Technology in Classrooms

Remember the days of staring at the teacher until lapsing into a coma? Well, hold on to  your pillows because there’s hope in sight. Although technology is known for entertainment and teenage addiction, it has recently been brought into classrooms as an educational tool. Multiple teachers at Vista have implemented their own way of using technology for education.

AP U.S. History teacher Kelly Baquero uses QR codes, or codes that you can scan with your phone, in tests to incorporate technology in her class. Students scan the QR code then take the test and the site grades them very quickly. She feels “optimistic, but insecure” about using more technology in her classroom, but is unsure because it brings up new ways to cheat, such as screen-shotting test answers. Another downside is that not all students may have smartphones.

Google Drive is another useful technological tool because it allows students to turn in assignments electronically. Students can simultaneously work on papers from different computers, even outside of class. Beginning Composition and AP Literature & Composition teacher Jessica Mann utilizes this technology, saying that students can collaborate more effectively when writing essays or assignments. Mann feels that technology is a useful tool, but educators must balance it. She also allows students to bring in e-readers as an alternative to books and to use phones in class if she can’t get her students into the library to use the computers. “We need to, as teachers, teach you how to use technology effectively,” Mann said.

AP English Language and Composition teacher, Kelly Hillesland, has a “bring your own device” policy where students can have their phones or laptops out at any time, with an exception of when she is lecturing. All of Hillesland’s students have their own blog pages where they can write and post essays and assignments. “Many of my students are very proud of their blog pages–they look fantastic,” Hillesland said.

Due to the new Common Core Standards, she must integrate technology into her curriculum. Within the units she covers in her curriculum, she adds a “technology twist.” For example, she will use some kind of online activity or a video to teach, as opposed to book work.  And students are responding.

Many teachers at Vista del Lago are trying to use more technology in their curriculum in accordance with the new Common Core Standards, and some are finding this new way of learning more beneficial than only using textbooks and a whiteboard. Hopefully, students will be more technologically engaged with their learning targets.

Vista, as always, is ahead of the learning curve.