A variety of technology is not being integrated effectively into high school classrooms across rural Manitoba, one teacher’s findings show.
Portage Collegiate Institute teacher David Nutbean, who resides in Oakville, has been teaching at PCI for 12 years and is now completing his master of education thesis project through Brandon University.
Through a series of online surveys consisting of various questions pertaining to student and teacher computer, mobile technology and Internet usage, Nutbean set out to learn more about the effectiveness of technology integration into high school classrooms across southwestern Manitoba.
“They’re not using a large variety of technology that they could be using,” Nutbean said.
After surveying 55 teachers from 11 school divisions across southwestern Manitoba, Nutbean said his data shows that teachers are using a larger variety of technology in the classroom when compared to students.
Technological barriers across rural Manitoba, such as a lack of Internet access and strict school division policies, could be reasons why usage is low among students, he said.
“Barriers such as filters, blocking and policies ... prevent the use of technology by students and that is prominently one of the reasons why there is less student use of technology but a teacher’s choice of how they use technology is also a factor,” he said.
Certain blocked content on school computers now has high school students relying on their personal handheld devices.
“Filtering software, especially at the high school level, should probably be minimized so that you can have conversations about ethics and responsibility instead of students just using their phones,” he said. “At the elementary level, of course you want to block more stuff because once they’ve seen it, you can’t take it back.”
After making his thesis presentation in front of BU administration and staff on Monday, Nutbean said he’s looking forward to other teachers taking his data and recommendations into consideration. One recommendation he has for teachers is to give students more of a variety of assignments that incorporate technology.
Integrating technology into the classroom involves more than just computers, it requires proper teaching methods when it comes to using those devices, he said.
“Technology is going to have a bigger role in the classroom. How it’s going to be used in the classroom will be determined by teachers and hopefully the results of this study will help bring more effective use of technology in the classroom,” he said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 3, 2013