Trends & Issues with Technology

Trend: Interactive Whiteboards (IWB)

Interactive Whiteboards (IWB) have been used in schools for quite some time now, and can offer a more “interactive” approach to teaching. However, like all technology, “the boards are only as good as the people using them.” IWB seem to have a hit-or-miss appeal for educators: some rave about them, others criticize their use. When used correctly and with the proper training, IWB can get students out of their seats and hands-on with their learning. They can encourage student engagement and creativity. In retrospect, people feel that a tablet and a projector will work just as well, since IWB are quite expensive. Others note that teachers may talk-to-the-board, or take away class time fidgeting with an IWB.

As a teacher in the 21st century, any technology for the classroom seems interesting to me. I like learning about tips/tricks and seeing different approaches to integrate certain technology in the classroom. It’s interesting to read/hear about the pros and cons each technology comes with, including that on IWB. I guess I was more surprised to read so many disapprovals; IWB seem valuable, but with some limitations of course. I would try my best to learn about the IWB, and utilize it effectively, if I had one in my classroom.

I have never used an IWB as a teacher, but find them to be a valuable resource when used properly to meet learning objectives. As an elementary math teacher, IWB seem to be a great way for students to share their work (and save it to look over for assessing where students are at with the material). With all the disapprovals of IWB from the articles, I can say I am a bit skeptical for their use. I think there are students/teachers who would benefit from them: teachers who are tech-savy and interested in maximizing the purpose of IWB ; students who need to be up and moving throughout the day, and enjoy an interactive method of learning. However, it is up to the teacher to truly utilize them to the best of their ability.

Issue: Identity Theft

From The United States Department of Justice website: “Identity theft is a crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal information in a way that involved fraud or deception.” A persons Social Security number, bank account or credit card number, name/address, and driver’s license number are all examples of personal information connected to ones identity. Surprisingly, children are at a much higher risk for identity theft because the crime often goes undetected for years, when they begin needing to use those personal numbers.

A statistic from a Carnegie Mellon CyLab report states that “10.2% of the children in the report had someone else using their Social Security number – 51 times higher than the 0.2% rate for adults in the same population”.

The Center for Identity has developed an online game for children ages 8 to 10. The game titled “Beat the Thief” allows players to decide whether to share, or not share, different types of information on a social media platform. Players gain points if the information is safe to share online, and risks having their identity stolen if the information is unsafe to share. A “thief” character can steal the players personal identifying information if they choose the wrong information to share.


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