Monday, September 19, 2005

Module 2: Technology Integration Part 1

Here we are in 2005 and technology integration in the classroom is still being termed as 'new' and something that will happen in the 'future'. But, for as much as computers are being used at home by both teachers and students, we shouldn't be talking about technology integration as something distant; it should be effectively established and used in the classroom already. Why isn't it? One reason that I can think of that wasn't suggested in the articles is fear of change. Many teachers are most likely comfortable with the current status of their classroom and don't feel/see the need to assist learning with technology. (The fear that what cited is that there is no correct answer for teachers to 'grade' when students use techology to support learning... Teachers have to evaluate the process, not neccessarily the product.) One mentioned and researched barrier to technology integration is the experience teachers have with technology. Even though teachers are going to workshops to keep up-to-date regarding new computer resources and programs, they aren't being taught how to effectively integrate technology into their classroom and their daily lessons. Teachers who know how to record keep and use programs such as WordPro aren't neccessarily going to use that knowledge to use technology in the classroom, and students can't benefit. Accordingly, when teachers are given the skills to employ technology as a tool for authentic learning, it's shown that students move through material faster than expected.

There are many good examples of good technology integration in the classroom. Students can use a wide variety of government and science based websites to further topic research beyond the classroom. (In science, students can use The Weather Network,
www.theweathernetwork.com, to find trends in local weather. In socials, students can use government websites to update themselves on political issues and current bills being passed.) After a novel study, students can research themes discussed in the book, discover more about the author's life and even contact the author via email to ask questions regarding the novel. My favorite technology integration idea that was suggested was the idea of joining Journey North. It allows students at different schools to collect information and then compare results and statistics between schools and classes. Students can use technology to record keep year-to-year, find trends in data between classes, and even go beyond whats required of them in class to answer their own inquiries.

Unfortunately, there are also poor examples of technology integration. Sending students to their block of 'computer time' to type out an essay for social studies is not INTEGRATING technology. This example, seperates learning from technology and places them in seperate skill categories. Students need to be aware that techology can be used to help them find more answers and allow them to explore 'beyond the box'.

Technology integration can positively occur in classrooms and allow teachers to build on student skills that are already present. When technology integration is present, student involvement in the learning process is enhanced, not deterred.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Meadows said...

Lainey,

You have made some very positive statements about the use of technology in education (which is great).

You have also done a good job of coming up with your own view of why technology integration may still be a "new" item in classrooms around the province. Teacher apathy or resitance is probably one of the number one barriers to the integration and use of technology in the classrooms. But, more and more, what has traditionally been identified as resistance from educators is being clarified in new literature that points to other factors (like workload, increasing curriculum demands witin their subjects, lack of Professional Development opportunities...) as the actual causes - and that these factors manifest themselves in classrooms and schools as teacher resistance. Change can be scary, but change without the time and resources to make the change can be downright monumental. We have to keep that in mind when we are working with classroom teachers during practicum.

Good job on this post.

3:30 PM

 

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