How New Technologies Will Help Students Learn More
Many teachers have access to the latest educational technologies but do not necessarily recognize the value of this great resource. Regardless of how far behind educators are on technology adoption, it can still provide great opportunities to optimize teaching and learning. As a teacher in the Golden West Unified School District (GVWUSD), I was ready to modernize my teaching and was actively searching for ways to incorporate my new classroom resources into my teaching. But as my research progressed, one unique piece of information I did not have was a resource that emphasized student-centered learning. I searched and searched and could not find the word “student-centered.”
The term “student-centered learning” is often used loosely to mean things like “more hands-on experiences,” and I found that a growing trend in classrooms today is to separate students into “gifted” and “elite” audiences. While I was studying what worked for my students in the classroom, I noticed it was not so much what the students were doing, but rather how they were doing it. I expected to find students just popping into my classroom, running through it with me, being my peers. In fact, I was surprised by how students were interacting and learning so differently. Instead of running through the classroom and manipulating the things I was offering them, students were actually sharing with me some of the aspects of the external world that they were passionate about. Instead of being wrapped up in the work I was giving them, they were active participants in the process. This was truly unique to our classroom and I was excited about having the opportunity to incorporate it into my teaching.
I am not sure why I was not looking for more information regarding the topic of student-centered learning in my research. Perhaps teachers are used to teaching students exactly what they have mastered and not necessarily their interest level, and an emphasis on student-centered learning may not be such a drastic change, but I believe it can be beneficial for all teachers. And what is so interesting about this is that I finally found an opportunity to incorporate what students were already doing into my teaching, despite the previous limitations. To see how exciting this is for my students, allow me to explain my hypothesis for what this means for students.