An Occasion When Technology Really Helped

If I am honest, there are times when I struggle with the infusion of technology in education. To be sure, the vast majority of the time, I am a believer in and supporter of all things tech as they can provide for deep and meaningful learning. But, some days, I have to admit that I question what technology does to our attention span and our personal interactions. Today is not that day.

We are in the middle of exam week, which is a stressful time for both students and teachers. Before my exam today, I had a student tell me that she had been feeling dizzy all day, and that looking at a sheet of paper with writing on it made her even more dizzy. I asked her if she wanted to go see the nurse, and if she was feeling good enough to take the exam, and she told me that she would be fine.

About 30 minutes into the exam, it was clear both to me and the student that she was not fine. She had finished the multiple choice, but was clearly struggling to complete the test. She asked if she could go outside to get some air, which I of course let her do. As she was outside, I pondered what to do. She was clearly determined to finish the test, but on the other hand, I was equally determined to not let her suffer through the essay part of my exam. So, I told her that she could record herself speaking her essay answers, using Vocaroo. She was happy to do so, and I let her sit outside in the fresh air (luckily the weather was nice enough to allow this), and she was able to complete the exam using Vocaroo, without feeling any worse.

By using Vocaroo, not only was she able to finish the exam without feeling dizzy, but she also managed to do very well on the exam. To me, this is clearly an example of what technology can do for us in teaching. Granted, this was an exceptional situation, but it does illustrate some of the possibilities available to us when we employ the use of technology. I still believe that tech for tech own sake is a bad idea, but today, I am grateful for the technology that is available to both teachers and students.

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