Published on Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Stephani Whisenant
While history may seem like an unlikely subject for technology use, US History teacher Chad Cryer has made techonology engaging and beneficial for his students, by setting up an online blog and wiki, where his students can share ideas and work together.
“The idea is we’re removing the teacher from being the control center for education and allowing students to bring in their own ideas, and for students to bring in their own information,” Cryer said. “It’s really the use of technology that creates a forum for students to collaborate.”
The wiki is a collaborative program, where a topic can be set, such as US History IDS, and students go in and fill out definitions, give examples, and put in information related to the topic. This allows the students to interact and learn from one another
“I was under the assumption that the students weren’t going to pay that much attention to it and go about still doing their own thing,” Cryer said. “But surprisingly enough, the contribution that has been made shows a lot about the students who are taking part in it. Students have jumped at the opportunity to help out.”
Cryer also uses a blog, where he sets a topic or questions and gets student input on it, helping students get ideas from one another, and to see what their original ideas are as well.
Throughout many schools the trend for most English classes is bookwork and note taking, but in Stephanie Connor’s English III classes, students are experimenting with different forms of learning.
“We use a variety of different technologies,” Connor said. “I have the full time COWs (Computers On Wheels) in my room, so we’ve done projects using Ning, which is an online social networking site. We’ve used iMovie for classes, and we’ve used the flip cameras to take videos.”
While the use of technology is enjoyable, it also takes a lot of hard work and responsibility on the student’s part.
“We spend a lot of time planning and deciding what they want to do,” Connor said. “We make story boards, and talk a lot about safety and responsibility. With the computer projects they spend a lot of time outside of class that they normally would never do. There is a lot bigger commitment but they really enjoy doing it.”
It may take more dedication, but overall the students enjoy being able to do something other than book work, and they believe it benefits them by giving them everyday skills.
“They’re very involved in the learning, the enjoy it,” Connor said. “It gives them a chance to use the tools that they use at home, so using that in here makes it more of a fun environment.”
“The idea is we’re removing the teacher from being the control center for education and allowing students to bring in their own ideas” – History teacher Chad Cryer
“It’s the same skills just on a much higher level,” said Connor. “I think they’re learning a lot more than they would in a normal classroom.”
In many cooking classes, the use of appliances such as ovens and blenders are normal, but in Rhonda Cupit and Brenda Guzman’s Gourmet Foods class, technology has been incorporated to enhance the entire cooking experience.
“Students are using technology by researching current events, looking for recipes, using blogs to complete lab evaluations, and compiling information to share,” Cupit said.
By setting up an online environment where the students can collaborate together, cooking is becoming more of a group assessment, rather than an individual trial and error.
“We’ve used the laptops specifically for creating a promo for our program” Guzman said. “The students have made an iMovie using pictures of our creations used to promote the class.”
The use of laptops for preparation in the kitchen has been greatly beneficial for all of the participating students.
“Our restaurant management class is about to start a new projecting creating a digital restaurant portfolio,” Guzman said. “They have to create the business from the ground up, using technology.”
By incorporating technology into culinary classes, students not only learn how business is done, but they can benefit from all that it offers.
“Using technology helps students stay current with events and information” Cupit said. “It’s also allowing us to be green by reducing paper use.”
Students in Gourmet Foods are responding well to the presence of technology in situations that can help their culinary skills. Not only does it offer a more efficient way for cooking, but it is also something they can have fun with.
“Students enjoy technology,” Cupit said. “They look forward to using it.”