How do you think differently about school technology leadership issues than you did before?
Before starting this course, I did not view myself as having a significant role to play in technology leadership at my school. Essentially, I viewed myself as an islend of technology in a desert devoid of such novelties. I have come to realize, though, that I have an obligation to my students to help shift the culture of my school to better embrace technology from the top down. But, do not imagine that this revelation is entirely self sacrificing. I have also come to believe that this may be useful for my own purposes (cackle!). Essentially, a school wide plan would minimize some of the duplication I find myself doing because there is no integration between the school and my classroom.
How has the course increased your awareness and understanding of the various school technology leadership issues we covered in class?
I have certainly come a long way in my awareness of assistive technologies. I feel ignorant for not having been more sensitive to this area of technological capacity.
I have also grown in my understanding of the digital divide and thus the emphasis for my use of technology in the classroom has shifted. In the past, I have regarded the use of technology as something to assist me in my instruction. I often believed that it got in the way of the teaching of -my content- because the ability level of my students varied so greatly. Now, I regard it as part of my responsibility as an educator to help bridge that chasm. This shift dramatically alters my approach to technology.
How does what you have learned in class relate to material from other courses, to your daily practice as an educator, to your current or future ations as an administrator, etc.?
The class has helped me to recognize my potential as a technology leader not just a doer. I will be starting a new position this fall and have a great deal to learn about my new school culture, but I now imagine a future for myself as technology coordinator at my school.
In regards to other courses, I found the Duffy and Cunningham articles to substantially emphasize my prior learning in the area of constructivist education. Even before starting an education program, my style of teaching was developed from the observation of educational leaders. Thus, my learning at the University of Minnesota has provided me with the pedagogical language to describe the teaching practices I used naturally. I have also found new ways to push my own teaching style further into this framework. For instance, by further shifting my role in the classroom from the front stage. This course in particular has helped me to recognize how computer tools can help me deliver the instruction I seek.
How does what you have learned in the course influence or interact with your own personal leadership philosophy and/ or vision for school technology?
I am now high convinced and motivated to seek grants to test my idea for "free and reduced technology." This research would explore:
1. the attitutes and willingness of families at different resource levels regarding their participation in the program;
2. the change in use of technology by the students at different resource levels before and after implementation of the program;
and, 3. the change in use of technology by the families of the students at different resource levels before and after implementation of the program.
I hypothesize that:
1. Families with high resources will be supportive of the program, but may express some resistance based on prior technologies they have at home.
2. Families with low resources will be motivated to interact with the school because of the program.
3. Student use of technology in and out of school will improve across the board, but will be most dramatic for students who have low resources.
4. And, family use of technology will increase for those who have low resources.
Ultimately, I believe that this program would help resolve some of the digital divide. The students would benefit, but more importantly, the families of students who do not traditionally have access to technology will benefit.
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I am sure that this is a weak area for my district. We are very small -- perhaps 150 total students in three schools.
I can certainly be a resource to our special education teacher in recommending some potential solutions.
Today's topic really opened my mind to how technology can assist students with disabilities. I consider this a tremendous shift in my thinking.
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d-link - longer description (optional for screen readers)
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I mentioned the idea for "free and reduced technology" to a friend (actually, over livejournal which I have been using for over two years.)
He mentioned MITs $100 Laptop.
Schools have school supply lists. Lets bight the bullet. Students need to have a laptop as an element of their schools supplies. The main reason this is not happening is because of the economic hardship this would place on some students. Based on the proliferation of iPODs, PSPs, and nice cars (wow, I can't afford all those toys!) we know that a large segment of our school population could afford the $150-200/ per year leasing fee for a laptop. The school districts could subsidize this cost, perhaps, leasing the computers for some reduced amount.
How about this? A free and reduced technology program. If you cannot afford the leasing fee based on your income level, you get assistance. Ideally, this would be based on a sliding scale.
Advertising idea. You wouldn't send your child to school without lunch, don't send them without a laptop.
What does my institution need to do to tackle the digital divide?
I am a teacher in a charter school (boo, hiss). We have a high ratio of computers to students and a population with relatively high computer access.
However, teachers and staff do not fully utilize the potential of their technology. There has been a "one time cost" attitude towards technology which is a fallacy. Thus, the cultural perception of technology cost must change. This may be accomplished through meetings and comparisons to other schools. Second, professional development is necessary to show and teach our faculty how to integrate technology into the learning process.
What role does Learning for the 21st Century have?
Six elements: core subjects, learning skills, tools, context, assessments.
I believe that the role of this consortium is to build interest and generate priorities with the aim of forging collaborations of money and assistance. These could be useful in delivering the changes necessary to close the digital divide. However, because there is a lack of emphasis on the difference between present reality and future possibility the report feels like empty propoganda.
In schools, access is even. But use varies such that poorer schools do more "drill" type activity.
In homes, SES creates a divide.
On the net, information is culturally centered on white americans.
Gender, girls shy away from computers.
Games, male driven.
Rural access to HSI has improved.
Has some lesson? Check out later.
Becker article. How are computers being used in science?
NASA site. Download our house.
Criteria for Technology Integration (my brainstorm):
-efficient use of tool (student does what student does best, computer does what it does best);
-promotes cognitive development;
-familiarizes students with mindtools.
Clearly, what the group came up with is a mess! But, it represents brainstorming. I am impressed by how technology can make a lesson such as this more simple.
-Learn content from tech (tutor) or learn content using tech (mindtools: semantic org, dynamic modelling, info interpret, knowldege construct, collaboration).
-Emphasize knowledge construction.
Hughes (tech role in traditional content level):
-Area A: Replacement (same), amplification (better), and transformation (beyond tech possibility).
-Area B: Student learning, instruction, and curriculum.
Ex. Lesson using mind-mapping to summarize class learning SL-A, I-A, C-R/A.
-What about a diminitive level? The technology could take something away from SL, I, or C.
Technology tools for...
productivity, communication, research, problem-solving, decision-making.
I enjoyed the opportunity to explore different software and lessons.
The ideal of "technology integration" requires a great deal of preliminary skills on the part of students and faculty. For instance, the fathom tool requires being comfortable with the maninpulation of data and objects using a computer. But, that can't just happen nor can it be assumed that every student can do that.
At present, there is a great disparity of computer skill from one student to another. Perhaps students should be evaluated for their basic computer proficiency? Students who lack proficient skills could take courses that would help them make-up their deficiency. Then teachers would have a more even field from which to start.
It occurs to me that we are near a point where computer deficiency ough to be considered as difficult of a challenge as finding a student who cannot use a pen. You can no more survive in our world now not knowing the basics of how to use a computer.
I feel as though my course readings have already influenced this thought far too much.
Technology integration is the appropriate use of technology to enhance student learning. Learning may be in the content area or, more generally, in the capacity to utilize technological tools.
Overal, I found that the information contained in this site was covered in the other readings. (Perhaps I ought to have perused this earlier.)
I did like some of the activities in my content area. "How big are we?" and "gravitity" seemed useable.
The primary goal of NCLB where technology is concerned is to improve student academic achievement. Additional goals include achieving computer literacy by the 8th grade and the development of successful technology integration that may be used as examples of best practice.
It is good to know about the program for state technology initiatives.
Why don't teachers innovate when they are given computers?
Factors Influencing Success (see pg. 7):
1. The Innovator: knowledge of the technology and its enabling conditions, pedagogy-technology compatability, and knowledge of the organizational and social culture of the school.
2. The Innovation: distance from school culture, distance from existing practice, distance from available technological resources, dependence on others, and dependence on technological resources.
3. Context: human infrastructure, technological infrastructure, and social support.
I believe I ought to use these parameters when I write my own grants for technology. It would provide an excellent framework.
Remember, students need to sign acceptable use policies for internet activity.
I love Henry's distinction between "leadership and administration." I need a great deal of independence in my work.
This piece is laden with highly corporate-political spin. But, it's the appropriate format for someone outside of education to read as they consider the future of education in the US.
I like the emphasis on the metacognitive. Reflectiveness regarding the world at large is a critical aspect of modern life. Journaling/ blogging have become very popular as a new outlet for individuals to process the everyday world. This is clearly something I can integrate into my classroom. In my vision, students would begin each unit of instruction by reflecting on their preconceptions/ prior knowledge regarding the topic. What have they heard? Read about? Seen in movies? In the news? Then they will keep track of their progress as they move through the unit. In the end, they will summerize their intitial thoughts and remark on how they have changed or shifted.
It all sounds idealic: taking the students into the real world; bringing the world into the classroom; and creating authentic learning environments. The reality is that schools work with meager budgets for travel and classroom tools.
The lack of "real life" preparation that students receive in schools is truly stunning. Students do not learn how to make financial decisions, they do not learn how to evaluate and understand statistics, they do not learn about debt, etc. It's no wonder Americans have such dire personal economic situations.
I would love my district to have a leasing programs with laptops for each student! It would be amazing.
This sounds like a neat program-- is that what this course is?
Table 1 was helpful. It provides a sample of how various classroom activities that use technology fit into the professional technology knowledge constructs.
I wonder how any activity chosen by a teacher would not draw on pedagogy and content at some level.
Two reasons are given for way teachers do not integrate technology: 1) lack of administrative vision, and 2) a lack of theoretical instructional framework.
Neither of those present a major difficulty to me. The two factors which hold me back are: 1) managing the diverse computer expertise of my students (the technology gets in the way for many novice users), and 2) navigating how to cover state standards for my content rich subject area (science).
I am aware of the rapidly expanding technological tools available for use in the science classroom. I was disapointed that no course using these tools was available at the U of M. My experience with these tools in short PD settings was very frustrating such that I lack the excitement and resolve required to integrate these newer, still expensive tools into my classroom.
Much of this article focuses on teacher professional development.
I am developing the recognition of a theme: technology is a necessary tool for students to be able to utilize in their learning to manage complex ideas, insights, and reflections such that they can prepare for later life. I'm drawn back to the analogy of the man blind man and his stick from the Duffey & Cunningham article.
How students learn:
• Students arrive at learning with prior knowledge, and this knowledge must be built on to achieve new levels of understanding.
• Students require a strong foundation of facts, ideas, and contexts to be able to organize and use their knowledge.
• Students need to learn to think deliberately about their learning processes if they are to be able to manage their own learning.
Where do students get that strong foundation of facts, ideas, and contexts if we focus on PBL in secondary schools?
I find the idea of the "competitive market" for the net somewhat dangerous. Already, the net is full of junk and garbage. I believe that a "library" type structure is necessary that would help organize, categorize, and sort the information available. We have this capacity for books, why not for websites? It would not need to be required, but would be a government service.
One difficulty I have experienced is the transient nature of the net. I have taken to downloading and saving webpages I like because I know that the page may not exist (or be easily found) in the future.
I believe that computer access for children is imperative. In 1996 33-37% of American homes presently have computers. [http://www.slis.indiana.edu/CSI/WP/wp98-01B.html] In 1998, CNN reported that approximately 70% of white families have home computers compared to only 11% for african american families. [http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9807/31/computers.in.the.hood/] That is an amazing technology gap.
The comment about naivety among strict capitalists regarding technology is absolutely correct. I feel that way about our society's grasp of poverty and race, in general though. So few people seem to grasp the depth of institutional problems. Of course, it's no wonder they can't grasp that applied to a problem such as technology.
There are two problems, IMO, with school computer access. First, many students do not have computer access at schools (having -a- computer in the classroom is vastly different from all students having a computer in the classroom). Second, to really get a feel for computers, one must have a comfortable envirnment in which to explore the computer in freely. The second can simply not be accomplished at schools.
I believe the new purpose for neighborhood libraries will be computer access. This was truly working in Minneapolis before the recession, at one time the MPLs were open sevan days a week! And they were often open for 12 consecutive hours such that, no matter what shift one worked, it was possible to get to the library to use a computer. Of course, like many public institutions, libraries have suffered greatly over the last several years.
I suppose a BLOG is a mindtool. How nice to being taught in a manner that models the teaching theories that are encouraged. I actually wondered why we were given so little instruction as to what these posts should contain, but it seems that's really the only way to have students really own their learning. As a teacher, I have a tendency to want to clarify my expectations because I have the perception that students need some level of perameter. Perhaps it comes out of my own experiences as a learner-- how many times have I been told to do what I want and then be graded in some manner that holds me accountable to a standard that was clearly present but not communicated. Of course, I expect that students have to be given some guidance in this area. Maybe samples would suffice?
I personally love using "databases" to organize my learning.
I have found numerous mindmapping tools on the computer to be annoying to use.
A form of an expert system is certainly my vision of the future for "textbooks."
Hypermedia is fantastically exciting-- I think of them as electronic portfolios.
For any of these mindtools to work well, students would have to take control of their design. Otherwise, they'd be no better than worksheets. This seems like it would work well for students at some levels, but not at all levels. There is definately a level of experience/ scaffolding/ modelling necessary. Perhaps having students work in groups would help with that?
It's funny that the cost/ benefit analysis does not include the actual price of a computer... let's see, the cheapest notebook computer I find right now is... $600. That doesn't include software prices, which tack on an extra $200 or so. Plus, there is the hassle of repairs and varying levels of computer expertise among the students.
Given that expense, for most high schools and junior highs, paper and pen methods seem superior.
The Authors divide theories of cognition into: mind as computer, mind as brain, and mind as rhizome. I found the discussion of MAR interesting, but the analogy to a rizome unnecessary. How about mind as network? The compelling aspect of "computer" and "brain" is that most people have a good concept of those. It's odd how hung-up I've gotten over that analogy.
I found the general discussion of cognition (aside from MAR) very compelling in its dicussion of what learning is. The article waxed philosophical.
This is perhaps the best statement of purpose for teaching I've ever read:
Learning is not the lonely act of an individual, even
when it is undertaken alone. It is a matter of being initiated
into the practices of a community, of moving from legitimate
peripheral participation to centripetal participation in
the actions of a learning community (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Pg. 12
I am compelled to think of how urban "schools" find themselves at odds with this. Perhaps students in these environments develop an "us" vs. "them" attitude regarding "their community" and the "learning community" of teachers and staff. (Largely white, middle class faculty?)
I could use this as a discussion topic for an advisory group:
our choice of participation in the community that holds a particular
view requires both a commitment to and a responsibility to respect
the views of others. We have within our capability the
constant renewal of our world view. Human reflection is the
key to understanding and creating anew a world in which we
coexist with others. Someone else’s world view, her belief
structure, can be as legitimate as our own. To coexist, a
broader perspective is necessary, one in which both parties
cooperate to bring forth a common world where many perspectives
are valid. Pg 13.
I definately have been guilty of using technology more as a tool to instruct with instead of a tool to actually promote student learning. I am excited about the potential for hypertext to revolutionize the published word.
This statement was very powerfull, "the point of which is to keep the conversation going rather than to find the objective truth” (Landow, 1992, p. 78)." (Pg. 20) I like the notion that the whole point is just to keep up a dialogue. In science we have a perception that we are seeking an objective truth. In many regards, I do not believe that to be inacurate. Whether or not that "truth" is relevant may be brought into question though. Arguably, this is at the heart of the "creation vs. evolution" debate. Neither side seems to grasp the extent to which the other has an entirely different notion of what constitutes relevant knowledge. The only area that I find this concept dangerous is where health is concerned. There is a high stake in our objective knowledge in that regard-- especially where drugs and treatments are concerned.
The authors strike a chord in stating, "an instructional designer’s grounding assumptions about knowledge and learning are primary determinants of the instruction that is designed." (Pg. 21) No-one can teach what they do not know, neither in content nor in style. My primary frustration with my pedagogy courses at the U is that I have not seen enough good teaching. I would love to take a full biology course taught in a "constructivist" style so that I could better model my own teaching after it.
I'm thinking of how I could use problem based learning in my own classroom. I feel very constrained by the state standards. I'm also uncomfortable with the notion that I wouldn't be able to appropriately help the students because I wouldn't really know what the solution would be. But, perhaps that's the point of PBL? I could certainly do something experimental and see how it goes... It is very compelling in its "real world nature."
Could someone please pass this understanding of mind on to the Dept. of Ed.? I mean, how can we fit this into NCLB? I've seen evidence that students taught using these methods do fine on standardized tests, but I feel shaky about taking the jump.
I am looking forward to spending a week on campus, though I always wonder about the climate in the classrooms. Will we be sweating? Or will the room be comfortable?
I am curious about all of the readings. I hope I will be more able to implement technology use in my classroom that will improve student learning. I hope we will explore tools that will aide in technology integration. I also hope to explore ways to improve weaknesses in technology based learning (such as how to build student community on-line and how to minimize frustrationz with technological tools.)