Sunday, October 28, 2012

Low Tech

I am new to the area ... new to my school.  And I'm thoroughly surprised that there is so little technology in this school.  I have one computer; one document camera; a projector; and a classroom set of calculators.  I have 2 chalkboards ... yes ... you read that correctly ... "chalk" boards!  And I have one marker board!

So when I hear others talking about their one-to-one computing, their classroom use of google docs, the apps for the iPad, the electronic whiteboards ... well ... I can't relate very well.

Each day I use a combination of projecting my computer, and demonstrating work on the marker board or on paper using the document camera.  I find that I enjoy using multiple colors on the marker board.  But notes given that way are difficult to capture.  So sometimes I use my personal cellphone to capture the notes I put on the marker board and upload those to my school website.

I believe their are other tools available ... I hear folks talking about various tools like student response systems and interactive wireless tablets.  I just don't see these tools at work in the Algebra 1 classrooms.

Low tech isn't bad.  It doesn't mean my students don't get a strong algebra program.  I just feel a little behind the times - and I'm definitely a digital "immigrant!"  I wonder how my digital natives would respond if we had more technology available for them.

I polled my students about watching math videos at home.  I'd like to try a flipped approach to lessons.  Students would watch appropriate videos in which a lesson is presented at home ... then in class we would have more time for practice.  My students are interested in trying this approach.  If/when I set up this lesson, I'll blog about it for sure!



  1. Don't worry about not being high tech. Your students are doing just fine. We have a lot of technology in our building. We're not one-to-one, but we do have many computers/laptops plus every room is equiped with a document camera and projector. Given that, we still have a few excellent teachers (one is a younger math teacher) who haven't retired their old, overhead projectors. Plus my classroom is in the older section of the building which still has chalk boards.

    Tech can add value, but it needs to be meaningful plus have an impact on learning.

    At one time I thought I'd like to try the flipped approach, but I really haven't read any research that convinces me flipping makes a significant impact on learning. Flipping takes an incredible amount of work. I'm not afraid of hard work, but if there are other strategies that make a higher impact (like goal setting and students monitoring their own progress) then I'll put my efforts there. BTW--goal setting could not be any lower tech than a pencil, paper, and manila folder!

    Should you decide to flip, please chronicle your adventures!

  2. instillnessthedancingOctober 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Thanks for the encouragement. I know that technology can be a distraction and research is mixed on its benefits.

    I'm working on motivation with my crew ... several students who haven't taken ownership of their learning yet. I know that goal-setting is essential for them!