Keystone Magazine - Page 68

Interview You both have been involved in the information technology (IT) field for about 20 years and have spent a majority of that time working for schools. This is a testament to the influence that technology has had on education. Based on your experiences, how has technology changed the way that teachers teach and the student’s learning experience? Q: instantaneously through the online network. So these technologies give students access to lively, and engaging platforms that have the potential to pique their interests in what they are learning and improve learning outcomes. For teachers, access to and comfort with these technologies allows them to obtain information from many different sources and present this information to students through different channels. A: Of course, while the old classroom may seem relatively simple and outdated to us today, many smart people were able to learn in those environments. So we cannot say definitely that access to innovative technologies necessarily produces better students, though we can say for certain that technologies improve the ways in which information can be presented. At Keystone, we will not use technology just to use technology. Rather, we will use technology where we can pique a student’s interest in their learning and to guide them to engage with the content they are exploring. I will give the metaphor of a chef to illustrate my point. We want to cultivate chefs who are able to create new foods and menus based on their own experiences and thoughts. We do not want to create chefs who use what is on the menu to repeatedly make the same dishes. IT is simply a tool to be used by our chefs to deepen their understanding of the different foods and their ingredients and to explore new and creative ways to present or express these outcomes based on their findings. Dong Ai: Compared with the classrooms of old, which consisted of blackboards, chalk, and a podium, the classrooms of today, which consist of iPads, laptop computers, projectors, multimedia speakers and remote controls, and storage equipment, are much more engaging and interesting. Students now can watch inspiring videos related to the content they are studying, they could search the internet for information, talk with students overseas using online technologies, and share findings with students Dong Ai on holiday in Tanzania Sean: Access to information is one notable impact that IT has had on education. Currently, I am enrolled in a Master’s program in a University that is based in the UK, for example. I do all of my studying online. We have classmates as far away as Africa, the UK, the U.S., and I am in China, but we are all in the same classroom. On the other hand, my wife always talks about when she got her Master’s degree and how she spent much of her time in the library doing research and pulling down books to get information for her thesis. I am now able to do this on my computer. Our access to information and global cultures has changed dramatically as has the speed in which we can integrate this data into our lives. At the same time, I think that we are still defining how IT is changing teaching in education. IT is a tool that can be used like everything else, so it all boils down to how teachers choose to use it and how they relate to the technology. You can use technology as a tool to substitute other things, such as books. Or you can use it to create entirely new worlds that were not possible for you to do in a classroom before; to design an enzyme, break it down, and understand the workings of microns. The possibilities are endless. I do not think that we have hit the end of what we see as good use of technology. 66 The Keystone Magazine