Home » Uncategorized » “What have we learned from some 50 years of applying technology to educational problems that can improve our strategies now?”

“What have we learned from some 50 years of applying technology to educational problems that can improve our strategies now?”

As advancements in technology have evolved over the past 50 years, one thing has remained constant; the instructor. This was most evident to me as I watched the video, “Instructional Technology: Looking Backward, Thinking Forward”. As the video illustrated, the appearance of the classroom has not changed as much in the past 100 years compared to how drastically our instructional methods have evolved. As I have been teaching online this semester, I prepare what many would consider to be traditional lesson plans. I set objectives, methods of assessment, and outline the activities to achieve those goals. When I was first learning about biology, technology was limited to watching clips from a documentary, an overhead projector, and color slides.  Now, as an instructor, I can use detailed computer simulations to illustrate complex biological concepts or actual video footage of microscopic processes to illustrate what would have been abstract theories. I believe that we have learned while we can “automate” some aspects of instruction, a teacher is irreplaceable.  Although I am able to prepare and structure detailed online lessons in Biology, as the instructor I am unable to distance myself from the process of teaching my students (and why would I want to!).  I am still needed to help students make those connections from their prior knowledge to new information. With the technology we have now, I can teach a student about the process of natural selection using a simulation that takes 10 minutes compared to an hour-long lecture with progressive two-dimensional slides. My students have told me that this is the first time they have “really” been able to understand this concept, despite their previous education in the subject. This is an exciting time in education as I feel we can use the valuable time we have with our students more effectively and efficiently by applying advanced methods of educational instruction.

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