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Reflection 2

As the cost of technological classroom aids continues to decrease, more and more teachers will likely utilize technology for assessment purposes. In several of my college courses, including English 2340 and Psychology 1101, my instructors required students to purchase clicker devices and then to use them to take quizzes. Although the technology was not perfect and several students experienced technical difficulties, I believe that the implementation of clickers was an overall good idea, for they eliminated paper waste, allowed for easy grading, and gave students experience with using an unfamiliar tool. The potential for assessing students with technology exists beyond clickers, however. Teachers may one day decide to upload their tests to the Internet so that students can bring their personal computers to class and take the exam online. More teachers may decide to utilize electronic portfolios in writing classes. All of these hypothesized means of assessment have issues and are likely years away from mass implementation in K-12 classrooms, but the general impact that technology may have on assessment in the future is nevertheless exciting.

If I were an English teacher at a K-12 institution, I would use technology on a daily basis to enhance my teaching. I would lecture on literature using PowerPoint so that my students would not have to frequently bear my sloping handwriting. When students had questions at night or on weekends, I would encourage them to let me know via email. Before reading a work of literature, I would ask students to research the work’s author online. I would also play audio versions of selected pieces of literature to accommodate auditory listeners. With this being said, I would also maintain an awareness of when not to use technology in the classroom. For example, I would not allow some students to use Kindles to read novels in class, as these students would have different page numbers from the rest of the students, causing unnecessary confusion. Technology is a great teaching resource, but it should never become a replacement for instruction.

Reflection 1

When scholars speak of “technology,” they usually define the term quite loosely. In the word’s broadest sense, technology can refer to the use of any tool to achieve a particular goal. [1] To talk about technology in EDIT 2000, however, requires a narrower, less general definition. For our purposes here, technology, more often that not, refers to computer-powered devices like laptops and smartphones and their associated software and hardware. This type of “technology” dominates my life. To explain how, I need only to think about my daily routine. In the morning, I wake up to the ringer of my iPhone. Shortly after, I drive my car to school, listening to the built-in radio. In my classes, I type notes using Microsoft Word on my Macbook Pro. When I return home and complete homework, I access my assignments on the University of Georgia’s eLearning Commons system. Before I go to bed, I set my alarm again, re-initiating the cycle. As a college student, I depend on technology both for personal (alarm, radio) and educational (word processing, Internet) use. While I do make a personal decision to use these tools, I do so mainly out of necessity, for they have become woven into the cultural fabric of the United States. Debates persist on whether gadgets should be considered a vice or a virtue, but no matter one’s stance, this kind of technology has permeated society for the foreseeable future.

Unlike many individuals, I try to find a balance between the technological and the traditional. On this issue, I tend to find that people’s opinions tend to lie on the polar extremes, as they either cling strongly to the traditional or dismiss it as “passé” or stuffy. I, on the other hand, find value on both sides of the debate. For example, I have been a heavy computer user since I was ten years old, for I began coding websites and exploring software at this young age. At the same time that this interest reveals my affinity for technology, my feelings toward e-book readers reveal my appreciation for the traditional. Simply, I have not embraced portable electronic reading devices because I love books in the print form, particularly the feel of the page, the capacity to physically recognize how many pages remain to be read, and the ability to seamlessly annotate in page margins. I do not think that “old” technology and “new” technology always have to lie in opposition. Instead, technology users must remain vigilant and make smart decisions about whether newer technology necessarily means better technology. With this in mind, the best of both old and new technology can coincide, pleasing both older generations, who generally prefer long-established forms, and the newest generations, who know nothing except for modern forms.

In general, I have a very positive attitude toward technology, which led me to enroll in this class. I embrace using technology in one’s home, while “on the go,” and in the classroom or workplace. I am confident that EDIT 2000 will help me to better understand technology and to discover the types of technology that can aid me as both a student and a future educator.