About two years ago the Elementary division at Christian Academy in Japan(CAJ) began plans to integrate technology into the classroom. One of the first activities we did as an elementary staff was think about what 21st century learning is and is not. Our discussion were focused around an article that our principal gave us to read and two questions.
- 21st Century Life: How has the world changed and what are the implications for education?
- 21st Century Students: How are students today the same as their predecessors and how are they different? How do we respond to the differences?
Then we collaboratively worked on a technology integration vision statement. One of the key points that we decided on was “authenticity.” Technology is best taught not in isolation in the computer lab, but in context in the classroom with real assignments. “The natural use of authentic technology within the classroom setting, just like the way we use paper and pencil without any second thoughts, is always what I’m striving for.” (Kim Cofino) We also keyed in on “Curriculum drives the technology.” Using some of our student objectives(ESLERS) we created our vision statement:
- RL 1 Understand subject content and skills
- RL 3 Integrate content and skills from different subjects
- RL 5 Use appropriate learning strategies
- DT 4 Make creative products and presentations
- EC 1 Communicate through writing, speaking, reading, listening, graphs and charts, and the arts
- EC 2 Integrate different forms of communication
- Use current and appropriate technology across the curriculum to generate and enhance authentic opportunities for students to understand and integrate subject content and skills, make creative products and presentations, and to integrate different forms of communication.
- Outline expectations of classroom teacher, technology integration facilitator, administration
- Start with one unit: How can technology enhance this unit? What assessments will be best done using technology?
- Use the collaboration framework