1Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY” My Philosophy is “Technology” F200 Philosophy Paper Belinda I. Turner Indiana University Northwest
2Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY” Abstract _______________________________________________________________________ The purpose of my philosophy paper is to reflect on my own personal ideas that I would like to use and integrate into the teaching profession; mainly with a focus on the less than fortunate urban school community. Hopefully in this paper, I will be able to give a detailed and informative synopsis on my belief that technology should be an integral part of this academic learning profession. With new and innovative technology tools as well as interactive educational software being created and designed, mainly for classroom purposes, it is virtually necessary that educators start to welcome these useful tools and implement them into their everyday classroom curriculum.
3Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY” As a young African American female growing up in the poverty stricken city, Gary, I had toattend several urban all black school institutions throughout my school age years. Myplacements in these inadequate educational facilities just help me to realize my career choice; toone day to become an urban elementary school teacher. The reasons that I wanted to become ateacher in this urban environment, was because I saw firsthand how my classmates and studentpeers were lacking the effective academic tools, instruction, and teaching skills that they neededto become academically successful. Every day I had to watch these students fail in theirclassroom subjects in marked numbers, because these old school classrooms were very one noteand boring, these students were skipping school on a regular basis. This uncaring behavioreventually led to a lot of these students being retained; consequently, leading them to eventuallydropping out of school. Having to watch a lot of my school mates just give up on their schoolingmade me more motivated; so I made a vow to myself that I would personally complete all of myeducational goals. My personal educational goals were for me to eventually graduate from highschool, enter into a prestigious college or university; thus becoming an effective urbanelementary school teacher. After I would become certified as a teacher, I would then ventureback to my home town of Gary, Indiana where I would seek out employment as an elementaryschool teacher. After I became employed, I could then effectively use my professional collegeknowledge to educate these less than fortunate urban students. Unfortunately, my educational career goals at that time didn’t go as planned. I ended upmaking a wrong decision choice that landed me in another whole career profession. However,my passion for the education field once again came to the surface. When this inspiration ignitedagain, I pursued and eventually landed employment at an all girls elementary school in Gary;Frankie Woods Girls’ Academy. This new position placed me in unfamiliar territory; the
4Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”“Media Center.” I had no educational background or any experience of running an elementaryschool media center; however that was about to quickly change. My goal and dream of working in an urban school environment was finally happening! Eventhough I was not in a classroom setting I could still educate these students in a different way;through books and technology. This newfound position helped me to rethink my career goals; Inot only wanted to become an effective teacher, I also now wanted to become an effective mediaspecialist as well! Consequently, my education and work history is what eventually led me to my teachingphilosophy. My philosophy of teaching is to be able to use innovative and new technologicalideas in an urban school community; and to integrate these new ideas into my everyday regularclassroom academic curriculum. Furthermore, technology tools would be placed in myclassroom for everyday use to insure the enhancement of my students’ cognitive abilities. Working in the media center as a media specialist, I had to be technology savvy; therefore Ihad to teach myself how to use technology that I had never seen or heard of before. This was avery challenging and frustrating task, especially since there wasn’t anyone that I could ask toassist me with learning how to use these unfamiliar instructional tools. I basically had to readinstructions, as well as google information that would literally instruct me on how to use eachtechnology tool. That is why the use of technology is so philosophically important to me,because if students learn how to use these effective tools at an early age they can maybe avoidembarrassing situations like the one I encountered at my workplace. By integrating theseinteresting and useful tools into the classrooms, the students can gain experiences in how tohandle and use each individual piece of technology equipment. Furthermore, with their frequentuse and interactions with these tools they can become expertly knowledgeable as they advance
5Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”into the next phase of their academic lives. Another reason I love technology is the fact that it is kid friendly. Students love working withnew and innovative technology equipment, especially the computer, because not only can it bean interactive learning tool; it can also be used for social interactions, educational games, andmost importantly, as a source for a wide variety of information. So it is no wonder that thesignificance of computer-assisted education and the presence of technology has become a topicof relevance in American education (Carr & Reigeluth 1994, p. 301). Sadly, this important topichas been discussed since the late 19th century, and it is appalling that the urban schoolcommunity is still left without the proper technology guided facilities and instructors in place toincorporate this new era. Technology truly needs to be an integral part of a well-plannedcurriculum for students as well as for educators. In addition, “since today’s technologies arefundamentally different from the past,” it is almost adamant that these urban school communitiesget with the program, because “technology has the potential to transform education.” And, “howsmoothly this future is realized depends on” administrators, principals, and teachers “ensuringthat technology is used widely in our schools (Carter and Cunningham, 1997 p. 371).” Yes, Iagree with this statement, the lack of technology use is widespread; especially in the urbancommunity. This important and relevant issue needs to be fully addressed once again in thisunderdeveloped school community. Also, the problems with lack of use not only lie withgovernment funding, but it also lies with professional development, and educators’ lack ofadvocacy. Furthermore, there is not enough government funding to assist these urban schoolswith the technology equipment that is needed to implement more effective instructing. Plus, theteachers in these school settings are not knowledgeable enough to use these new and innovativetools; therefore more money and government funding is needed for professional development.
6Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”Also, the lack of educators in this community, advocating for technology is nonexistent. Is itthat these teachers just don’t know about these new and creative teaching tools that are available;or is that they just don’t want to know so that they can continue to teach using their samefamiliar teaching styles? In reality however, test scores are dropping and students are failing sotheir need to be new and innovative technological ideas placed in these classrooms, so that theirstudents can also have a competing chance at a well-rounded educational experience just like theother school districts in the rural and suburban communities. In the end, I am also afraid, ifthese students don’t receive the updated technology support for teachers to implement into theirclassroom strategies; “it will only continue to widen the learning gap between the advantagedand the disadvantaged.” (Carter and Cunningham, 1997, p. 371). To my surprise, the federal government since the early 1990’s attempted to invest heavily ininstructional technology, and with this investment access to technology improved dramatically insome urban schools (Wells & Lewis, 2006, p. 301). So, why the Gary Community Schooldistrict technology access is is still undeniably insufficiently, and the teachers and students stilldo not have reliable working computers in their classrooms. As I stated earlier, research oneducational technology identifies several factors that may influence the use of instructionaltechnology. Some of these factors reside at the organizational (e.g., school and/or district) ormacro level, whereas other are specific to teachers and students and are classified as micro-levelfactors (Miranda, 2007, p. 302). Education al technology literature points to district- levelfactors, such as resources, funding, leadership, vision, and technology planning, as importantdrivers of educational technology use (Anderson & Ronnkvist, 1999; Becker, Ravotz. & Wong1999; Fisher, Dyer, & Yocam, 1996; Lemke, Quinn, Zucker, & Cahill, 1998. P. 303). Withdistrict level authorities withholding funds in lower poverty threshold communities such as Gary,
7Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”Indiana, and principals not enforcing their teachers to use technology equipment, it is no wondertechnology use is limited in these urban schools, and educators are unqualified in teaching theirstudents how to use these innovative tools. Nevertheless, evidence clearly suggests that at theschool-level leadership appears to be an important contributor to multiple uses of technology byteachers and students (Anderson & Dexter, 2005; Dawson & Rakes, 2003; Russell et al., 2003a,p.303). Doubtful, as my philosophical dream may seem with the integration of technology tools dailyinto an urban classroom setting. I was pleasantly surprise that Gary, Indiana is not the only bigcity with insufficient technologies for their underfunded schools. I found out that it is quite theproblem in the big overpopulated cities. It seems that when it comes to implementing innovativeclassroom technology programs, urban school districts face significant challenges stemmingfrom their big city-status. These range from large bureaucracies, to scalability, to how to meetthe needs of a more diverse group of students (Gordan, Dan, 2011). Of course, there are alwayssome stipulations in place when funding is needed to help poor areas that have a diversity ofstudents in their school communities. Building funding should be a first priority, and moreinitiatives should be made through the selected officials in the bureaucracies to insure that allschools in diverse communities are technology funded. These schools are monuments in acommunity, and should be preserved and made up to 21st century standards for future use in thenext generations to come. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, there are urban districts thathave managed to implement bold technology initiatives. Some urban districts used commonthemes like buy-ins, flexibility, and professional development as essential elements to achievingsuccess in implementing technology into the classroom (Gordon, Dan 2011).
8Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY” Professional development is essential for successfully implementing technology into theclassroom. To my surprise, less than half of the teachers in Gary School’s district seemed to betech savvy, and with this modern day society that is not acceptable in the education profession.Teachers should be trained efficiently on the use of technology before they receive theircredentials in the field of education. Teacher training is critical to the success of any district’sefforts to integrate technology tools into classroom education. One urban district required theirteachers to attend a two-hour orientation on the educational software that was installed on theirlaptops showing ways that technology can be implemented into their classrooms. The districtthen provided ongoing professional development on the use of the technology in the classroom.This plan also required working with curriculum departments to include use of the technology intheir own professional developments efforts (Gordon, Dan 2011). “After the first year, teachersreported a significantly increased frequency in the use of technology to deliver instruction”(Dodd, 2011). This is a prime example that technology could be successfully implemented intoan urban classroom, and with continued professional development these educators willundoubtedly become technology savvy. Also, with continued professional development theseeducators will also gain knowledge about the new modern and innovative technologies that aregeared toward educators that could also be implemented into their structured classroom. Surprisingly, there is one area that principals and teachers implement technology into theircurriculum, and that area is through testing and assessment. The low functioning schools in theGary, Indiana district are not only taking ISTEP tests on the computers, they are also mandatedto take Star Reading, Star Math, Acuity, Dibels Next, and Success Net tests on the computer toassess and evaluate students’ progress. Assessment tools are then put into place to use on the
9Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”computer to help students improve on their ISTEP scores. This is the only time that I have seena principal and teaching staff advocate technology use; because they had no choice. These urban schools are mandated to use these technologies because they allow arepresentation of domains, systems, models, data, and their manipulation in ways that previouslywere not possible. Correspondingly, a new generation of assessments is well on its way totransforming what, how, when, where, and why assessment occurs and its linkages to teachingand learning ( Pe egrino, James W. 2010, p. 119). Powered by the ever increasing capabilities oftechnology, these 21st century approaches to assessment expand the potential for tests to bothprobe and promote a broad spectrum of human learning, including the types of knowledge andcompetence advocated in various recent policy reports on education and the economy (e.g.NCEE, 2007, NRC 2006, p.120). In addition, a distinction has been made between assessments of the outcome of learning,typically used for grading and accountability purposes (summative assessment), and assessmentsfor learning, used to diagnose and modify the conditions of learning and instruction (formativeassessment) (Stiggins, 2005, p. 122). Furthermore, research has repeatedly shown the formativeuse of assessment to significantly benefit student achievement (Black & William, 1998; William,2007, p.122). Such effects depend on several classroom practice factors, including alignment ofassessments with state standards, quality of the feedback provided to students, involvement ofstudents in self-reflection and action, and teachers making adjustments to their instruction basedon the assessment results (Black, 2004, p.123). As research indicates, that assessing and monitoring students through the use of technologieshave several benefits. These new and innovative assessment tools not only help students toenhance core standard skills, but they also promote learning by allowing student to practice key
10Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”core standards that they failed on standardized test. If students continue to practice on these corestandards, and are monitored accordingly through the help of their teachers and computers; theseassessment tools will only help students’ cognitive abilities to continue to grow. If technologies are in fact integrated into my everyday academic classroom curriculum, I amgoing to be essentially aware of the ramifications of any applicable laws such as copyright lawsand Fair- use guidelines for educators. Also, since I have worked in the media center for manyyears I am fully aware of how “intellectual property” laws apply to proposed academic coursecontent (Nenych, Laura A., 2011, p.1), and what acceptable technology practices should beintegrated into my classroom curriculum. Nevertheless, to keep up with this rapidly changingtechnology, I have to also be aware and knowledgeable of the way that I, as well as my studentswould be using copyrighted materials. Furthermore, it is clear that there are several issues with respect to copyright reform that areof particular important to the academic community. The first is that the Copyright Act must beamended to allow fair and reasonable educational uses of materials found on the Internet thathave been made publicly available by the copyright owner, who has no expectation of paymentfor the use of such materials. Second, copyright laws must allow for the easy use of technologyto enhance student learning. Third, faculty and students must be allowed to take advantage oftechnology to deliver programs inside the classroom (Nenych, Laura A., 2011, p.6). At any rate, until the Copyright Act is amended to facilitate use of materials in educational settings, it is important to keep in mind that making unauthorized copies of copyrightedmaterials poses legal risks, which include injunctions, damages, costs, and possible criminalsanctions (Nenych, Laura A., 2011). So as an educator, I am going to make sure that I state aclear policy against copyright infringement in my classroom setting. I am also going to be aware
11Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”of any copyrighted materials that I use through web pages or online teaching tools, because Iwould not want myself or my educational institution be faulted for a copyright infringement. In the end, even though I do plan on making technology an integral part of my classroomsetting; technology is not my only philosophy because in reality I have many. I also highlybelieve that as a teacher I will represent myself in my classroom on the way I morally live mylife. My classroom will show a reflection of my personality, as well as the personalities of all ofmy students. I love arts, crafts, posters, drawings so many of those designs will be culturedcentered to be displayed throughout my multicultural classroom. Furthermore, I believe that aclassroom should be student centered with technology infused throughout the room. Everyclassroom should have computers, Smart Board, Elmo, LCD Projector, television and DVDplayer, Compact Disc players to encourage interactions between the classroom teacher andstudents. I would have all these teaching tools integrated throughout my classroom for daily use. I also believe that I would be an inspiration to my students. I will also be a caring andrespectful teacher to my students so that they can know that I am dependable. Also, I would loveto inspire a child to work hard to reach their fullest potentials. What students aspire to be isalready inspirational, so if I can inspire them to work harder toward their attainable goals then Ihave done something amazing. As a teacher, I also value honesty in my students and the willingness to want to learn and beeducated. I say this because of my experience working with so many lying and non motivatedstudents in the urban Gary school district. I would just like to have my students know they cantrust and believe in me and I would give them that same respect. I also want them to be able toshow me a real interest in education and learning. I know that young people do not have a clueabout all the resourceful information that they are missing out on when they display those
12Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY”negative attitudes toward education. Students feel like whatever they don’t understand duringinstruction time they can simply get it off of the internet. My students wouldn’t have that issuebecause computer use would be an integral part of my academic time, so hopefully this will keepthem interested in their academic studies. However, I know I love technology but I do also valuesome of the traditional teaching methods like reading a novel or a book. Sometimes students justneed to find a good book to read to enhance their reading; because books are also useful learningtools. Last, I would love to teach a diverse number of students particularly students with disabilitiesor exceptionalities. In my field experience, I got to interact with several special educationclasses in the media center. I was amazed how well mannered and behaved they were. Thosestudents loved learning new information; thus they loved getting praises for learning that newinformation even more. Another quality I enjoyed about those students was their sincerity andtheir love of life. When they came into the library, I could always feel the excitement and seetheir wonderful smiles. Consequently, I am now inspired to teach special education, becausethere is something special about all of the students with disabilities; they truly are exceptional!
13Running head: MY PHILOSOPHY IS “TECHNOLOGY” ReferencesHess, Frederick M. (1999). Computer –Assisted Learning in Urban Classrooms The Impactof Politics, Race, and Class. Urban Education, 34(3), 370.Gordon, Dan. (2011). Big- City Rules. The Journal, 38(8), 26-31.Miranda, Helena; Russell, Michael. (2011). Predictors of Teacher-Directed Student Use ofTechnology in Elementary Classrooms: A Mutilevel SEM Aproach Using Data from theUSEIT Study. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43(4), 301-323.Nenych, Laura A. (2011). Managing The Legal Risks Of High-Tech Classrooms.Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 4(3), 1-7.Pellegrino, James W.; Quellmalz, Edys S. (2010). Perspectives on the Integrationof Technology and Assessment. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43(2), 119-134.