I’ve been using computers in the classroom since 1978. Each year a new technology comes along that claims it will save education. Some evangelists of this technology, usually technology-based people, tout its wonders. Teachers are trained on this newest and best technology. Whole curriculums are developed around the technology. Some schools, often pilot schools who have had a huge influx of the technology with special help from the producing company, brag about the many benefits of this technology. Yet, we do not hear about the long lasting effects on learning.
Some people consider the pen an improvement over the pencil. Has the pen caused students to write better? How teachers have students use the pen improves students’ writing. The same is true for any new technology. “Technology integration” workshops should focus on improving teaching, not on this newest technology. When these workshops show teachers how to apply different learning strategies such as those from Silver, Strong and Perini in The Strategic Teacher Selecting the Right Research-Based Strategy for Every Lesson (from ASCD) using a technology, then successful student learning will result. Likewise, a workshop on formative assessment that incorporates technology can lead to greater student achievement.
Another trend with the new technology is that often the producing company has already created the “learning” curriculum. Teachers have less of a role in designing and modifying the curriculum. Teachers become reduced to the observers of the curriculum. Classroom teachers know their own students and they know the best way to modify the curriculum so that their students can learn. Teachers should have available a wide variety of technology-rich resources to help them as they map out the curriculum for their students. These teachers should not be trapped by the technology.
What do the “technology integration” workshops in your district focus on?
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.
Also, my book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.