Technology for Differentiation Technology – especially computers – can ease the burden of differentiating learning for a variety of learners by having these qualities: Tailored to ability level Self-paced Independent or collaborative Caters to multiple intelligences
Technology for Intervention Custom-tailored assessments and tutorials Drill-and-practice software and games build automaticity as defined by Gagné (1982) and Bloom (1986) Engages student without need for one-on-one tutor or paraprofessional Special technologies exist to accommodate special needs Advanced students can pursue challenging problem/project-based tasks
Technology for Assessment Automatic scoring reduces labor for teacher and/or aides Provides immediate feedback to student Can be more fun or engaging, improving student motivation (click here for example)
Technology for Cognitive Growth Technology can be applied at every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, including “the big six”: task definition, information-seeking, location and access, use of information, synthesis, and evaluation (Johnson and Eisenberg, 1996) By analyzing, evaluating, and creating with technology, students build technological literacy and vital 21st-century skills Bloom’s taxonomy diagram. Source: Wikimedia Commons(public domain)
II: Do students really need more? Most classrooms have only one computer per 4 to 6 students. Whole-group instruction and guided practice will not be possible. One central computer lab shared between all classes in a school results in lack of sufficient time for online lessons and projects. Recommended computer time for K-12 students ranges from 30 minutes per day in elementary school up to 2 hours per day for high school Sample times for various computer activities. As you can see, 30 minutes per week in a labor sharing a classroom computer will not be sufficient!
III: Isn’t it too expensive? Wifi capability means rooms no longer need to be wired Netbook computers fulfill educational needs for under $300/computer Can move to any classroom in the school Plenty of free software available: Google Apps Starfall.com OpenOffice Google SketchUp Google Earth …and more! Xerox costs based on sample school study. Paraprofessional average salary $29,000 accordingto SimplyHired.com
Conclusion Integrating technology into education is no longer optional. Students of today can and must learn how to use higher-order skills and modern tools to solve complex and varied problems. Educational technology – especially computer technology – provides a tool that is flexible, cost-efficient, and reduces stress and labor on human resources while ensuring individualized student growth, from low-level automaticity through high-level synthesis and application skills.
References Bloom, B. (1986). Automaticity. Educational Leadership, 43(5), 70-77. Brown, J.S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-41. Churches, A. (2008, April 1). Bloom's taxonomy blooms digitally. Retrieved February 8, 2010 from: http://www.techlearning.com/article/8670 Gagné, R. (1982). Developments in learning psychology: Implications for instructional design. Educational Technology, 22(6), 11-15. International Society for Technology in Education. (2007). National educational technology standards for students. Eugene, OR: Author. Johnson, D. & Eisenberg, M. (1996). Computer literacy and information literacy: A natural combination. Emergency Librarian, 23(5), 12-16.