Future Teachers Prepare for Classrooms Filled with New Technology

Preparing for the Future
2011-11-07T02:00:00Z 2011-11-07T09:51:56Z Future Teachers Prepare for Classrooms Filled with New TechnologyBy Julie Wootton - jwootton@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

TWIN FALLS • Education technology professor Dave Makings has seen the way technology has evolved during his time at the College of Southern Idaho.

He introduces his education students — the next generation of teachers — to some of the gadgets and programs they may see in their future classrooms, such as online course management systems and iPads.

There have been “massive changes” in technology, Makings said, including what he teaches students.

“It has changed significantly over the years,” he said.

In the early 1980s, Makings developed the college’s first microcomputer class, which covered topics such as word processing and spreadsheets.

“There was a huge interest in the class,” he said during an interview in the Aspen building at CSI’s Twin Falls campus. “It was a big deal when we hit 100 computers on campus. Now, there’s probably more than 100 computers just in this building.”

With the state’s Students Come First reforms passed earlier this year, there’s a different K-12 classroom landscape — one with more advanced technology and online classes.

School districts statewide recently received about $4.3 million total in funding from the Idaho State Department of Education to enhance classroom technology.

Also, the Idaho State Board of Education approved a requirement last week making the Gem State the first in the nation to require high school students to take at least two credits online in order to graduate.

CSI education student Lorraine Book, 24, said it’s important to introduce technology into schools in order to prepare students for life outside the classroom.

However, “I don’t know if it’s right to force a student to take online classes,” she said. “It might not be their learning style.”

Book said she’s learned the importance of being open and flexible to changes in the classroom.

“We need to use the resources available to us to help each student learn in their own, different way,” she said.

Tanner Baumann, 18, said he’s in favor of online classes “as long as kids know how to do it” — if there’s assistance for students so they know how to navigate the online format.

Book and Baumann are both students in CSI education professor Evin Fox’s “Foundations of Education” class. Fox led her students in a discussion Friday centered around one question — “What role should technology play in education?”

Some students said online classes are a detriment to learning because there are distractions and the format may not mesh well with every student’s learning style. Others said technology should be a tool to assist teachers — not replace them.

For Makings, the goal is to keep classroom instruction about technology “as practical and down to Earth as possible.”

The overarching idea he emphasizes to students is lifelong learning — that they’ll need to adapt to changes in their classroom and be able to seek out information.

“You have to be able to learn on the go,” he said.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. agfishman
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    agfishman - November 07, 2011 5:02 pm
    There are some parents that can honestly say that they can't get internet, phone, cable service, or a computer. They are the low income, poverty stricken families that lives from paycheck to paycheck. If the government is going to mandate online education for students, why don't they supply internet service to the families that are in need of one?

    So, how would we know if the online classes provides a quality education? Idaho is the first state to require students to take online classes. I hope that the online classes with be accepted by the colleges, universities and the accrediation board. There will be some students that won't do well because of their learning style.

    At the same time, I am not trying to bash the implementation of technology in the classroom. I embrace on using technology as a resource. Just too bad I don't have enough room for the computers in my classroom.
  2. u_dont_know_me
    Report Abuse
    u_dont_know_me - November 07, 2011 9:09 am
    I am impressed with Idaho's initiative in this day of technology.

    To the parents that are complaining about the logistics of it all, relax! You can't honestly say you don't have internet, cellphone, cable TV. Yet you are going to complain about something that will ensure your child's ability to SURVIVE in the digital age?

    Face it, your kids are more likely to want to take online courses when they get to college anyways, so they can continue to work full time AND pursue quality education.

    In the DoDDS classrooms every child has a large amount of learning conducted on the computers. My daughter was making Power Point Presentations FOR FUN, when she was 8!! Half of which were better than my co-workers at the time. Embrace this change and adapt to it folks, it IS the future.

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