Teaching with Technology Roundtable: Introduction- 2012 Workshop

Presenter: Kay Porter

The introduction of technology into our daily lives and classrooms has had a profound effect in the ways in which students learn. We are now reaching a point in time where teachers who have grown up using the internet, wireless devices, and social media technology are replacing those who didn’t. However, teachers that rely solely on lecturing, the way many of them were taught, are losing an opportunity to connect with the students. In the composition classroom, a teaching method modeled on the day to day atmosphere of fragmented, simultaneous interactions with multiple applications will appeal to the mass of twenty-first century students as a whole and, through this appeal, will provide a more effective teaching model than classrooms sans technology.

Students of the Twenty First Century

  • Technology is a foundation on which the students run their daily life. They use personal technology every day, sometimes several times a day, by facebooking, blogging, tweeting, or even using a video game console or cell phone.
  • “Today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV)” (Madigan 1). This means that these students are spending more time using the technology for entertainment than studying the “traditional” way (such as reading and writing).
  • Even when they are doing school work, students are using technology simultaneously. As they are writing papers for various classes, many students will have a writing program open along with some social media page, (such as Facebook, Twitter).
  • These students are used to receiving information very fast and at the same time. In fact, “parallel process[ing] and multi-task[ing]” (Prensky 2) are what the students are more comfortable doing, rather than sitting still, waiting on the vital part of the information.
  • Because of their immersion into technology such as videogames for several hours each day, multiple days a week, these children have trained their brains to facilitate speed, graphics, sound, interactivity, and other aspects that the technology makes use of.
  • Due to decreased time reading books and studying texts in the traditional way, many of today’s students have less experience with focused close reading and spend less time reflecting on individual texts.
  • Students’ technology capabilities: Laptops, smart phones, iDevices, etc.

Technology in the Classroom

How do these technologies change the classroom? They already have. When a class is lecture based, chances are the students are taking out their phones and texting, playing games, or watching videos while only partially listening to the information being given. Being used to doing multiple things at the same time and having a more  interactive process of learning when out of the classroom and then coming into the classroom where there is only one thing going on is mind-numbingly boring for many students. Why not have the students’ use the technology to learn, instead of just policing or tolerating their use of technology to entertain themselves while they are supposed to be learning? Not only can we use the limited technology provided by the school, we can have the students use the technology that they have right in their pocket. By having an assignment tailored to the incorporation of technology, there is a greater chance of the material being retained by the students because there are several senses involved in the learning process.

A number of prestigious studies support the use of technology to enhance learning in the classroom, including those by:

  • United State Air Force
  • Lightspan Partnership
  • Click Health
  • Camatasia in the Classroom: Student Attitudes and Preferences for Video Commentary or Microsoft Word Comments During the Revision Process

Types of Technology

There are several types of technology that can be useful for enhancing instruction, including:



Technology and its use in and outside the classroom as a way of instruction greatly increase the learning ability of students. Not only does technology aid in instruction, its incorporation in the classroom is the preferred method of learning by many students today. By tailoring our lessons to use technology as a way to build cognitive learning, we will be instructing the students in a medium in which they are already adept and comfortable with. Attention to lessons will increase as well as the retention of information on the students’ part.


Pocket Technology Exercise: Break into groups (5-6 in each group) and compare the technology that each person has brought. How many brought a cell phone? How many cell phones are considered smart phones? How many brought iDevices? (ipod, ipad, iphone). How many brought lap tops? How many have been using the technology in during this symposium?



  • Madigan, Dan. “The Technology Literate Professoriate: Are We There Yet.” The IDEA Center. The IDEA Center, 2006. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.
  • McMullen, Cary. “FSC Students Help St. Joseph’s Teachers Get ‘Smart’.” The Ledger[Lakeland] 13 Dec. 2009, sec. B: B1. TheLedger.com. Web.
  • Porter, Kay. “Teaching with Technology.” Composition in the Piney Woods, May 2012. Web.
  • Prensky, Marc. “A Huge Leap for the Classroom: True Peer-to-Peer Learning, Enhanced by Technology.” Educational Technology & Change (2011). Web.
  • Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the Horizon 9.5 (2001). Print.
  • Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the Horizon 9.6 (2001). Print.
  • Prensky, Marc. “Elimination the ‘App Gap’.” Educational Technology & Change (2012). Web.
  • Prensky, Marc. “The 21st- Century Digital Learner.” Edutopia. The George Lucas Educational Foundation, 22 May 2008. Web.
  • Prensky, Marc. “Why You Tube Matters.” On the Horizon 18.2 (2010). Print.
  • Silva, May L. “Camatasia in the Classroom: Student Attitudes and Preferences for Video Commentary or Microsoft Word Comments During the Revision Process.”Computers and Composition 29.1 (2011): 1-22. Print.
  • Warschauer, Mark. “Technology and Writing.” International Handbook of English Language Teaching. Ed. Jim Cummins and Chris Davison. New York: Springer, 2007. 907-12. Print.