Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Topic: Teachers' Uses of Technology in the Classroom

Ten-second survey: Teachers use technology to duplicate what they already do with existing resources. There’s nothing innovative about teachers’ use of technology.

Title: “Learning from Teachers’ Conceptions of Technology Integration: What Do Blogs, Instant Messages and 3D Chat Rooms Have to Do with It?” BC Boling. Research in the Teaching of English (August 2008), 74-100. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “Despite increased focus on technology and recognition that teachers must be prepared to provide technology-supported learning opportunities for students, research has shown that little technology is actually being used in classrooms in meaningful and transformative ways. Instead of using technology to contribute to learner-centered teaching approaches which can improve learning, many educators are using technology in ways that replicate what can be done with overhead projectors, television or blackboards…. …educators still face the fact that the highest likelihood of integration will occur only if they value technology integration and see compatibility between its innovative uses and their existing values and beliefs.”

Comment: I think the last sentence, which I have italicized, is significant. If teachers believe in the directed reading assignment (DRA), for example, technology must be used within that framework (build background experience, pre-teach unfamiliar vocabulary, preview to raise questions to answer when reading and apply what has been learned from reading) or teachers will not use it.

On the other hand, a superintendent I once worked with gave junior high students a problem in science, made the technology available to them on which they had been trained and students set about trying to solve the problem and produce a presentation to show that they had solved it. Chaotic to be sure, but the students succeeded in using the technology themselves, solved the problem, sometimes using different methods, and made excellent and interesting presentations. I did not think it would work, but it did.

I think that “…the highest likelihood of integration” of technology into classroom activities will occur if teacher educators use technology in innovative ways when teaching the teachers in teacher education classes.

The purpose of this blog, English Updates, is to review interesting contemporary (2008-2009) articles from professional English education journals at all levels—elementary, middle school, junior high school, high school and college.

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