Lastly, I have noted the use of technology during library time. The students go to the library once a week and start off each lesson with an Ebook on the SmartBoard. The story has a narrator, subtitles and relevant pictures, so the students enjoy both listening and watching. Martin (2012) depicts the connection between online stories and the reader. His article states, “when the person loads a book to read, the device is performing the function of connection, which is the most fundamental of an e-reader’s capabilities. Without connection, the person could not hope to coordinate with the text” (pg. 97). The connection between Ebooks and the reader rely on translation, or a “tour guide” who can make the unfamiliar understandable. These translation functions may be useful to students who struggle with reading a text as its presented. An Ebook allows for the students to listen and read along to a story, creating a greater understanding of the text.
After the story, half of the class goes to pick out books while the other half uses the library ChromeBooks to go to ABCYA, which is an educational gaming website that the students use to practice their typing ability, programming, and coding skills. The students do not view ABCYA as a form of learning, rather, they view it as a fun game. This “game”, however, is a technology that makes its students smarter and leads to smarter performance. During a recent lesson that I observed, the students were working on basic coding and programming skills. They were tasked with getting “Mr. Fuzzball” from point A to point B by using left, right, up, and down arrows. Although it was a basic task, it is setting the students up for future success. By starting young and completing basic coding and programming now, they will be able to continue practicing and learn harder skills over time.
Based off of the work on Salomon and Perkins (2005), the skills touched upon in ABCYA can be considered an effect of technology. They state, “…mastering the programming of computers might enhance thinking. The notion was that the cognitively complex and challenging activity of programming provides a kind of mental gymnasium, both exercising and drawing students’ attention to patterns of analytical and diagnostic reasoning” (pg. 78). Skills, such as programming and coding, encourage reflective abstraction and sufficient depth of experience with programming to develop a reasonable skill set. The lessons that I observed during library time demonstrate yet another way that technology is incorporated into the classroom and help make students smarter.
Martin, L. (2012). Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies. Technology, Knowledge & Learning, 17(3), 87-107.
Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005) Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology