My name is Jackasha-Janaee Wiley. I have a Masters of Education with a social studies certification from Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. I have a Bachelors of Art in History and Women and Gender Studies. I am currectly teaching two Social Science classes for the Rutgers Upward Bound program. I am looking forward to becoming a social studies teacher in an urban school district that is very warm and friendly with goals of educating their students to become successful professionals through student and educator mentorship to ensure further growth and development.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What is technology's position in the classroom?

My personal reflections on the Education Debate
Yes, I believe technology should be incorporated into the classroom to promote academic engagement and success. I think it is very important to reach out to all students by any means necessary.  During my student teaching and substitute positions, I incorporate technology, especially multimedia, as often as possible. At the same time, I find technology in the classroom to be a major concern of many educators with regard to excluding those who may not have access to it, or may not be able to use it (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory: Technology in Education Articles). Regardless of what research may indicate concerning positive effects of technology on student learning, technology will be of limited use in achieving the goals of NCLB if is not available to all students. Most technology present in students are only accessible to particular students like those in Honors or other advanced classes. That doesn’t allow all student access.  Midway through my student teaching, my cooperating received a new multimedia process system that was connected to his whiteboard. We were all excited about possibly being able to use it. Unfortunately, we were told that they cannot be used until the next academic school year.  That doesn’t allow student access. My school is filled with students who come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds that receive limited access to various forms of media and technology (at home) shouldn’t they receive what is lacked at school? (eSchool News, 2005a). What about achieving the goals of NCLB?

Statistics show that schools serving students living in poverty tend to use technology for more traditional memory-based and remedial activities, while schools serving wealthier communities are more likely to focus on communication and expression.  In the urban school, technology is being used as an "reinforcement of skills" and "remediation of skills," while in suburban schools, technology is used to "analyze information" and "present information to an audience" (Becker, 2000b). In our urban schools, we must redirect our primary focus for incorporating technology in our curriculums in similar ways as our counter parts in order to close the achievement gap.
Overall, I believe that today’s classrooms, media and technology are replacing the original instructional basis of many teachers’ curriculum. As a history teacher, my primary goal in the classroom is to encourage historical thinking by examining the World and American histories. Unfortunately, this is often seen as a difficult task when my students have negative encounters with history (which is often perceived as boring) because of the different interpretations displayed in the media and the standard textbooks. I feel that we must “look beyond [to find various] learning strategies that address the needs of the learners in [our] classrooms” (Stewart & Brendefur 2005, pg. 1). We must instruct our students in “way[s] that facilitate performance of the tasks necessary for [historical] success” (pg. 1). As educators, it is very important for us to change our students’ perspectives and perceptions of history being irrelevant and uninteresting. History classes should not fall short but provide students with the ability to approach historical accounts critically so they can accurately understand the past and the affects that it still has on present day. As we create lesson plans, we cannot “fail to capture [our students] understandings or modes of engagements” (Rubin 2005).  It is very important for students to develop the skills of historical empathy and perspectives so that they are able to see that there is a world and life outside of their respective town. Students must be given the opportunity to discover the difference and embrace it by expressing themselves through writing. We must successfully give our students a “direct window into what the past looked like, felt like, and what it meant” so they can better understand what was going on (Seixas & Peck, 2004 pg. 109).


  1. You make so many excellent points! One important point you discuss is the "digital divide"--where wealthier students have more access to technology than students who are from a lower economic status. You also point out that students in poorer districts are often exposed to technology which only reinforces low-level learning and remediation--that it is not used for higher level thinking. I think this is a valid point, and it shows that not all technology is geared towards innovative teaching practices or higher order thinking. Many educators believe, for example, that testing is narrowing the curriculum. If technology is used to support this, it only reinforcing this.

  2. Jackasha,

    I really liked your post. I am really glad that you would incorporate technology into your lessons to try to make history class a more fun, exciting learning experience for students. I specialized in social studies up to 8th grade, and one of my interests is how to make social studies a subject that students are engaged in rather than one that they dread. I think using technology in a way that promotes creativity, collaboration, and engagement with material taught is a great way to make history a fun subject while also helping students learn the information and skills they must know.

    Also, I could really relate to your point about how in lower districts often just use technology for reinforcement and remediation. I remember volunteering in New Brunswick, and the only time they used computers in the library was when she had them practice phonics. Even the 4th graders would just play games rather than use it to blog research, etc. It is definitely important to not just use technology in poorer districts, but it is important to use it to its fullest potential (i.e. have students use it to collaborate and be creative).

  3. Thanks Tiffany. I definitely agree that technology should be used and implemented to its fullest potential!

  4. Thanks also Mary. We must try and end this digital divide!