The purpose of this presentation is to explain why education technology is a necessity, a requirement for 21st Century learning.The arguments will be broken down into: what technology is, what the effects are upon test scores/student learning, how technology has potential to level the “playing field” between rural and urban school, and the wealthy an poor. In order for these advances to happen, however, there needs to be effective training of teachers.
Education technology take a number of forms, but the two most basic are hardware and software.Hardware refers to things that can be held and manipulated to assist in the learning process: things like computers, ipads, mp3 players, student response systems (clickers), other electronic manipulatives, and many things that have not been invented yet.Hardware is generally very pricy and sets the precedence for the software that will be purchased and how it will be used. Unfortunately, hardware quickly becomes obsolete and needs to be frequently replaced, requiring on-going training in the best uses for it.Software is the programs that students and teachers use to organize information, present information and learn. There are many programs that exist: tutorials- drill and practice games, instructional programs and other overtly educational programs. Applications- things such as word proccessors, music and movie production software, and a plethora of other tools that allow the user to create something. Exploratory- software that allows students to experience a simulation, role play to gain insight, do research and learn through making their own decisions. And finally, communication through email, blogs, instant messaging, forums and other ways to exchange ideas. Many of these applications are free, but others may cost a great deal of money. It is essential to have staff that are well versed in the newest software, so that wise decisions can be made in allocating money. A group called the State Educational Technology Directors Association does an excellent job previewing the newest educational hardware and software each year in their publications, providing a good clearinghouse for information.
So after gaining an insight into what educational technology is and recognizing the investment that it takes, one should immediately ask one’s self how this spending can be justified.There has been a great deal of research that has gone into justifying these expenses. The first argument that is made is that test scores go up a great deal. Numerous studies have shown better performance on standardized tests, including the prestigious SAT exam! Much of this is due to the ability of students to review and practice material that they struggle with at their own pace. Previously, students were dependent on a teacher to help them learn, now they can take responsibility for their own knowledge and receive more individualized attention.
The advantages continue: students are more engaged and experience learning in many parts of their brain simultaneously, allowing better retention. Instead of reading notes off a chalkboard, students are able to see the topic via video, text, and a manipulatable model of the object. This immediately creates memories that they can recall at a later point in time. The true understanding that comes from experiencing the topic makes learning more enjoyable and meaningful. Since students find more meaning in what they learn, there are then able to apply this knowledge in more advanced ways, developing higher order thinking skills in the process. Through these experiences, students are able to progress at a much faster rate, while scoring better than their peers.
The latest educational psychology research says that classrooms should be an interactive place where students are able to learn collaboratively in a manner that allows them to assist one another and learn from each others experiences. Teachers are more likely to engage in this model when they are using technology.
In addition to providing opportunities for students to learn more effectively, technology also allows the underprivileged to obtain an excellent education. Research was done about to help impoverished school districts in the Appalachian Mountains find qualified teachers to work with their students. These students were able to take courses from highly qualified teachers via the internet. Students are also exposed to technology that they otherwise might not experience at home, and are able to gain skills that will prepare them for either the workplace or college. The government is dedicated to educating all its youth in order to provide for a stable future, therefore, it has a responsibility to ensure that all its citizens have access to the internet and training in technology usage. Both Harvey-Woodall and O’Kane make good arguments for the training of the underprivileged in technologies that the middle class take for granted. The corporate world has always counted on schools to produce well trained and prepared students for the workplace. As times change, therefore should schools and their spending.
All the money for technology in the world does not mean a thing if teachers and administrators are not trained in the best usage of it. Technology without training is like a car without wheels. It just does not work. If a person is going to buy a car, they should make sure they have the wheels so that it works, otherwise, it is just a very expensive box. The same can be said for computers and other technologies.
The single most important thing that school districts can spend money on is preparing teachers to implement the technology. Teachers need to be trained prior to receiving the hardware/software and then receive help once they receive the technology. This training needs to be ongoing, with opportunities to collaborate and assist colleagues and help train others. In addition, on going “first aid” needs to be available as problems arise.
There are numerous wonderful resources on time that can be incorporated into lessons, to expose students to events that are going on in the world outside of the school walls. Teachers need to avoid the temptation to replace the chalkboard with a computer and an eno board. They need to find ways to utilize their new technologies to better engage and challenge their students- to make learning come alive. This means relearning how to teach- allow students to collaborate and construct their own knowledge through guided exploration. There are numerous resources on the internet and on software that expose students to new ideas and help them connect their book knowledge to the outside world. An example of such a lesson is shown here with a lesson on how candidates are funded and how this influences their voting habits in the House or Senate.
Educational Technology is an exciting advance in the way students are educated. It promises many great things, but money needs to be properly allocated with a considerable amount dedicated to teacher training and time for colleagues to collaborate. These teachers need to truly want to use the technology; if they do not want it, then they should not be forced to use it.
Recommendations for Technology Spending Mr. Christopher Johnson
Introduction to Instructional Technology Technology and Improved Student test scores Technology as Preparation for the Future/Great Equalizer Technology and Teacher Efficacy Summary of Arguments Works Cited Menu
Includes hardware (computers, clickers, eno boards) and software (programs/applications) Goal is to allow teachers to create a more interactive teaching style in which students are able to take ownership of learning responsibilities. Prepares students for tools that are used in the business world, outside the walls of the classroom. State Educational Technology Directors Association. 2011. Education Technology
Numerous studies have shown that when technology is used in the classroom: Test scores goes up Students score on average almost 94 points better on the SAT test than non-technology using peers! (Cradler, et al) Standardized test scores are up to 20% higher than non-technology exposed peers. (Cradler, et al) Students are more engaged, and are able to help in the constructing of their own knowledge, therefore learning better. Technology and Test Scores
Students are able to better store the information in their long-term memory storage Students are better able to connect what they learn in school with the outside world. Students who participate in technology intensive classrooms are more likely to develop higher level thinking skills. (Schacter, et al) Students who used English and Math software during the school year advanced at a rate of almost a school quarter faster than their non-technology using peers. (Schacter, et al) Additional advantages of Technology
Teachers are more likely to use collaborative learning methods- which lead to better comprehension of material Learning is more interactive and experiential; making students responsible for what they learn. Multiple senses and areas of the brain are stimulated through the mixture of auditory, print and visual information. Why does technology improve scores and learning?
NCLB requires that all teachers be highly qualified. Technology allows for students to learn via online learning from HQ teachers. Technology usage in school allows students to learn skills that will make them successful in college and the workplace. Erases disadvantages related socio-economic status and lack of technology at home. Technology as the Great Equilizer
The number one deciding factor in student learning regardless of technology usage or not is teacher efficacy Is the teacher able to communicate the material effectively and make students understand the significance of it. A teacher who uses technology, but does not use it effectively is hampering the learning of their students. Students would be better off learning with “traditional” methods from an experienced and skilled teacher Teacher Efficacy and Technology
How are teachers to become “effective”? Teachers need to be properly trained in progressive teaching methods using the technology. Otherwise they still teach ineffectively; they have just added technology to the picture Training is best done in a format that the teacher experiences continued support over an extended period. Introduce the technology and applications Give teacher time to explore in a supportive environment. Avoid training in a one-time, short, intensive format.
Teachers should move beyond focusing on how to implement technology into current lessons. Rather the focus should be to created interactive, engaging lessons that meet standards using technology. This takes time and practice, but with good mentoring and a willingness to learn, teachers can do it! (Harvey-Woodall, 2009) Scott Scheuerell lesson plan Effective Teaching cont.
21st Century learning is engaging, stimulating and allows students to learn while gaining exposure to technology; a necessity for success. It prepares students for the future, and allows them to see a world beyond the walls of their classroom. It requires dedicated teachers who are committed to gaining experience in teaching using technology. Summary
Brabec, Kathy, Kimberly Fisher, and Howard Pitler. “Building Better Instruction: How Technology Supports Nine Research-Proven Instructional Strategies.” Learning & Leading with Technology 31(5), 6-11. 2004. Print. Cradler, John, Mary McNabb, Molly Freeman and Richard Burchett. “How Does Technology Influence Student Learning?” Learning & Leading with Technology. May 2002. http://caret.iste.org/caretadmin/news_documents/StudentLearning.pdf Accessed 9 September 2011. Online. Harvey‐Woodall, Antionette. Integrating Technology into the Classroom: How Does It Impact Student Achievement?ERIC online 16 July 2009. http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED505984.pdf Accessed 9 September 2011. Online. O'Kane, Eileen Vollert. “College Readiness of Urban High School Students in the United States: The Role of Technology in Preparing All Students for College.” ERIC Online. December 2010. http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED512730.pdf. Accessed 9 September 2011. Online. Schacter, John. “The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement.” Milken Exchange on Education Technology. 1999. http://www.mff.org/pubs/ME161.pdf. Accessed 9 September 2011. Online. Schuerell, Scott. “Open Secrets: Using the Internet to Learn About the Influence of Money in Politics.” BNET: The Interactive CBS Interactive Business Network. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6541/is_3_72/ai_n29429854/?tag=mantle_skin;content Accessed 9 September 2011. Online. 21st Century Learning Environment Models. State Educational Technology Directors Association. 2011. http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED522778.pdf. Accessed 9 September 2011. Online. Watson, George. “Technology Professional Development: Long-term effects on Teacher Self-efficacy.”Journal of Technology and TeacherEducation. 14.1 (Spring 2006): p151. Works Cited