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The Power Of Technology In The Classroom

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The Power of Technology to Inspire Students and Teachers in English Language Arts Classrooms

David Medicus and Susan Nelson Wood (Florida State University)

When I was an elementary school student, I often found I was sitting in class daydreaming, wishing my teacher would be more animated and more interesting so as to keep my short attention span engaged. As a creative child with a broad imagination, I always found myself eager to learn when classroom activities were fun and pulled me into what we were learning, instead of being forced to read a book and then write about it. I found in this article by David Medicus and Susan Nelson Wood, that teaching today can be much more effective than it was 10 years ago, just by all the technological advancements that have been incorporated into the classroom. We know that technology will never replace good teaching, but it can enhance good teaching and connect students more actively with the texts and the writing progression.

Technological tools such as tape recorders, cameras, video cameras, computers and scanners have become major tools in providing students with the means for collecting data and supporting research. Electronic mail, photography, video and audio provide an experience which offers us the opportunity to try new ways of enhancing the classroom experience and engaging our students.

Some examples of how we can challenge our students more and make learning fun include the use of a digital camera to record classroom experiences. Students can take pictures throughout the year and at the end of the year, they can produce an electric slideshow, showing them from day one with their name tags, how groups were formed, teams worked together and how they created a community within their classroom.

Video cameras and tape players can also document learning and provide opportunities to reflect on experiences. The students can see themselves as writers by watching videotaped workshops where they can later provide feedback to their peers. While listening to the rhythm of their language in terms of sentence fluency and word choices they can improve their editing skills. Tape recorders can also be used so students can submit their taped comments along with a final draft in which they explain the story of their piece for specific feedback. As instructors, we tape our suggestions and return the same tape to the writer and now the tape has become something of a portfolio.

Art and photographs is another effective tool in the classroom where students can be visually stimulated. They can use the paintings



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