Article #3 from an ongoing Series
SCANS Encourages My Confidence in Classroom Technology
by Sue X. Lian
I had always thought it difficult to integrate technology into my teaching until I joined the SCANS (Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) project on campus. Acquiring information and working with technologies are two of five competencies SCANS emphasizes and are the two competencies I worked with in my SCANS project. A SCANS project is an excellent way for students to connect what they learn in the classroom to real world situations. With the encouragement of Dean Sandra Handler and my SCANS project mentor, Sharon Donovan, I decided to give technology a try.
One challenge I faced in my Chinese language class was teaching how to do research on the web in both English and Chinese. I made a point of presenting the research mainly in Chinese with supporting help in English. The objective of this research project was to find jobs requiring Chinese language skills.
Since I wasnít much of a technology person myself, I relied heavily on help from other sources. The CCSF Language Center has been a wonderful support; my class was fortunate to have Carol Reitan provide the class with informative research sessions. She also helped with individual sessions which were crucial to the success of our research project. One example of what my students learned was to use the Google Language Tools feature to search in both English and Chinese.
During the group research sessions, students helped each other with both language and research skills. The students learned from each othersí presentations; they were able to compare how each carried out their research and saw what results were found. Some groups used technology to present their findings. Colorful PowerPoint presentations and creative web page designs electrified the class. Other groups acted out what they had found in their research and still others used music as the presentation medium. The students showed a wide variety of creative ways to present their research findings.
Later in the semester, one of the groups that presented came to one of my other classes which had not yet used technology for research. The presentation was very well received. This experience has given me new ideas to maximize studentsí performance.
Not only have my students learned a lot through using technology, but as an instructor, I also learned along with them. Although I was originally hesitant to use technology, I have grown to enjoy it and see it as a useful resource in learning. More importantly, when we keep an open mind and a positive attitude, nothing is impossible.