Ask the Experts: Advantages of Technology in the Classroom

Do you think using technology in the classroom really makes learning any easier or better for students?

As someone who uses technology quite a bit in my teaching, I often get the question of whether it makes a difference in student learning. To be frank, I don’t think my students make better dances because I use technology, nor do I think they understand the concepts I teach any better than when I used a cork or dry-erase board. I’ve also found that there’s a considerable cost of my time when using new technology for the first time: I need to create new materials, alter the curriculum and learn how to operate the new stuff.

That being said, technology definitely has its benefits when used intelligently. Once I’ve created my materials (my SMART Board Notebook pages, for example) they’re always ready to go—and just a mouse click away. Plus, my materials look professional, which I do think affects student learning to some extent: Students are more likely to commit to what you’re teaching when it looks official. Much of the technology I use is a huge time-saver, too (after the initial setup, that is). Increasing my efficiency actually gives me more teaching time, since I’m not wasting time shuffling through materials.

But I do think students should have tactile experiences to cement their learning. That’s why I’m not giving up my handmade set of Language of Dance flashcards (made using the technology available to me at the time—computer, printer and laminator). My students hold those in their hands when they direct their peers in dancemaking.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

News
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.