Have Silicon Valley Teachers Using Technology Daily Altered Their Classroom Practice? (Part 2)

Of the 37 teachers who replied to my questions, 24 (65 percent) said yes.

Nine (24 percent) said “no.” I sorted  the “no” answers into two bins. Six teachers who said “no” explained that using digital tools had not changed their ways of teaching because they had been using high-tech devices since they entered the profession or labeled themselves as “digital natives” even before they began teaching. The other three teachers who said “no” gave different answers.


Lyuda Shemyakina, a biology teacher at Mountain View High School in the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, has been a teacher for six years, two of which were in Chicago. Her response was:

Technology facilitates the gathering and disseminating of information in my classroom, but I wouldn’t say it has fundamentally changed how I teach. 

For example, designing, scaffolding, and handing out homework and classwork are integral parts of my teaching practice. Whereas in another country or another decade I might have made paper copies or made students write these down, many/most things now are electronic. Students can see all my presentations (directions for class); students can e-mail me with questions, and students have fewer excuses for not knowing the homework. I literally post it in five different places from with the white board in my room to a public on-line space. I also post links to helpful videos, worksheets, etc. to help both struggling and advanced students….[i]

Ultimately, though, a teacher is still an intellectual who must design or select instruction and instructional materials, including assessments. If I don’t have the skills to appropriately design and assess activities, no amount of technology can help me. For instance, during the class you saw, I chose to have students design and share analogies. These were very telling as a measure of their understanding of basic genetics. If I had asked the wrong question, like “do you get genetics?” it wouldn’t have mattered what technology I used.  

David Campbell, a teacher of Spanish and a National Board Certified Teacher. He has taught 16 years, the last eight at Mountain View High School.

Technology has changed how I teach a little, but not that much. Ultimately it is the personality of the class and their engagement that allows a teacher to do what they need to do. If they don’t feel engaged with the material, or invested in the class, nothing you do will matter. Children are smart enough to know when their teacher cares and knows the material, putting up flashy things and bells and whistles isn’t going to automatically engage them.ii]

The rest of the teachers had said “no” because they had been using high-tech devices for years before I observed them. For example, here is Stephen Hine who is in his third year teaching physics at Los Altos High School.

To answer your question about if technology has changed my teaching, I would say not really from a typical ‘change’ perspective. I was trained into the technology focuses educational environment so I have been integrating tech into my classroom since my student teaching days. I have definitely developed my lessons to more smoothly utilize the various instructional tools so you could say my teaching has changed in that way. I am always open to learning about new tools as well. An example is halfway through last year I began to use “Actively Learn” which is an online reading assignment tool that allows for built in questions that students have to answer before continuing through the assignment. I now use it for all of my class reading homework.[iii]

Part 3 takes up responses from four teachers who said that integrating technologies into their daily lessons has both changed and not changed the ways they teach.


[i] Lyuda Shemyakina’s email received October 13, 2016. In author’s possession. A description of the lesson I observed is at: https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/teaching-biology-at-mountain-view-high-school-technology-integration/

[ii] David Campbell’s email received September 30, 2016. In author’s possession. A description of his lesson can be found at: https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/teaching-spanish-at-mountain-view-high-school-technology-integration/

[iii] Stephen Hine’s email received September 20, 2016. In author’s possession. My observation of Hine’s physics lesson is at: https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/teaching-advanced-placement-physics-at-los-altos-high-school-technology-integration/








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4 responses to “Have Silicon Valley Teachers Using Technology Daily Altered Their Classroom Practice? (Part 2)

  1. I really like Shemyakina’s comment. Most of the tech used in the classroom changes the dissemination of information to the student but has it improved learning? Could a teacher from the 1960’s walk into to a modern classroom and teach the curriculum without the use of tech and still get the same basic student results? I am thinking maybe. The method we teach with may have changed but the material in most subjects has not. I am not convinced that the method using tech has resulted in a significant improvement in results.

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