Technology in the Classrooms

To begin discussing technology and some different ways in which it affects our education, I searched some general articles that indeed show how our education is affected by the increase in technology. Some may argue that it brings up so much information to us at the click of a button that in fact it may lead us to not question sources but take the information we find for granted.

While there are many be proponents and opponents to the increase in technology in everyday life, which seems to change (and improve) every week, I did find one article in the New York Times that shows how the use of technology in the classroom is beneficial to both the students and the teacher, and how the technology can have an immediate impact on the students. 

In the article, which discusses a start up company by the name of Panorama Education, students can take an online survey at any time during a semester on the effectiveness of the teacher and the class. And the results are immediate to the teacher, which allows him or her to change as the students need. The start up has great supporters like Facebook and Google Ventures, which has helped its growth, and it is already being used in some of the largest school districts in the country. 

I really like the concept behind this idea, and think that it would be very effective if it were implemented here at UMass. Why wait to the end of the semester to take a survey that grades the performance of the teacher? If this was something we saw here, it could change how teachers do their jobs and could be very effective to what students are learning in the classroom. I feel the surveys that are given are very difficult to answer in the first place, and I feel as though half of them are not even read, particularly in large classes. And since each semester costs thousands and thousands of dollars to each student, wouldn’t this help ensure that we are getting the best education possible?

Does anyone else think this might be a good idea at the collegiate level, or at UMass in particular? If not, what could be a downside to implementing this survey system?

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2 Responses to Technology in the Classrooms

  1. curiouskritter says:

    The Panorama Education company sounds like it could have a substantial impact on the teacher-student dynamic, though like any new piece of technology it is at the direct disposal of those who use it, and can therefore be manipulated. Speaking as a student, I have met many dispassionate students who are hungrier for a steady GPA than the lessons offered in the classroom. Would students misdirect their professors to simply make the class easier? That being said, it seems this program has great potential to fill the gap (generational, cultural, technological) that often exists between student and professor. I would be interested in reading an article that explores the effects of Panorama in schools where it has been instituted.

  2. samafaithra says:

    I think Panorama Education is an interesting use of technology. Though end-of-semester evaluations help educators learn how to improve or modify their teaching methods for the next class of students, something like Panorama is quick and immediate and would improve the course as it is occurring. Like any new media or technology, there are going to be people who misuse it. I think this idea would be great to install into a classroom on trial and error — whereas the students review the class anonymously and the professor reads them but doesn’t act upon it. Opening this line of communication is a great way to improve the student-teacher barrier and to implement yet another advance in educational technology.

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