With the development of science and technology, teaching activity does not only point at using blackboard, chalks and textbooks. In China, no matter elementary education stage or higher education stage, they have used technology to support their teaching. Those technologies include two types, one type is computers, television, projectors, smart board and Internet, etc. We call them hardware. The other type is video, PowerPoint, E-book, E-courseware, E-journal and so on. We call them software.
In classroom, the teachers are the prime users. Firstly, they design their course content with some technology in advance, for example, Power Point, video, according to textbooks and instructional objectives, in order that students can learn new knowledge in a vivid way. And then, they present their courseware in the classroom. But the show time is different. Some teachers present their content at warm-up and then use textbooks to go on teaching. Some teachers instruct the knowledge with their design content to students, so the computer is used all the time. Some teachers like to insert their design content during teaching activity. And some teachers always show their design content in conclusion part. Not many schools or universities have positive stipulation with technology application, so how to use technology to support their teaching depends on teachers themselves.
For students, they can use technology to learn in computer lab or at home except for in classroom. They search information from Internet, finish their homework with Power Point which teacher asked, review and practice their learning knowledge through E-courseware; sometimes they play games to entertain them. But they do not often use technology in learning actually.
I am an English teacher in an English training school. There is a computer lab in the school. In each classroom, there are computer, smart board, white board, projector, sound equipment and webcam. Different E-coursewares are installed in the computer. When we have class, we will sing a song and greet to everyone as warm-up, then I use white board or smart board or some games to make lesson introduction. After that, I display the E-courseware we will learn on the smart board, click on the voice key to make students hear the instruction, on the basis of different demand, students come to the smart board to drag, to click, to circle, to read and so on. In the process, I also add some exercises to help them understand the knowledge better. After learning E-courseware, I will show notebook (a kind of software) on the smart board to make them know the application of these knowledge and they also apply them on the notebook. That is not enough; we practice on the workbook or some contests on the white board to consolidate learning content. In conclusion, we will make a brainstorming or summary on the smart board to summarize the knowledge we learn today. After class, the students can go to computer lab to review E-courseware. Our examination is in the computer lab. The teacher choose questions from examination system in advance, then each student places headphone on and finish their test according to the questions they hear. After finishing all the questions, students see their scores immediately; meanwhile, they also get feedback and contents they need to review more from the test system.
This kind of interactive multimedia technology was introduced to China about ten years ago. It uses a vivid, interesting and relaxing mode to present knowledge to students. I think that technological application in learning and teaching is successful.
In fact, the current state of educational technology is not good enough in China. I discuss it from two points. On the one hand, many good educational technologies do not be spread into educational circumstance. A great deal of schools and universities unlike to spend more money and time on advanced educational technology. They do not recognize the importance of educational technology for learning and teaching. In their mind, traditional educational methods with a little educational technology also can ensure the quality of teaching and learning, applying more educational technology is not necessary. In contrast, owing to competition intensively, many training schools use more technology to support their teaching and learning. As a result, the use of technology in learning and teaching in China still fall behind compared with the developed countries.
On the other hand, teachers, as the main users of technology in the classroom, do not apply the educational technology better in their teaching process. Some teachers have less knowledge about application of technology; they do not pay more time and energy to think about the design of teaching contents. They are unwilling to use technology or use it rarely. Therefore, their classes are always boring and tedious, and the teaching effects are not satisfactory. Other teachers often use technology in their class. They always have new ideas and can scheme out good courseware. But the crucial question is that the practical application of technology in the classroom is very bad. The demonstration time is very long, ask students to learn based on courseware, display with courseware no matter what contents are; above all problems make students cannot pay attention on class and their learning initiative decrease. Therefore, the teaching target do not be achieved better.
In view of the foregoing situations, the matter of develop educational technology in learning and teaching should get a lot of publicity. For government, it need draw up relative policies to force schools and universities to apply technology in teaching and learning in a high level. Meanwhile, the departments of education and technology often conduct some training activities for teachers, in which they can acquire more advanced and useful knowledge about education and technology. In addition, the experts in this field need to design more and more practical and valuable educational technologies.
For schools and universities, they could organize many seminar and competition in order to raise teachers and students’ enthusiasm and intellectual passion with technology, and they must make a claim to teachers for application of technology in class.
For teachers, except for learning more knowledge and information about technology, they should be good at using those technologies effectively in their class. The design of the courseware, the application of the courseware, the utilization of other technology, the reaction and feedback of students, and the realization of teaching target, and so on. All of above should be considered by the teachers when they use technology to support teaching.
In a word, educational technology plays an important role in every country’s education and development. To China, we should research and develop advanced educational technology and popularize those research results to the greater domain. Furthermore, the practical application of those technologies in teaching and learning is the most crucial issue which we need to deal with now.