Take tech talks up a notch

Chronicle Staff

Because students are typically more technology-savvy than teachers, it seems logical that how technology is used in and out of the classroom should be a decision made jointly by teachers and their students.

Teachers shouldn’t dismiss new technology without first asking the students. The students who attended Alan November’s technology presentation said that some of his ideas seemed helpful, but most students heard nothing about him or heard negative reports. Students who were there said that many teachers were so dismissive that they sat in the back of the room checking e-mails and shopping online.

The faculty should be more encouraging of technological advances. We’re not asking to replace the classroom with the Internet, just to have more supplementary educational materials online. Marlborough, Phillips Exeter Academy and Milken Community High School all have better online resources than we do. Don’t let us get left behind without asking our opinion.

Many simple advances could improve the classroom experience for students and, no doubt, for teachers, who would appreciate the better-prepared students. Just having teacher schedules and class notes online would be a great help. November’s suggestions — that we should have podcasts, blogs, wikis and global communication in the classroom — seem like in some cases they could be exceedingly helpful.

For Honors Chemistry, science teacher Stephen Marsden puts lecture notes online along with labs and handouts. He even has videos of AP Chemistry labs online. Latin teacher Paul Chenier actively takes part in Moodle, the school’s online forum. He has his students post translations gone over in class. Students find these resources immensely helpful. It is baffling that progressive teachers like Marsden and Chenier are in the minority.

Don’t fight the technology. Let’s modernize. Of course not everything November talked about applies to every class, but teachers shouldn’t dismiss everything behind closed doors. Let students be part of the decision.