher and student? Does the teaching intend to bring about learning, using effective teaching strategies that are deemed appropriate for use in the classroom?

Dewey (Noddings, p49) said the only way to increase the learning of pupils was to improve the quantity and quality of real teaching. Dewey believed that learning is something that the pupil has to do himself and for himself. The initiative has to lie with the learner, with the teacher serving the role of the guide and director who he steers the boat. While the teacher provides the guidance, the energy that propels the learning must come from the student. The teacher can help foster that energy by learning about and incorporating into the lessons, the interests of the students. 

One would think that the use of technology in the classroom, as part of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education initiatives, would help to motivate the students and inspire them as teachers guide them during their learning journey. However, while technology is used extensively in classrooms today, it does not always mean that it is used effectively. Writer, Naomi Buck, told the story, in the May 18, 2018 edition of the Globe and Mail, of her son being labelled “the Nazi” by his Grade 4 classmates at his Toronto school, due to his German heritage. His peers had started to call him this name after they had been able to access inappropriate videos during free time in their classroom. 

When children are effectively introduced to STEAM activities, and given opportunities to explore technology at a young age, there tends to be less gender-based stereotypes and fewer obstacles regarding participation in these types of activities (Kazakoff et al., 2013). Buck also mentioned that the stated goal of using technology in the classroom was to develop communication and collaboration skills and to foster deep learning, but these positive developments don’t happen if the teacher is not using the tools properly. 

In Buck’s case, her child’s teacher was not supervising and guiding the students while they watched the videos, rather the students described that he was often on or his phone, while they accessed inappropriate content.

The World Health Organization has gone as far to recognize overuse of technology through video game addiction as an official illness. Gaming disorder is “characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” This new classification will come into effect in 2022, so it is clear that teachers must closely monitor and guide students to ensure technology tools are being used effectively during the learning process. Some leaders in the tech industry have chosen to put their children in Waldorf schools, which limit the use of technology and have spoken out against the great deal of time young people spend on smartphones and social networks in their lives. Gee and Esteban-Guitart, 2019, p. 9)

As Buck pointed Students using the internet require more, not less, supervision, to help them discern reliable from unreliable sources, and to steer them away from its "very dark corners.” 

When faced with the new emphasis on the use of technology and STEAM education in the primary grades, teachers often feel intimidated, lack self-efficacy, and react negatively to these concepts, due to a lack of training and exposure (Jamil, Linder and Stegelin, 2018). Some teachers don’t know how to use the tools effectively and instead let the students explore the tools on their own, without adequate supervision and guidance. 

Matt Miles, an author and high school teacher from Virginia said that misuse of technology in the classroom is not a surprising development. “We’re told to be ‘guides on the side,’” Mr. Miles says. “To allow kids to work on devices alone and at their own pace. You can’t trust kids to use these incredibly entertaining and addictive tools for educational purposes.

Mathew Johnson, the director of education for in Ottawa, said in Buck’s article that the problem is a lack of support for teachers. “If there’s one thing teachers and parents agree on, it’s that teachers need more support integrating technology in the classroom,” Johnson said the level of expertise and use of technology in the classroom remains shallow.

From Buck’s perspective, the use of technology in the classroom does not have a consistently positive impact on students throughout our school systems because how the technology is used in the classroom, depends a great deal on the expertise level of the teacher.

This is where we must not be afraid of technology, with proper training, adequate supervision and the development of student responsibility, technology can be an excellent learning tool in the classroom.

DeJarnette (2018) found that teachers need to participate in hands-on STEAM training for it to be effective and help teacher confidence, in all areas, including technology. Through effective professional development sessions, teacher confidence and familiarity with technology tools can greatly improve.

Gee (2019) believes that we must use technology to help foster deep students to have clear goals, which require actions that the learner emotionally cares about. When using technology, the learning must feel that what is being created is helpful to them and assists in illuminating information about a cause that is important to them. Gee also believes it is important that technology is used to encourage students to try different things and to see failure as an important form of learning. Finally, the technology tools they are using and creating need to help the students discover the appropriate values and judgments they can use to assess their progress through various tries, retries, and failures.

If we commit to adequately supervise the use of technology in the classroom, while using technology tools to help students explore their interests and create projects that can have a positive impact on others, then meaningful learning can occur. 

Nodding said (p. 52) that if a teacher is going to ensure learning, they must avoid teaching the same way, if there is evidence that the student is not learning. The teacher must revise their methods to help the student on his or her learning journey, and innovative use of technology, through the exploration of content and delivery of timely feedback can help teachers do just that.

Finally, C.J.B. Macmillan and James Garrison said (p. 56) to teach someone something is to answer the questions a person has about a subject. Through the effective use of technology in the classroom, teachers can eliminate barriers to learning, such as difficulties with reading or writing output, allowing them easier access to information that will answer their questions. Also, through the use of technology, teachers can guide their students through their learning journey and they can answer these important questions and make innovative discoveries through the use of technology.

Proper use of technology and digital tools can definitely lead to high quality teaching and deep learning opportunities for the students.

Craig Skinner 

References:

Buck, N. A hard lesson: The digital classroom can really fail. The Globe and Mail, May 18, 2018. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-a-hard-lesson-the-digital-classroom-can-really-fail/

DeJarnette, N. K. (2018). Implementing STEAM in the Early Childhood Classroom. European Journal of STEM Education, 33), Article 18, 1-9.

Gee, J-P., Esteban-Guitart, M. 2019) Designing for Deep Learning in the Context of Digital and Social Media. Media Education Research Journal, 2758), 9-17.

Hogg ins, T. World Health adopts 'gaming addiction' as official illness despite industry opposition. The Telegraph, May 28, 2019. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/news/world-health-organisation-adopts-gaming-addiction-official-illness/

Jamil, F. M., Linder, S. M. , D. A. (2018). Early childhood teacher beliefs about STEAM education after a professional development conference. Early Childhood Education Journal, 464), 409-417. 

Kazak off, E., Sullivan, A. (2013). The effect of a classroom-based intensive robotics and programming workshop on sequencing ability in early childhood. Early Childhood Education Journal, 414), 245- 255.

Noddings, N. Philosophy of Education, 4th Routledge, 2016)



Comments

Cheyenne Labelle July 16, 2019, 10:53 PM

Hi, Craig! You make some convincing arguments surrounding the effective use of technology in the classroom using Noddings’ ideas from Chapter 3 as your foundation. Personally, I am a huge proponent of using technology in the classroom because, as you point out, when implemented appropriately, educational technologies can certainly advance and support student learning. The issue here, however, lies within what constitutes “effective implementation” of technology in education. I agree with you that teachers need professional development in order to raise their confidence and familiarity with devices before they can properly infuse these into their curriculum. I also think that technologies are changing our roles as teachers because not only are we expected to wield devices in our own practice, but we are now also charged with teaching students how to use them appropriately and responsibly. It is no secret that electronics are highly addictive and, when used inappropriately, can be detrimental to student learning. I think, then, instead of resisting the trend in education to use more technology in the classroom, teachers should tackle this movement head on and take students’ opinions and desires on the matter into consideration as well. As Noddings’ asserts, “I agree with Dewey that students should be involved in the construction of their own learning objectives. I would much prefer to guide students in an inquiry of their own choosing and ask at the end of it” (p. 52). More often than not, students would prefer to use technology in their inquiries than to use analog methods of research. I think that co-constructing success criteria is an important facet in allowing our students to use their tech because it keeps them accountable and gives them clear expectations about their learning goals. It would seem that, in the “Nazi boy” case that you advance, the teacher in question leading the classroom was not being an active participant in student learning or setting clear guidelines for technological usage. Teachers would benefit from informing themselves about technological/pedagogical frameworks that promote effective use of educational technologies in order to avoid negative experiences in the classroom (e.g. TPACK or SAMR). This practice aligns with the “reasonableness criterion” originally described by Scheffler and brought to light in this Chapter by Noddings. Ensuring that the method of technological delivery is conducive to student learning of the target information is key in effectively infusing tech into the classroom and making sure our students are getting the most out of this teaching method. Thank you for your thoughts and presentation!

Craig Skinner July 19, 2019, 10:53 PM
Replying to Cheyenne Labelle

Great points Cheyenne. When using technology in our teaching, it is very important to involve students in the process, and to work with the students as they progress through their learning journey. Just giving students computers and letting them explore on their own, does not constitute teaching. In our School Board, each teacher is asked to cover a unit on digital citizenship and proper use of technology at the start of the school year. This practice helps to establish that technology is to be used as a learning tool and clearly explains the expectations for appropriate usage and conduct online. It is important that we keep moving forward, using technology in innovative, effective and responsible ways, to help ensure that students are having positive learning experiences. Have a great evening. Craig Skinner

Yardena Shainbach July 18, 2019, 1:51 PM

Great presentation Craig! You offered some great insight from Noddings’ chapter 3 and there was a good connection made regarding the use of technological education. As a primary school teacher, I sometimes wonder how to teach effectively in 2019. As educators, we want our students to get the most out of their learning and I believe it is our responsibility to provide our students with our best, most effective teaching and what that implies. I am not however, set and extremely enthusiastic with incorporating a large amount of technology into my classroom at such a young age. Scheffler’s first criterion for teaching, is intentionality, that the teacher intends to bring about learning. A truly effective and dedicated teacher will not simply enter the classroom and direct information at students, and whatever happens, happens. Teachers must take the time to care and work with their students to ensure that the students understand and can put what they learn to use. This is when formative assessment during lessons should play a big role and further achieves scheffler’s criteria. Taking time and engaging in activities to ensure student comprehension and to allow teachers to get a sense of their students’ learning and progress, is an important part of teaching. Paul Komisar, said: “It is not some kind of learning, but some form of awareness, which is the intended upshot in the teaching acts under discussion.” He has value in his point. Teachers are supposed to be guides for their students’ learning. In the long run, we want our students to be life-long autonomous learners, where they are confident to explore and investigate and learn on their own. Teaching should not be thought of as selling and buying. While students are expected to show up to class daily and learn what is being instructed to them, they should feel a deeper connection to what they are learning, rather than just regurgitate whatever the teacher has relayed to them. This too, stems from formative assessment, as we are teaching our students to be self-regulated learners where they can learn independently and make connections and be more ‘aware’ of what they are learning, rather than simply putting information in their minds. Dewey also shines light on this idea. Students should be responsible for their own learning and it is the teacher’s duty to find ways and activities to guide and support them in their acquisition of knowledge. In my understanding. Dewey would be a very strong supporter of formative assessment and influencing a self- regulated learning type of classroom. As Dewey says: “Teachers should not stop at awareness. They have a responsibility to follow up—to find out what students learn as a result of their initial awareness and consequent investigations”(Noddings, p.50). While I do not disagree with the use of technology in classrooms, and I do think that there definitely are some positive aspects to incorporating it into teaching, from my own experience, working with young children who are exposed to so much stimuli and technology around them, I feel that a teacher- student interaction at an early point in their education is so much more effective and beneficial. Therefore, the use of technology in class should be limited. Teachers possess a caring, compassionate and affirming part of education, that will never be available in technology. Getting feedback from a teacher, and seeking guidance is in my view, more effective than being corrected by an online source. Also, in this respect, teachers teach human social skills, emotional skills, and other things that technology cannot.

Craig Skinner July 19, 2019, 1:51 PM
Replying to Yardena Shainbach

These are great points Yardena. I think in all teaching, but especially in the younger grades, looking at the intention of the teaching, and the timely feedback the teacher is giving is of vital importance. The teacher does need to serve as a guide to ensure that learning is happening and to adapt their approach as needed. In many Primary level classes, I see technology being used as part of centre-based learning. Students are not relying solely on technology tools for their learning, but rather completing specific tasks and receiving guidance and feedback from teachers as they complete a variety of tasks. Awareness is not enough. The teacher does need to work with the students to ensure that knowledge is being gained and understanding is strengthened through the learning process. Communication is key and that does not always happen if we rely too heavily on technology. Have a great evening. Craig Skinner

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