Teaching With Technology: Rita Buhite

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Rita Buhite. She is a Computer Teacher and Technology Integrator at Ridgway High School in Ridgway, PA.

How do you currently integrate technology in your classroom (e.g., products used, devices, etc.)?
I am the computer teacher at Ridgway HS, so I have the luxury of integrating technology into all of my classes every day. I teach a wide variety of subjects ranging from Microsoft Office to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I also teach a 21st Century Skills course which utilizes all Web 2.0 tools including wikispaces, blogs, Google docs and sites, Go animate – to name a few.

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
Using technology in the classroom allows me to engage students and allows them to think outside of the box. When we use technology there is not one way of doing a task. It is all based on personal preference. A disadvantage is that I heavily rely on technology. If a site is down or a tool is not working properly, I always have to be prepared and have a backup plan.

How have your students benefited from technology?
Students are actively engaged in their learning when they use technology. They produce products in my class. I don’t give multiple choice tests; I make them demonstrate their skills through the use of a project. They also learn how to find answers on their own. They have the best encyclopedia available to them to use – the Internet.

If money were no object, what would you like to see happening in your classroom with respect to use of technology?
If money were no object I would love to redesign my classroom so that it represented business. I want students in my classroom to be more mobile. I want them to be able to work together more in groups, rather than just students next to each other.

We hear the phrase “21st Century Skills” often with respect to technology and education. What are “21st Century Skills?”
21st century skills are skills that student need to succeed in life. Problem solving, collaborating, communicating; these are some of the skills students need to be successful both in and out of school.

Describe the “classroom of 2040.” What’s different? What’s the same?
Students will be the focal point of education in 2040. They will be able to make more decisions with regards to their education. They will be able to develop and master skills that interest them. Technology will not be something new to them. It will be like a newspaper to older people; always there. Everyone will have access to technology and to tools to enhance their lives.