Social and Cultural Foundations of American Education/Technology/Classroom Technology

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What technology should a teacher use in the classroom?

In today’s society, there is a growing need for technology in the classroom. Some teachers are at the cutting edge of incorporating new technology into their daily lesson plans. Also, since there is so much technology out there, what should teachers be using in the classroom? Let’s take a look at some of the more recent technology that is being used in today’s modern classroom.

Basic Programs[edit]

Before a teacher can use recent technology effectively however, he needs to be able to use basic computer programs to enhance his teaching. One basic program with a number of applications is power point. According to Jamye Swinford in an Education World article on technology, power point can be used for many more things than just presentations. For example, one could make a Jeopardy style game to do a review. Excel is another program that can have huge benefits in the classroom. You can use it to collect data for science experiments. You can then make graphs and charts out of the data which you can teach students to interpret. Perhaps the most basic computer program is a word processing program which can be used in a nearly infinite number of ways, from simply typing up handouts for the class to anything you can think of. You could use it to have students create a newspaper from a time period they are studying. Or, more traditionally to write papers. You can have your students create fliers about a cause they are arguing to learn to use other media to persuade. Depending on the age and ability level of your students basic computer applications can be used to do almost anything to enhance the learning experience.

LiveText[edit]

LiveText is a new emerging technology that allows students to create electronic portfolios online. The students will then share their projects with their teachers via LiveText. By sharing the documents with the teachers, it gives the opportunity for the teachers to assess the project without turning in a paper copy. By turning in projects online, this allows students to build an electronic portfolio which will give them the opportunity to look back and reflect upon their previous assignments. Live text provides three things for students: (1) demonstrate learning competencies, (2) display competencies, (3) a maintenance tool to document ongoing development (Banister et. al, 2006). Another important tool that LiveText comes with is unlimited storage space. Students can then upload as many documents as they need to the electronic database where they will be stored for as long as they are needed. For teachers, there is a template already built into LiveText for lesson plans. This will cut down the time that is needed to setup a lesson plan, which will allow more time to spend on other projects and grading assignments. There is, however, a downside to LiveText. Students must purchase a one time only subscription code that will give them unlimited access to the online software.

LiveText was originally designed to provide a secure, structured storage in cyberspace for use by elementary school students' work products. The idea was to show that students could understand and use technology. Founded in 1997, by undergraduate students at Illinois State University Department of Computer Science, LiveText was developed in the early days of the world wide web. The founders worked with professors under a grant from the Sloan Foundation to develop and deliver the first generation of web based classes.(Illinois State University)

LiveText is priced at eighty-nine dollars for a student addition that is valid until one year after you graduate your program. This seems a fair price considering the price of textbooks. Also, you can renew your subscription on a yearly basis after that. You also have the capability of allowing a visitor to view your files by giving them a password. With the password, your guest simply logs into LiveText using the password and can then review your files. This could be a very valuable tool for submitting your portfolio to prospective employers upon graduation.

Blackboard[edit]

Anyone in college has had at least some interaction with Blackboard. For students in high school, there is almost none. In my own high school experience, I had no idea what Blackboard was. I thought that Blackboard was what teachers write on in the classroom! This needs to change. We need to begin to expose students to Blackboard at a much younger age so that they can become familiar with it. Blackboard can be an effective tool when teaching. Students can basically “drop off” their assignments into the respective link. Also, students can take quizzes, post on discussion boards, and have active chats with their teacher and other students. By having all of this available online, the students have virtually unlimited access to their teachers and course materials. Blackboard also makes things a little easier on teachers. With online quizzes and assignments, they are automatically graded by the software and are posted in an online grade book. Instead of grading, teachers can now spend more time developing lesson plans, and devoting more of their time to their students. There is exciting news in Blackboard technology. Blackboard has just released a version designed specifically for students in K-12 schools. There are some advantages for this newer version, it “enables school districts to:

  • Easily provide classroom materials online with students (without having to know HTML)
  • Engage parents by allowing them to view student progress
  • Enable 24/7 access to learning materials in a secure environment
  • Offer innovative testing methods and self-assessments for individualized learning paths” (2006).

These things maybe great for teachers, students and parents but what does it all mean? It means that Blackboard is an effective tool that can be utilized by everyone being affected by the education process.

Inspiration[edit]

There is another effective tool in the modern repertoire of teachers. Inspiration software is more of a study tool than it is anything else. Inspiration software “is a tool that helps organize thoughts--for teachers as well as for students” (Kurtz, 2003). Basically, Inspiration consists of bubble-maps that are created by the students or class as a whole. The teacher can then print out copies of the bubble-map for the whole class for use as study material. For quick brainstorming, rapid fire tool allows for ideas to get put down in writing quickly (Kurtz, 2003). Also, “the new version of Inspiration comes with more than 50 templates for use in language arts, social studies, and science” (Kurtz, 2003). By having plenty of templates to choose from, students and teachers both have the ability to generate ideas and plug them in to the blank areas on the template. The software “is wonderful for students who have a difficult time organizing their writing and research” (Kurtz, 2003). Inspiration software can be used by every area of teaching including special education, “with the added audio component that allows text to be read aloud, this program meets the needs of students within a broader developmental range” (Kurtz, 2003). Inspiration software is an important tool that can be utilized by any student or teacher for creating in class study materials. By using this interactive software, students can improve their grades significantly because they are actually participating in the learning process.

Unitedstreaming[edit]

Unitedstreaming is a emerging technology that has impacted my life in a great way and it has influenced my own way of looking at teaching with technology. Unitedstreaming is an online service available to most schools that has thousands of videos, pictures, and songs that are all standards based, which means that all of the videos meet or exceed the Standards of Learning. Through Unitedstreaming, “teachers are learning to prepare lesson plans and student activities in print, graphic, sound and video formats to give teachers and students multiple paths for understanding and retaining content” (Reed, 2003). The videos on Unitedstreaming can be picked and then edited through Windows Movie Maker.

As a student using Unitedstreaming, it is easy to use, extremely addicting and most importantly, fun to use. Searching for videos on there can be a task but it is quite an experience once you have found the perfect one. After you find the videos, you can then edit them to make one continuous clip. This is a great idea for teachers who want to make a video about their subject matter. Also, it would be a great student activity/project for them to generate and get their hands dirty doing something creative. There are however some downsides to using Unitedstreaming in school. Streaming the videos takes up massive amounts of bandwidth and essentially locks up the school's Internet system. So just remember, it is always better to download your videos!

TeacherTube[edit]

One of the newest technologies to emerge in the past year is TeacherTube, an online database of instructional videos. Modeled after the popular video website, YouTube, TeacherTube allows educators to “upload, tag, and share videos worldwide.” These videos range in subject from those instructing teachers how to use new classroom software or how to teach a certain type of lesson to movies that can actually be used in the classroom to help elaborate upon the subject matter. Not only can educators find videos to supplement their lessons, but those who upload their videos often include access to lesson plans, notes, and activities. The fact that this website is fully interactive means other educators and even students can comment on the videos and information and provide constructive criticism, leading to the material on the site constantly being upgraded and improved. This also helps to keep inappropriate videos at bay, by allowing users to flag ones they do not find suitable. Though new, TeacherTube contains a plethora of information for educators new and old.

Conclusion[edit]

There are so many new and emerging technologies in the teaching field that it makes it very easy to become overwhelmed with the deluge of information. There is a great quote about teaching that comes from the Chinese philosopher Confucius. He said. “Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others” (2000). There is a lot we can take away from this quote and actually apply it to the subject matter that I have been discussing. What Confucius is saying is that you must learn the new ways while retaining the old, then and only then, will you be a teacher.

Multiple Choice Questions[edit]

Click to reveal the answer.

If Mr. Jones wanted to access videos for his English class, which would he use?
A. Unitedstreaming
B. Blackboard
C. LiveText
D. Inspiration

A. Unitedstreaming

Johnny wants to create a project online and display it in his electronic portfolio, which would he use?
A. Blackboard
B. Inspiration
C. Unitedstreaming
D. LiveText

D. LiveText

Susan has to take a quiz online, which one would she use?
A. Inspiration
B. LiveText
C. Blackboard
D. Unitedstreaming

C. Blackboard

Ms. Smith wants to create informative bubble-maps for her students so they can study for an upcoming quiz, where would she create this?
A. LiveText
B. Blackboard
C. Inspiration
D. Unitedstreaming

C. Inspiration

Bryan wants to take video clips about Shakespeare and edit them together, where would he find these clips?
A. Unitedstreaming
B. Inspiration
C. Blackboard
D. LiveText

A. Unitedstreaming

Mrs. Apple wants to find a video online showing her how to use the newest version of PowerPoint. Which of these websites is most likely to help her?
A. LiveText
B. Unitedstreaming
C. TeacherTube
D. Blackboard

C. TeacherTube

Which of the following does LiveText not function as?
A. A way to demonstrate learning competencies.
B. A way to display learning competencies.
C. A way to document ongoing development.
D. A way to search for potential teaching jobs.

D. A way to search for potential teaching jobs.

Mr. Stevens has been streaming videos on his school computer from UnitedStreaming for use in his history classroom. What would be the downside of doing this?
A. Streaming the videos uses too much of the school’s bandwidth and locks up its Internet.
B. The videos are never standards based.
C. It is always difficult and time consuming to find appropriate videos.
D. The videos are all un-editable and therefore cannot be used to suit different needs.

A. Streaming the videos uses too much of the school’s bandwidth and locks up its Internet.

What year was LiveText founded?
A. 1980
B. 2000
C. 1997
D. 1979

C. 1997

LiveText was originally designed for what purpose?
A. To let people hear their computer talk.
B. To provide secure, structured, storage in cyberspace for use by elementary students.
C. To fill a hole in the world wide web.
D. None of the above.

B. To provide secure, structured, storage in cyberspace for use by elementary students.

How much is a student membership to LiveText?
A. $109.00
B. $19.95
C. $89.00
D. $129.95

C. $89.00

Which program would be useful in creating a graph of the local temperature?
A. LiveText
B. Excel
C. PowerPoint
D. Word

B. Excel

What could you do with Microsoft Word?
A. Create a newspaper.
B. Draw pictures.
C. Make a 3D model.
D. Give a presentation.

A. Create a newspaper.

Which of the following could be easily used to make a game show style review?
A. LiveText
B. Excel
C. PowerPoint
D. Word

C. PowerPoint

Essay Question[edit]

Click to reveal sample responses.

How would you use technology in your classroom?

I would use technology at least once a day in my classroom. Students would do projects where they would create and edit their own informative videos based on the topic that they have chosen. They will then take their videos and upload them into LiveText where they can share the videos with the whole class. They would also share the videos with me and I could grade them on it and then post the grades into Blackboard where their parents can see a continual chart of their child’s progress. I really think the idea of creating videos and sharing them with the class is a excellent idea because then it allows other students to see the interests of others in their own social network. Also, the idea of posting the grades in Blackboard and allowing their parents to see the grades as they progress throughout the semester is an important tool to keeping the parents involved in their child’s lives. The Inspiration software is also an important tool that I would utilize because it allows students and teachers to interact to create their own study guide for quizzes and tests. By creating their own study guides, students are more than likely to retain the information that they put in it.


I would use technology frequently in my classroom, but not to the degree that it takes the place of me as the teacher. I believe that technology should be an to learning, rather than the way to learn. I will teach my lesson and give the opportunity to use the technology in there projects. I like the idea of blackboard, because it is a good communication toll. I used blackboard in high school and in college and the students seem to like it in both. As a teacher it will help with keeping in contact with the students. It will provide away for students to look up assignments and other things that are going on in the classroom, if they were absent for the day. And it will allow the student to see their grades daily. I also like the idea of Unitedstreamming. By allowing the students to use Unitedstreaming it gives them a new modern look of an idea. This could allow the material being taught come alive to the student. I however do not think that using technology should be the sole source of learning. I will teach my students in a traditional class setting, alongside with using technology to expand on a topic. I believe a student should no be in front of a computer all day. They need to be out and about, so I will take my lessons outside on nice days, so they can appreciate the aesthetic views of the world along with the technological age that we are currently in. —Salty


I see technology being used in my room on a daily basis. It is possible to use technology to teach aspects of every subject. I hope to have a Smartboard to teach the curriculum in an interesting way. For example, probability can be taught by using the Dice application on the Smartboard and the die are big enough that everyone in the class can see it. There is also the possibility for creating interactive activities for the kids to use on the Smartboard.

I also hope that my students will have access to computers so they may use them for such things as Webquests and collaborative group projects. Stemming from projects involving a computer, integrating technologies like web-cams and digital cameras could be possible. Possible projects could include not only Social Studies, like becoming a Historian on the Industrial Revolution and creating a webpage about it, but also involve writing to bring Language Arts curriculum to the project as well through creation of a journal. Science can also be done on the web through either a Webquest or even a virtual dissection.

I do not want technology used as a "virtual babysitter" by sitting my students in front of a computer program (i.e.. Successmaker, etc.). Technology is supposed to be integrated in a classroom. This means that it needs to be used to help in teaching the curriculum not to teach students how to use specific software because it is mandatory for students to use technology in the classroom.


I would use technology in the classroom as a tool to engage the students in their learning. I currently use computers to assist students in both their reading and writing. We spend time in our school computer lab as well as use our classroom computers. There are a lot of software programs to help students learn how to read and the students enjoy using them. I would also use technology in the classroom as a visual tool. I currently use a smartboard, and have found that students are better engaged in the material because they can come up to the board and manipulate the material. Fun graphics and pictures also keep the students interested and motivated to learn about a given subject. I have also had students create theri own WebQuest and have found that it is a fun way to have students learn problem-solving strategies as well as learning how to use the internet. It is useful to use technology in the class as a means of active learning. It would be a waste of time and resources if students were just given a computer and said play some games. —Michael Torres


Technology is an important element that I will implement into my classroom. It can help my class stay engaged and make them want to participate in the lesson. I plan to use computers and the like to enhance my lesson plans and make learning fun for my students. My students can use language software programs like Oscar Lake to practice their Spanish and they can get instant feedback on the exercises they complete. They can use PowerPoint to create slideshows and go over their vocabulary words- this will also cut back on wasting paper and index cards. I can play audio files for my students so they can hear how the language is supposed to sound. Since technology is not always reliable, I will always have a back up in case there is a glitch. I don’t want them permanently glued to the computer screen, as many children today already are. I will use technology as a supplement to the curriculum, not the sole means through which my students will learn. I enjoy the different options available to teachers that can make the classroom more interesting and I look forward to using whatever may come out next, but there should still be a balance between traditional and modern educational tools. —Lauren Spindle

References[edit]