Master's Degree in Educational Technology
Technology in the classroom and in the schools will serve schools in many
capacities. Teacher directed instruction will be supplemented by the use
of technology in the classroom where students become more responsible
for their own learning, and the teacher takes a guiding role
in the process of student learning, rather than a directed role.
Technology will provide a means to communicate globally, will prepare
students for a future in a technology based world, will encourage student
responsibility, and will improve overall student achievement in the core
subject areas. This technology will not supplant traditional teaching
methods, but instead will incorporate itself smoothly into already established
and proven methods of teaching. The following sections will focus on the
individual elements of this vision statement.
as a means of global communication
Providing students with access to the world wide web will allow them to
explore areas that were not accessible to students in the past. I envision
students collaborating and discussing ideas with others outside the classroom.
The worldwide web can provide a forum for the discussion of ideas with
experts that are not normally accessible to the average public school
For example, the teacher may not be able to bring scientists working on
the human genome project to their classroom, but students will be able
to pose questions to those people across the web, in a forum or e-mail
type environment. Students in social studies classes will not need to
rely on textbook pictures and descriptions of what life is like in the
Russia, they will be able to link up with classrooms and talk to other
students personally. Students can even use web cams to look into the space
shuttle and even send e-mail to astronauts.
will prepare students for the future
technology into the classroom should be an important component of any
schools curriculum. Schools sometimes refer to this as the hidden
curriculum, the idea is that schools are not just responsible for
insuring that students can conjugate a verb and do algebra, but they are
also responsible for providing the tools necessary for the students
prolonged success after graduation.
Each student should be experienced in using the available technology,
using the world wide web for a basic search, gathering resources for a
term paper, using a digital camera to take pictures of their hometowns
and post those pictures on the web for others to see. Even seemingly mundane
elements of technology should not be ignored. Students should be exposed
to a wide variety of media, and understand the basic uses of that media.
This could be as simple as using a word processing program to write a
term paper, or as complex as creating spread sheets and tables on the
computer, creating an html document and posting it on the web as part
of a project. Each of these things prepares the student for life after
graduation, where most companies rely on technology.
will encourage student responsibility
The traditional classroom
relies on teacher directed instruction and follows a basic formula: teacher
gives information, students are expected to learn the information, and
are tested on their understanding of the concepts the teacher presented
in class. Students have very little input into the pace of their learning
or the subject matter they learn. This tends to cause apathy and rebelliousness
among the students. Using technology as a medium for learning can shift
some of the responsibility of learning onto the student. The teacher is
not the sole director of lecture based information, but would serve as
a guide in the process of the students learning. This method cannot
be implemented unless the technology exists for students to work independently.
Picture a computer lab with software on the dissection of the frog. Students
will pull up their virtual frog and perform a variety of experiments
on it. This is self directed, it gives the student choices, and inspires
exploration. Meanwhile, the teacher need only outline the goals of the
lesson and set certain parameters for achievement. The student becomes
responsible for her own learning.
will improve overall student achievement
Technology in the classroom will improve the achievement levels in core
subject areas. Putting computers into the classroom and letting students
do whatever they want is not the answer. It is important that goals and
expectations for achievement are clearly stated by the teacher. The technology
supports these goals, rather than replaces them.
Most school improvement plans focus on the very obvious, are the students
that leave the school being prepared in all subject matters. Are standardized
test scores within acceptable levels? What subject areas need improvement?
The use of technology can improve student achievement in all levels, by
linking textbook concepts to real world situations. Many students view
classrooms as microcosms of learning. Math classes spend hours learning
formulas and properties and the students dont understand what the
point of this is. Using computers and communication media is one way of
bridging the gap between the classroom and the real world. Ideally, students
dont just learn algebra for the sake of algebra, they also can learn
how to apply it real problems. For instance, there is a computer program
that allows students to build and run a virtual theme park. They can visualize
the construction of an amusement park, design and create a roller coaster
using the formulas and math the textbooks offer and see exactly how the
numbers relate to real world constructions. The program even goes into
the business side of the park, allowing for different methods of advertising
and monitoring budgets. Such a method also inspires exploration and motivation,
and even bridges the gap between math and other academic studies, such
as physics or business. As long as the teacher gives clear goals and serves
as a guide, the program is not just a fun game, but is a learning experience.
In conclusion, my philosophy for technology in schools has several components,
which illustrate that the technology is not meant to stand alone, but
rather to incorporate itself into already established curriculums and
school wide goals. The technology should provide opportunity for students
to expand their learning base and improve on basic textbook concepts,
and serve as a resource for teachers and students alike.