Tag Archives: learning

Teachers and Technology Integration

Interesting research was conducted by Coleen Moore-Hayes at Cape Breton University (see link under articles).   She found that teachers with a positive self-efficacy about technology were more likely to integrate technology into the curriculum.  Teachers need more than access to technology. They need training on the technology itself.  That makes absolute sense to me.  I do consider myself rather tech savy, and I like to explore new websites that I can use with my students.  But before I even introduce the site to my students, I at least play around with the site to get a feel for it.  I do this way before I ever consider ways I could use it in the curriculum.  Most teachers in the survey wanted to learn more.   So if we agree that more technology is needed in our schools and that students should be using technology throughout their coursework, then the question is how do we get our teachers trained so their self-efficacy raises?  Simply putting technology in the classroom or in the hands of the teachers and students is not enough.  Even if the teacher’s job will change from leader to facilitator, they will still need training.  It only makes sense.

My school district went to 1:1 technology this year.  The teachers received training on implementing the publishers software.  Most teachers now feel comfortable having students read text online and watching the publishers short videos of weekly skills.  Is this truly integration?  I think not.  Do many teachers want to do more?  Absolutely.  But who is going to train them?  What kind of time is allowed for the training?  Those are just some of the questions that need to be answered as we move forward in this new age of learning.

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Chapter 6: The Three Eras of Education

Three main areas of US education are the apprenticeship era, the universal-schooling era, and now the life-long learning era. We can compare these three eras looking at these components”

  • Responsibility
  • Expectations
  • Content
  • Pedagogy
  • Assessment
  • Location
  • Culture
  • Relationships

Each of these components of education have changed as our society changed.  The question is not whether the components were bad or good for any era.   We are now entering the life-long learning era because society is changing and the world is becoming more connected through the Internet.  Schools will change because we cannot stop change. Society will demand it.  I think we are living in the exact moment of change, and I believe we have a choice to make. Do we want to sit by and watch?  or Do we want to have a voice and help lead?

 

 

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Two Articles For Alabama Technology Leaders

If you are from Alabama and at all interested in technology integration into our schools, there are two articles you must read.  Technology in Alabama Public Schools Report (2009) and IMPACT: Alabama Technology Plan 2007-2012.  Both of these articles can be accessed by the links on the right.

Technology in Alabama Public Schools Report summarizes data collected from surveys about the state of technology education in Alabama schools.  The authors concluded three major findings.

  • Both teachers and administrators report that they are not receiving the necessary digital literacy skills to prepare students for 21st Century work.
  • Parents want teachers to use technology tools to improve home-school connection, student achievement, and organizational skills.
  • Schools are not keeping pace with current technology that will be required for success in the 21st Century.

IMPACT: Alabama Technology Plan 2007-2012 takes that report and establishes 4 goals for the state.  Those goals are basically:

  • Technology integration and mastery of state standards
  • Expanding opportunities through technology
  • Technology professional development
  • Technology infrastructure

The plan not only states the goals but includes objectives, indicators, how data will be collected to measure the implementation of goals.  More importantly, strategies are included to help meet the goals.  The plan is meant to make recommendations and provided guidelines to help the Alabama education system meet the needs of 21st Century learners.  Technology plans written following these guidelines help support E-rated applications.

The good news is that Alabama is not in the dark.  I know I get discouraged and wonder why we don’t see or hear about more teachers and schools integrating technology like we know they should. But at least there is a plan.  We need to be familiar with the plan and use it to our advantage when looking for ways to gain support from administrators and teachers.  Yes Alabama we have a plan.

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Teachers and ICT Research Article

A study was held in Nigeria to review teachers’ self-efficacy and teacher competence in integrating technology into the classroom.  I have posted a link to the article on this blog, and recommend the read to anyone who finds an interest in teacher integration of technology in the classroom.   A couple of key points really caught my attention.

First, the study found the best way to train teachers in technology integration was in small groups over a period of time.  One day inservice training or summer workshops are not as effective as small group training over time.  Recently, I sent a survey to the staff members at my school on their attitudes about technology integration.  85% of those who answered the survey indicated they preferred to be trained in inservice or workshops.  Zero participants replied they would want to be mentored or have continuous training.  But sometimes the way we want to do something may not be the best way.

Secondly, the study found that once teachers gained new technological skills, they were able to find ways to integrate it into the curriculum and demonstrate its use to others.  Positive self-efficacy of technology skills are essential to teachers using the technology with students!

With these two facts in mind, and due to the requirements of a mentoring course,  I have decided to create a mentoring plan for my school.  I decided in order to do that, I needed to learn some new technology skills myself.  Last night, I attempted to create a podcast.  I had never made a podcast before. Now I have heard of a podcast before but wasn’t really sure I could tell you a definition for it. Sooooooooo…

I Googled podcast and found a definition.  Now I consider myself pretty techy, and I am the technology leader at my school.  I know.  You would think I knew this stuff already.  My point is that it took me two hours from the time I Googled the definition until I was ready to make a podcast.  Two hours.  I finally had my first podcast created and saved and went to bed.

I woke up this morning, luckily very early, and spent another hour figuring out how to get that podcast onto this blog. Finally satisfied, I drove myself to work, and during that 45 minute drive, my mind was thinking of ways I could use the podcast with my students.   This ties in this article perfectly, although not intentionally.  I had to spend a large amount of time self-teaching myself one technology skill that I am sure is not the best way.  And only after I had “mastered” that skill could I even begin thinking about how to use this with my students.

As technology and teacher leaders, we need to take the reigns and share with other teachers what we know.  They need to share with us what they know.  We need to sit down and brainstorm ways we can use these new tools with our students.  The new Common Core Standards are all about educating our students in meaningful ways to meet the needs of a 21st Century workforce.   I am living proof all this takes time, is not so easy, and we need help.   But we need to do it for our students.

Aduwa-Ogiegbaen, S.E. (2009). Nigerian inservice teachers’ self-assessment in core technology competences and their professional development needs in ICT. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education 26(1). Retreived from http://www.iste.org

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Chapter 1: How Education is Changing

Technology is bringing learning out of the classroom and into every day life. People of all ages are using the Internet and other forms of technology to chose what and how they want to learn.  Technology has become increasingly important in all types of careers.  And students are becoming less motivated to learn by traditional methods.

Teachers are being are now becoming responsible to keep up with the demands of technology. Many who enthusiastic about emerging technologies are left on their own to learn methods to incorporate new methods into the curriculum.

I find that to be true at my school and district. I am seeing many expert teachers retiring early because of the new demands being placed on classroom teachers.  Changes brought on by Alabama adopting the new Common Core Curriculum along with demands for technology integration has left many of us frustrated and overwhelmed. I agree with the author that teachers today are living in the midst of change.  As educators, I believe we have to try to embrace the change and learn new methods of teaching. How to best accomplish this and bring other teachers with us is the question.

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