Integration of Technology Standards in the Classroom

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.

  • Dabbling.
  • 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.
  1. Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
  2. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
  3. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
  4. 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.

Technology Supporting Learning

Photo by Langwitches

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Integration of Technology Standards in the Classroom

  1. I was reading over your posting and the following comment “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.” stood out to me. Teachers for years have been sharing what they learn with their colleagues as part of their professional development. It is one of the ways we learn from each other.

    As an art teacher I learn a lot from my students, but in a very indirect way. I am always watching how they work on the assignments I give them. If I see something new that I like I will often make note of it, incorporate it into a future lesson plan, or better yet try it out the idea or technique in my own art work.

    However, it is not very often that I have had a student sit with me and teach me something directly. This year things have changed a bit. I tried out a animation app with my fifth graders. Instead of becoming the expert and teaching them how it worked, I had them teach each other and me as well.

    I put the students into groups of 3 and had them explore a specific part of the app individually for the first 5 minutes. Then I had share the things they learned with the members of their group for the next few minutes. Lastly, as they started creating simple animations, I told them that I would be coming around to each group and they would have to teach me how to use the app.

    This work approach worked very well and the students really enjoyed teaching the app to me (I could also guage their understanding of it then as well). I have to admit I learned a ton from them and much quicker than if I had tried to teach myself.

    I have used this technique now a few times when I have had students learning new computer applications. The thing that I had to get over was that I did not need to be the sole provider of information. Anyone can be a teacher. Most importantly, it is okay for teachers to learn from their students.

    • Carl,
      Thank you for the comment. I know that our teachers share when they go to PD but too often it is up in front of a large group. I was thinking of more like the “speed geeking” we’ve done at COETAIL where it is in a small group or one-on-one.
      I am amazed with all you are doing in your art classes with technology. I think it is terrific that you were willing to be vulnerable and let the students teach you about the animation program. I wonder if any of them shared it with the classroom teacher?

  2. Some really great points here. I love your point, “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.” We are all at different levels here, but as long as people are willing to learn (and higher-ups can support this learning) we should be heading the right direction.
    Thanks!

    • Thanks Rebekah, sorry I haven’t done more, it has been a rough month. I’ll get back to my reading and writing in the next week or so.

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