I received the Teaching Music magazine in the mail today and sat down to flip through it and found an interesting article about technology. After reading the article,”Making the Tech Connection”, I sat and thought about lower income students and how much technology benefits them. Okay, some of you are wondering where I am going with this. Keep reading.
The common assumption is that students are crawling in technology, they have iPods, computers, game systems, cell phones, etc… but, do they? In many schools with students from lower income households, technology could be intimidating and therefore cause education to be intimidating. Now, you are thinking that all students need to learn technology and therefore we should teach it if they don’t have the means to learn it at home. Of course we should! except when? between math, reading, writing, science, social studies, MUSIC…the list goes on and on!
We assume students come to us knowing the basics of technology, but in fact many of them do not. Of course, teacher led technology is fine, but asking some students to click a mouse to start a timer(see below), type a word, or scroll down a page could be a stressful event. They have had very little experience with a computer, much less a laptop and are just hoping not to be made fun of by the rest of the class if they mess up. Of course, to us this sounds very elementary.
Another instance of “wasted” technology. We have school web pages that host our personal classroom webpage that should be an excellent learning tool, but because many of our students do not have internet access it goes unused and ignored. I should be able to use it to communicate and give students extra activities to do at home, but many students are unable to access, navigate, or work a computer.
I worry that some teachers think it is so important to have technology that they forget what they started off to teach. For music education, music is still the “it” that we should be teaching. I feel like we should be aware of how much technology our students have been introduced to, before using the “cool” new computer program we have found. Before making the plunge into technology, I feel we should ask ourselves if it will be more intimidating or more helpful to our students.