Today in schools, a great deal of time in traditional classrooms is spent gathering information (taking notes) rather than processing the information and assimilating it (Newman & Newman , 2012). Teaching has shifted from an emphasis on teaching to one of learning; educators should focus more on the learning and less on the teaching (Cushner, McClelland, & Safford, 2012).  Teachers and students alike have spent too much time playing the game of school. The game of school is when the idea of learning is treated as a mindless duty, something to “get through any way you can” (Freid, 2001).  As times have evolved into the technology age, so should teaching.

Have you noticed that everyone seems to be glued to their smart phone, tablet, watch, or electronic device?  Where would we be without Google? Many students today are digital learners. According to the Pew Research website, as of January 2014, 74% of online adults are using some type of social network site.  According to the American Association of Pediatrics website, children today spend an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media (www.aap.org ). With some much time utilizing electronic media, it’s no wonder youth look to media for sex education. Educators should take cues from their learners and use the technology their learners spend so much time with.  Technology in the classroom can be a useful tool .

 Tips for using Technology in the Classroom

  • Make sure that students have access to some type of electronic device or chosen media
  • Make sure the space has internet/WI-FY access
  • Know what social networks your learners/students belong to
  • Ask the learners/students what topics they would like to learn about concerning sexuality
  • Know the kind of tech lingo that your learners are using
  • Assign work that requires learners to go on social media to complete
  • Use updated media that learners can identify with

Sexuality Education using Technology

An educator can teach the condom lineup using technology.  Have the learners’ video themselves explaining how to put on a condom to a peer, using the steps of the condom line up.  The learners can upload the video to YouTube and watch for a week or two to see who video has the most views. This allows the educator the ability to access the learner’s ability to properly use a condom.

An educator could have learners  find an image posted on one of  their social networks, that is sex positive and one of slut shaming, to facilitate a discussion about values.  The learners can explain why they think one is slut shaming and the other sex positivity, and how they would feel if the post was in reference to them.

If you think the previous examples are too much for you right now, try something simpler.  View a video or clip of a common show or film that your learners are familiar with, and create a discussion about that with regard to sexuality.  View media that is updated and that your learners can identify and are familiar with.

If you are looking to utilize an established curriculum, it may be a good idea to get a copy Bill Tavner’s Sex in the Digital Age (2014). A great exercise to begin with is the Linking Sex and technology lesson.

The use of technology and electronic devices are the norm in today’s society. Everything from cooking, driving, studying, writing, to listening to music is done electronically (Stratton, n.d.).   It’s highly unlikely that one’s job will not include some type of electronic use.  Instead of discouraging our youth and learners from utilizing their electronic devices, we need to include them.  Let’s use electronic technology to enhance the learning process and give our students an edge. The teaching focus should be on assisting our learners to become fluent digital learners!



American Association of Pediatrics. (n.d.) Media and children.  Retrieved from http://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx

Cushner, K., McClelland, A., & Safford, P. (2012). Human Diversity in Education: an intercultural approach. (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education Inc.

Freid, R. L. (2001). The passionate teacher: A practical guide. Boston, MA: Beacon Press

Newman, B. & Newman, P. (2012). Development Through Life: A Psychosocial Approach, 11th edition. Cengage Learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Pew Research Internet Project (n.d.). Social networking fact sheet. Retrieved from Pew Internet website http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

Stratton, A. (n.d.) Electronic world: How we use electronics in daily life. Retrieved from http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/137712/electronics/electronic_world_how_we_use_electronics_in_daily_life.html

8 responses to “iClassroom

  1. I agree that we should encourage youth to utilize technology to enhance their education. And while I’m actually on board, I do have a few personal reservations that I’m working through: bullying, access (which you address), and educators using it as a cop out.

    You say, “The learners can upload the video to YouTube and watch for a week or two to see who video has the most views. This allows the educator the ability to access the learner’s ability to properly use a condom.” Do you think that this could be a struggle for a teen who is the outcast? Perhaps they’re bullied or disliked by many students? I’m concerned that this could turn into a popularity contest. But on the other hand, I know that students like a good challenge. The flip side of this? YouTube owns any content that’s uploaded. Is this an issue for you? Or does it violate any school policies? All just notes to keep in mind for using tech in schools.

    It’s concerning that bullying can leave the schoolyards now and enter the bedroom by way of tech. This is a general concern and I think it will happen no matter what, and don’t think that using technology in the classroom will enhance this. Just something to be aware of.

    I hope educators won’t start using tech as a way to teach full-time, but use it as an enhancement and as a part of experiential learning. Do you think that this could be a possibility?

    Thanks for the article! And great title.

    • hey Justyn Hintze! As far as the video and bullying, it would be views in general. not just from those in the classroom. the students would have to promote their video by telling friends, family, social media followers, etc. This will also help them to begin a dialogue about safer sex practices. It could also been done with using a media message for contraception or STIs, HIV testing, etc. The teacher will have to monitor the videos and will be on guard for any suspicious comments.

      I agree technology is an enhancement, not a replacement.

  2. I’m concerned about access as well. Obviously those of us who wish to employ these types of technologies in the classroom ought to be mindful of the possibility that our students may not possess portable computers. In addition, one of the challenges I face as a teacher at a community college is that students may be able to access technology on campus but either do not have reliable internet service at home or do not have consistent access to their own personal computer.

    Another concern is the technological age/generation gap. Many of my students are just returning to the classroom after decades-long absences, and they are overwhelmed enough by the rigors of the academic classroom without being presented with mandatory technology-based assignments. Just yesterday a student confided in me that she is worried about her research project because we’ve spent so much class time on library databases and she just wants to use “old fashioned” print sources (which our librarians also covered, but our library faculty are also bullish on ed tech). I reassured her that excellent academic work can be done using only print sources (that has ceased to be intuitive sentiment!).

    Finally, I worry a bit about encouraging students to engage even more in social media. It seems to me that they already do social media pretty well, without our help. I understand the “meet them where they are” argument, but I’ve always felt that part of my job as an educator was to advocate for the rules, mores, and milieu of academia. I try to emphasize that the scholarly way of doing things isn’t the only legitimate way, but it is one of several, and it is privileged among professionals. Of course I want to show my enthusiasm for scholarly inquiry–and I occasionally use social media, popular culture, etc. to do that–but I’m not quite ready to make the classroom an extension of our mostly-commercial mainstream culture.

    Having said all of that, I agree that digital/media literacy skills are important, and since we know that many of our students consume digital media in large quantities, it is incumbent upon us as educators to engage with these media in active, responsible ways.

  3. Cashanda,

    Great job. I haven’t thought of doing assignments and or allowing internet surfing for assignments. I like the idea of incorporating technology in the classroom, but, I personally have a problem with implementing it. I really like your assignment ideas. I personally am skeptical with the use of technology because I feel students will take that opportunity to try and do something else beside what they should be using the internet for. I think this blog was innovative because I am skeptical about using technology in the class. Thank You for the ideas.

  4. Schools today are full of smart boards, desk tops, and students sneaking on their phones to chat, the technology is here to stay. I must admit I am not a fan. I find students more disconnected from each other as they get sucked into the cyber world. However, some time ago I started an anonymous Facebook and gmail account for students with questions that they were uncomfortable with asking in class. I became connected to their fears and misinformation and understood that their communication through these channels was a type of bravery generationally I just underestimated.
    If students (all learners of all ages) were taught to not abuse but engage technology some of us might not be so fearful to engage with it.
    I enjoyed the ideas you shared. I would also like to add: online polling to gage what students think and what they grasp it’s fun and it adds to the lesson plan instead of detracting. I would also add sex positive vine videos- students learn to be creative and think of sexuality in a healthy important lens to communicate to other peers.

  5. I think technology in the classroom can both be a blessing and a curse. Classes are so much more advanced now than when I was in high school. I just recently was taught how to use a SmartBoard. They are great tools, but I also see so much more technological distractions. Learners in the schools I teach at are glued to their phones; it’s basically an extra appendage. I think students need to be taught to utilize technology but to not let it run their lives.
    I struggle with using social media in the classroom. I think it could potentially be a beneficial tool….but with the right learners. Depending on age and maturity, I think some learners might take advantage of the social media aspect and ignore the assignment and just gossip and chat with their peers. With the right audience, I think it could be very beneficial, but for me, I’d really have to assess the maturity level of the class before utilizing it.
    I was also thinking a lot about the issue of bullying that Justyn mentioned in her comment. Creating a YouTube video doing a condom lineup could be useful, and if it was done correctly, it could be used to educate learners outside of your classroom. It would also allow the educator to assess what areas of the condom lineup might be confusing to students. However, if the teacher is using this as a tool to see who can get the most views, I think it could easily turn into a popularity contest that might make some students feels ostracized. Also, if a student is bullied, they may be nervous to even post a video of themselves, in fear of being ridiculed by their peers.
    Thanks for the post Cashanda. I appreciate the tips you suggested and different ways an educator can utilize media in the classroom. It can be so effective and reach many different learning styles, but I think its use should be monitored.

  6. Many responses have address the concern of perpetuating a seemingly obsessive reliance that present society has on technology. While I continue to ruminate on several of the same questions, a quote from Don Dyson sticks out in my head. He suggested that as a society, we are constantly (and will forever be) fighting the technology of the day. He stated that not long ago, television and movies fell under the label of technology and that people feared how easy access to the information, along with new distractions, and a whole list of cons, was the hot topic issue to be worried about. And it was, just as all new technology brings pros and cons. The internet, for example. But, instead of postulating whether or not students will use the classroom technology for other things, why not focus on how to engage the ones that will listen? I’m not suggesting that we disregard the conversation around how to make media in the classroom safe and effective, but that this discussion be centered around what it CAN do well, instead of what it might do negatively.

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