Technology + Teaching = Engaged Students Who Learn

By Shirley, Lindsey | Techniques, September 2013 | Go to article overview

Technology + Teaching = Engaged Students Who Learn


Shirley, Lindsey, Techniques


CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) TEACHERS have the opportunity to change the world every day in their classrooms. Technology--combined with hands-on teaching--strategies facilitates the transformation of teaching by challenging students to think critically, solve problems and work effectively in a team. Standardized tests and educational reform have challenged teachers, but technology can serve as a revolutionary tool to document and disseminate the creativity and innovation that students 4 can achieve in CTE classrooms.

The overall benefits of using technology and hands-on leaching strategies in the classroom include the creation of an engaged community of learners, curriculum that focuses on meaningful and relevant issues in society, and schoolwork that challenges students to apply content. In a matter of seconds, teachers can bridge the engagement gap by using technology to provide students with the knowledge, skills and life experiences that prepare them for living and working in a global society. Technology provides teachers and students access to information, tools and techniques required for learning in the 21st century.

Identifying Content

To begin the process of integrating technology into the classroom, CTE teachers need to identify the content to communicate digitally. National and state standards provide a framework for teachers to use during this process, For example, food preparation education has been a popular subject on TV and online. Teachers can simulate this experience by having students apply chemistry principles to food production in a vegetable-related food demonstration. Students in the class would develop and produce a food-demonstration video for their peers to view and learn from. This is a great example of integrating peer teaching and demonstration into the CTE classroom. Once the video is developed and produced, it can be shared using social media outlets. Based on the content covered in class, countless technology tools can be used to develop student interest and engagement in learning.

Bringing Content to Life

Students today want to be challenged and engaged, and they want to enjoy the process of learning through relevant lessons and learning activities. Content can be brought to life with video, social media and web development. Youth are using online spaces to explore interests and find information beyond what they are learning in a traditional classroom. As educators, we need to use this reality to challenge students to make a difference in their communities.

Combining technology and service learning is one strategy teachers can use to address students' need to participate in a community of learners. Simply start by asking students about issues that are impacting the community. Is there a food bank in the community that needs donations? Is bullying an issue that needs to be addressed? What can the school community do to raise awareness about environmental issues and sustainability? These topics and many others can be explored using problem-based learning and group investigation.

Problem-based Learning

The integration of problem-based learning into curriculum builds students' capacity to solve problems, think critically and work effectively in a team. Problem-based learning provides a framework for learning modules, courses, programs or specific curricula. For the first step of the problem-based learning process, students are divided into groups and each group is challenged to identify a problem, issue or topic to be explored. Specifically, the group can develop solutions to real-world problems and topics impacting their community.

To introduce a potential problem, issue or topic, the teacher can share a video that presents the issue to be solved. For example, if exploring the subject of where our food comes from, a video from the "Nourish" video series can be used. This video allows teachers to present a variety of potential topics, allowing each group of students to choose a particular facet of the topic they are most interested in exploring. …

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