Educational Use of Technology Prepared by: Abegail
Instructional leaders and teachers should use a framework for reviewing and evaluating instructional programs. Indicators of effective programs could serve as suggestions for dialogue and research. Actions Instructional Leaders Can Take Instructional leaders may use a number of activities to encourage the use of research-supported instructional practices and inspire teachers to collaboratively discuss the effectiveness of a variety of instructional strategies and approaches. Sample activities and methods are listed below.• Discuss best practices in learning teams.• Review the variety of instructional strategies used by examining lesson- pacing guides.• Use program evaluation criteria to evaluate programs of study.• Encourage teacher self-assessment using an instructional practices inventory.• Use protocols to discuss and improve instruction in grade-alike, cross- disciplinary, and cross-grade groups.
• Conduct walk-throughs to identify the prevalence of specific, research-supported practices.• Lead or arrange professional development activities about instructional strategies and practices.• Identify major changes of the 21st century student and provide capacity-building professional development to help teacher leaders gain expertise in infusing 21st century learning into instruction.• Encourage collaborative teams to try an instructional strategy and bring artifacts back to team meetings to illustrate how students performed and responded to the strategy.• Provide time for teachers to create lessons using different instructional strategies and then use a lesson-study approach to analyze the lessons.• Explore how instruction is differentiated for students, and use capacity-building professional development to build a cadre of differentiated instruction teacher leader experts and demonstration classrooms in the school.
Educational Use of Technology For years, businesses have been on the technology superhighway, andschools have been on the dirt road. Many schools have adequate funding to havetechnology available for teacher personal productivity and even someinstructional use. Unfortunately, technology is an expensive investment, andmany schools don’t have clear vision, plan, or sufficient resources to protecttheir investment and make technology a ubiquitous part of the school landscape.The one-computer classroom is just not enough for teachers to really change theway they teach. Even when schools are able to get enough “wires and boxes”connected, effective professional development may not be available, affordable,or convenient. Consequently, there is truly a digital divide, and it doesn’t takelong to find out who the technology haves and have-nots are in learningcommunities. Even when there is sufficient funding to purchase technology, schoolboard members and administrators often raise a burning question: “Doestechnology really make a difference in achievement?” it is challenging toempirically support a causal relationship between using educational technologyand high achievement. Schools that can afford a lot of technology probably alsohave a number of other innovations going on simultaneously. Consequently, it isdifficult to isolate the effect of technology alone on achievement.
The center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (2009), a division of theInternational Society for Teacher Educators, has summarized research regarding theschool use of technology.The studies suggest that technology improves student performance when• It directly supports the curriculum objectives being assessed.• It provides opportunities for student collaboration.• It adjusts for student ability and prior experience and provides feedback to the student and teacher about student progress.• It is integrated into the typical instructional day.• It provides opportunities for students to design and implement projects that extend curriculum content and are more authentic.• It is used in environments where teachers, the school community, and school and district administrators support its use.• Students use technology presentation and communication tools to present, publish, and share results of problem-based projects.• Students use challenging, game-like programs and simulations designed to develop basic skills and knowledge and critical thinking.• Computer-based learning provides drill and simulation opportunities to students at a developmentally appropriate skill level and provides immediate feedback and correction.
The 21st century instructional leader must be committed to providingstudents and teachers with ubiquitous, seamless access to technology. Teachersmust have the tools and systems that will enable students to learn in relevant,real-world contexts, with real data and experts. Instructional leaders must providesupport for technology tools and systems; plan for the replacement of technology;and facilitate the development of policies, procedures, and standards. Leaders need to create and sustain a technologically rich teaching andlearning environment. The school will need to plan for the following:1. A vision for learning and teaching with technology.2. Access to technology.3. Connectivity.4. Resources to support the system and build capacity.5. Policies, procedures, and standards.6. Assessment of effectiveness.7. Professional development.
Instructional leaders must not only be involved increating and implementing technology plans; they must alsoactively monitor the effective use of technology duringinstruction. Leaders and teachers would benefit from the“Inventory of Technology Literacy Skills and Practices” and“Technology Plan and Needs Assessment inventory” toolsincluded in the Implementation Tools section of this PDQuickKit publication. The components are consistent withstandards for technology literacy (NETS-S) from theInternational Society for Technology Educators (ISTE). Theinventory offers school leaders and teachers a tool formonitoring the instructional environment and assuring thatthe appropriate use of technology is pervasive when studentsare involved in acquiring or accessing, processing, andcommunicating information and ideas. The use of ISTE’sNETS-T standards for teachers and NETS-A administratorstandards can guide schools in assuring that teachers can usetechnology effectively during instruction and assessment andthat administrators know how to support its use.
In addition to helping students learn traditional core-content knowledge andskills, educational technology tools can help students develop the informationliteracy skills, learning and innovation skills, and life and career skills identified asessential for 21st century learners. Schools must integrate technology appropriatelywith content-area instruction to enable students to learn in relevant, real-worldcontexts. It has become imperative to use technology for learning in school; it isdifficult to motivate students without it. Students often go from rich technologicalhome environments to schools where technology may be unavailable, antiquated,or used only for word processing and slide show presentations. The new millenniallearners need to be in a learning environment where they feel challenged, curious,and capable of using content in 21st century, real-world contexts with authentictasks. Effective use of educational technology can help meet those needs. Teachers can use technology during instruction in the following ways: • Input: Acquire or access information. • Process: Construct meaning or process information. • Output: Produce, present, and communicate knowledge and skills. • Reflect: Identify strategies and thinking during learning, establish improvement goals, and make adjustments.