Last week the question was “Whose job is it to teach technology?” My answer can be found here. This week the readings were about how can we ensure that the technology standards are being met in classrooms. Here are some of my thoughts and take aways from the readings.
First of all, how do we help teachers to reach the standards? ISTE has standards for teachers. Do all teachers need to meet the standards? I don’t know if it is necessary for all teachers to meet all the standards, but teachers should be aware of the standards and continue to learn and grow, not only in their content area but with skills that will help their students to learn.
Tom Johnson writes about the need to showcase technology and have the technology facilitator looking for solutions and working with the classroom teachers giving ideas of what is available and how it might help to reach the standards the teacher is working towards. Two important questions that should be asked by the specialist are: Why? and To what end? is the technology being used. He also mentions the need for continued professional development regarding technology for all teachers. Personally I think having teachers share with other teachers or even better having students share with other teachers what they have learned or used would be very powerful.
Marc Prensky in Shaping Tech for the Classroom brings out another important point: involve the students. He mentions that most conferences he goes to there are no students in sight. I have to admit I have not been to a technology conference in several years but I don’t remember students being involved. I do know that there are some conferences that are beginning to include students. Kim Cofino and others at YIS sponsored the Beyond Laptops conference and students were involved. The asbunpluggled2012 in February was another conference where students, teachers and leaders came together. So although many places still are slow in including the students, small steps are being taken by some forward thinking educators and technology specialists.
Jeff Utecht in Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom refers to four stages that Marc Prensky writes about in the Edutopia article.
- Doing old things in old ways.
- Doing old things in new ways.
- Doing new things in new ways.
Jeff takes them one step farther and develops questions that supervisors and administrators can use to help in evaluating the use of technology in the classroom.
- Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
- Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
- Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
- Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students?
These are questions I need to be asking myself as I plan the use of technology in my classroom. I know that I have had some activities that fit into each category but hopefully I continue to challenge myself and my students to find new and different learning experiences that will increase student learning. I don’t think that all technology use needs to be new and different, but it shouldn’t all be Old things in Old ways or Old things in New ways. There is a time and place for each.
There are 2 other frameworks that can also be used when evaluating the use of technology. The SAMR model
seems to begin with Enhancement
that has 2 components: “Substitution, Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change
” and “Augmentation, Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement.
” Then there is a move up the ladder to Transformation
with “Modification, Tech allows for significant task redesign
” and “Redefinition, Tech allows for the creation of new tasks previously inconceivable.
” The components make sense but it seems that the goal is to reach Redefinition
and yet each component seems important and valuable. I found Maggie Hos-McGrane’s
posting a bit disturbing. She seemed to think that the Enhancement
level should be left to the classroom teacher and and the Transformation
level was for the technology experts. I would like to see the experts help the classroom teachers become more comfortable with a more cooperative spirit among the technology experts and classroom teachers. Actually I would like to see a circular or horizontal expression of the model where students and teachers are moving back and forth and not trying to move up to the top.
The other framework that is worth investigating is TPACK
– Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. This model is designed as a venn diagram where Technological Knowledge
, Content Knowledge
and Pedagogical Knowledge
all overlap. Here the technology experts and classroom teachers work together to find what is the best way to help the students meet the standards and show their learning. The experts in technology, content and pedagogy are all working together to develop the best teaching and learning strategies.
Any use of technology in the classroom should be to increase student learning. Is there one size fits all and this is the best way. I don’t think so. I think that just as educators we differentiate to help all students achieve, the expectations for teachers need to be differentiated. That doesn’t mean some teachers don’t have to do technology or can stay in their own comfort zone or cave, the technology experts, teacher leaders, and administrators in a school need to share new ideas and be willing to step in and help the classroom teachers continue to develop new tools in their tool box. It may even mean that students need to step up and share with their teachers. Finding ways to showcase student learning through technology should be part of the on-going professional development for classroom teachers.
I saw the following photo the other week. Technology is the base that supports student and teacher learning.
Photo by Langwitches