Operation English Teachers

What started out as a “goodbye” led to an investigation on the English teachers of Penn Manor High School. Operation English Teachers is an investigation between three teachers, to see how technology has affected their students learning. The three teachers investigated are Scott Hertzog, Holly Mercadante, and Gregg McGough.

Classroom Observations:

Penn Manor HS students have been issued laptops, thanks to the 1:1 Laptop Program. These students walked into their English class with a laptop in hand, as well as the passion for learning. Although all three English teachers use different procedures to keep their students on task, the outcome of excellent work is the same.  The students were respectful to their teacher and used technology at appropriate times.

Students Choice: Pen and Paper or Laptops?

Newer technology is being used throughout classrooms, such as laptops, smartboards, and even cell phones. Does technology exceed the traditional pen and paper? Students were asked this simple question, “Do you prefer using laptops in English class, or pen and paper?”. A majority of the students interviewed would rather use laptops because Open Source programs make it easier to be creative when making presentations or taking notes on a subject. Students use applications such as Google Drive, Google Classroom, Evernote, YouTube, Moodle, etc. Students have also been using Open Source powered programs such as LibreOffice, Audacity, Open Shot, etc.

When asked if he rather use pen and paper or laptops, PM sophomore Martin Zavadan replies with “Paper and pencil, because English is a class to learn about grammar and how to write, and using your laptop makes a shortcut, and doesn’t allow you to learn”. Although, PM sophomore Corbin Wenger-Campbell could disagree. Corbin prefers using laptops because he enjoys and believes that technology can benefit ones learning if used correctly. Corbin is also left handed, and using laptops helps him type documents faster than what it would write them. 

Technology – Teachers Opinions

The few teachers had similar answers when asked, “How does technology affect the learning of your students? Do you think it’s left a positive impact on their learning?” The main concept being that technology has left a positive impact on their students and using technology makes them interested in concepts resembling the lesson they’re learning. It also provides them the ability to create amazing digital projects, as well as researching information for the project. Holly Mercadante agreed because her students can put their ideas in one place that’s user-friendly and she can also reply back to their work using Socrative. Using technology can also keep teenagers attention and add a fun flair to their school routine. 

Teachers are starting to adapt to using technology in the classroom, especially with the increase in devices that could help further one’s education.  Not only are the students learning, but the teachers are as well. Technology can bring different challenges to teachers such as “How can I make this look cool so the students will pay attention?”, or “What applications would my students be interested in?”.

The underlining question that these teachers were asked, “Do you believe that all teachers should use some form of technology in the classroom?”. Scott Hertzog replied with a yes and no. “You don’t need technology to teach students”, Hertzog believes that teachers should be comfortable when using technology or it doesn’t benefit the teacher or the student. Teaching has been around since the start of mankind. We’ve used different procedures to teach, but for the longest time, it didn’t involve technology. Now that technology has been introduced to our updated lifestyle, it’s left greater impacts on the world of medicine, industrial, commercial, communication, etc. Without this technology to affect teaching, we would still move on to teach the children of the future how to build, fix, and think logically on their own. Technology just increases the productivity and excitement in students and teachers.

Created by: Susan Black

Edited by: Spencer Creasy

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