Philosophy of instructional Technology and Education
Philosophy of Instructional Technology and Education Krista M. Hess East Stroudsburg University ∞ A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. – Horace Mann ∞ There are two types of learners that gain the most from a classroom where technology is integrated, in my opinion. Those two types of learners are the twenty first century learner and a student with any type of a disability. The students of today are very different from the students of about fifteen years ago. These new students will go into a working world where computers are in their everyday life. Also known as a twenty first century learner, these students need an education where technology is used to enhance their learning environment and to make sure their skills are up to par. For years many theorists have come up with learning theories to explain how a student learns and how they should be taught. A theory that I hold close to my heart is constructivism. A good metaphor for constructivism is that the student is not a customer. They are a worker who is doing the hardest part of constructing new knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Student motivation is the focus and this concludes in achievement. Constructivism can be a confusing theory to understand because there is no single theory inside it. There is moderate, social, and many more. In general, this theory is very focused on the twenty first century learner. Real world situations are used with formats like anchored instruction, problem-‐based learning, and computer-‐supported collaborative learning. It is very helpful with math and medical education. In this theory the student is an explorer, his or her own teacher, and a cognitive apprentice. The teacher’s main role is to facilitate through and through. The student uses their personal experience that the teacher guides to gain their knowledge. Constructivism is huge for instructional technology. A great example of this is a WebQuest. This could be a PowerPoint that the student or group of students go through on their own and find knowledge from given resources to create a final product. The teacher facilitates by giving the WebQuest, the resources for the students to research with, and expecting a final product. The students teach themselves everything, which is the base of constructivism. In this type of activity and in most constructivist activities, the students work alone and eventually form a group to put the project together. A twenty first century learner and a student with disabilities could gain so much from an experience such as this. They can work at their own pace, use technologies that keep them interested and inspire them to learn. However, media is only a vehicle of instruction. Computers and other technology do not influence student achievement
anymore than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition (Robinson, Molenda and Landra 2007, p. 41). I believe that inclusion is also very important in a classroom. Especially in one where technology integration will be utilized. There are just too many benefits to inclusion that someone can hardly over look it as an option. Kochlar, West, and Yaymans (2000) say that the benefits are not just for the students with disabilities, but also for those without disabilities, for the families, and the community too. One benefit is that the students with disabilities can achieve at levels higher or at least as high as levels achieved in self-‐contained classes. A benefit for nondisabled peers is they can better understand the similarities among students with and without disabilities (Kochlar et al., 2000). For teachers and schools, inclusion provides teachers with the knowledge of individualization of education (Kochlar et al., 2000). Instructional Technology makes individualization so much easier than it ever was before. The best way to include, in the writer’s opinion, is differentiating instruction. This includes accommodations, adaptations, parallel instruction, and overlapping instruction (King-‐Sears 1997). Just changing the delivery of the instruction, through technology especially, or lessening the student’s work load by a small amount are great ways to differentiate and make sure the student with the disability can learn and gain something from their educational experience. As for my future as a person with in-‐depth knowledge of Instructional Technology, I plan to use it every day. I will use all these new skills to create a positive and friendly environment for my colleagues and our students as well as myself. I will do my best to keep an eye on the technology being used in a future school of mine, even if I am not the technology specialist. I hope to use a lot of the projects I have made during my time at East Stroudsburg University in my classrooms. I tried to focus as many of them as possible on some sort of Communication Studies topic. I feel I have grown a lot in my time in this program. I went from thinking there was only really PowerPoint to gaining so much new knowledge on SmartBoard technologies, games, Web 2.0 tools, and more. I now know how to use technology as a helping hand in my teaching career. I also have gained a lot because my undergraduate degree is not in education. I know that making sure I have a positive relationship with my learners is key (Cornelius-‐White 2007). I also know that proper technology integration involves not only great knowledge of technology but also of pedagogy and content (Mishra and Koehler 2006). I’ll know how to keep the twenty first century learners I will most certainly have, engaged. Overall, a classroom where all types of learners are engaged and have some type of individualized attention makes it a better environment. The students will learn better, want to learn, and will not be, as Horace Mann says, cold iron.
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