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Teaching Tech

March 26, 2012

Over the last few months I have been trying to incorporate technology into the classroom experience for students. This has occurred at many levels including projects which require the use of:

  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Scratch
  • Dynamic Geometry Software
  • Google SketchUp
  • Gimp

Overall the use of these tools has been well received by students. Unlike some (dare I say many) people of my generation students are not worried about “breaking” these tools. They use them with ease and are not afraid to try new things.

I do find that there is one aspect of their learning that is missing. An understanding of some of the basics of using technology. These include (and are not limited to):

  • Proper naming of files (untitled 1, untitled 2, etc. is common)
  • Filing systems (“Where did I save my file?” is a common question)
  • Keeping different version (“Sorry Mr. D. I sent you the old copy”)
  • Application versus cloud computing
  • Transferring files (“I didn’t know that you couldn’t email a 20 MB file.”)
  • Reducing file sizes
  • Working cross-platform (OS X, Win 7, IOS, Android)
  • Internet safety
  • Creating a positive digital footprint

I do find that integration of these skills in the classroom is possible  and I try to do this in the mathematics classes I teach.  At the same time I think there are better ways. I see real benefits to developing a specific course that focused on teaching of those skills which are cross curricular, cross-platform and universal in terms of application. This would allow for more time to focus on the specific tasks within a subject that assist in the learning of the subject’s content.

What are your thoughts? Which “skills” are universal to all platforms and courses?

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