Friday, January 26, 2007

Session 3: Technology Integration in American classroom

My Though on Using and Applying Technology to classroom

As we approach the 21st century, we begin to see a major paradigm shift in instructional methods to reflect the challenges present in today's society. For a student to be competitive in a global market, we can no longer rely simply on traditional educational strategies. To meet these demands, one must supplement and/or replace traditional methods of instruction with innovative educational experiences. Some strategies include cooperative, discovery and inquiry learning activities; however, to facilitate these methods, schools must implement technology in the learning environment. Technology and multimedia applications should be used as a tool to enhance a child's educational experience by creating a variety of methods to meet special needs, teach children how to manage information, and allow for opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills.

We find ourselves today, in a classroom full of students as diverse as the world in which we live. Research on the human brain has shown that not all students learn by one particular strategy. Some students do well with the tried and true method of direct instruction, but the majority of students do not. To reach the most number of students, the teacher needs to create a variety of learning experiences. The first and most simplistic way is to use technology to supplement classroom instruction. Technology will help meet these demands is by allowing students to interact with information within a different medium. There are numerous multimedia programs designed to meet the special needs of diverse learners. For example, a student learning English as a second language would benefit from a computer program where they could learn the language at their own pace. They could spend as much time as needed on the computer, without feeling pressured to keep up with 30 other students. Another type of learner may memorize facts and details better if the information is presented in musical form. One can not expect all teachers to teach in this fashion, but a computer program or multimedia application may have the capabilities of doing so without taking additional time away from other students. By utilizing such programs, a single teacher can employ many more resources and methods within one classrooms, rather than teaching the information in one manner to all students.

Another valuable way technology should be used in the classroom is to teach students how to manage information. Our generation has commonly been referred to as living in the 'information society.' Never before in the history of the world have people had so much access to information. With the click of a mouse or even a remote control, one can know what is a happening anywhere in the world, at any given time. Our students must become information literate; our democratic society depends on this fact. Where better to teach our children these skills than in the classroom. By incorporating technology in the curriculum, students will become exposed to a variety of modes of communication, both as sender and receiver. A teacher may utilize the vast amount of information on the Internet to help students develop the skills necessary to determine a reliable source of information from an unreliable. Also, students will learn how to analyze and synthesize information gathered from a variety of resources and possibly develop a multi-media presentation to share their research with their classmates. Finally, students are also able to interact with people around the world, thanks to technology, whether it is an expert on a particular subject they are studying or other students researching a similar question. What ever the particular scenario may be, technology allows teachers to expand the four walls of the traditional classroom and explore the world in which we live.

Finally, according to Bloom's Taxonomy, as children move through the hierarchy of learning, their studies should progressively move towards developing higher level thinking skills. Technology can facilitate this process when integrated within the existing curriculum. Gone are the days of spending hours mulling through over a dozen hard-copy books looking for information for a research project. With technology, students can shift their focus from acquiring information to the task at hand, synthesis, analysis and presentation of information. To guarantee that technology is being used appropriately to develop higher level thinking skills, the teacher must develop curriculum to do so. For example, both roles of the teacher and student have changed dramatically over the last 20 years. In the traditional model of education, the teacher was responsible for disseminating information to students. The students' primary responsibility was to consume and retain as many of the facts and figures as they could. The most successful students were those who could memorize and regurgitate information in a variety of format - writing papers, oral reports and tests. However, we have recently discovered that these types of skills do not always prepare our students for their professional lives. For a student to be successful in today's job market, they must be able to assess and analyze information, not merely memorize. Businesses are looking for independent thinkers, not mindless robots. As instructors, we must realize this fact and adjust our curriculum accordingly, and one way of implementing this change is through the use of technology.

In conclusion, technology and multimedia applications should be an integral part of the learning environment. Our students are immersed in a daily life full of computers and other technological advances. The schools of America should reflect this change in the classroom. Integration of technology does not mean placing a computer in the corner of the classroom and leaving it un-touched throughout the semester. Technology must be incorporated in all aspects of the curriculum. To do anything less would be a disservice to our students.

January 22 to 26, 2007 Activity Log

Monday through Friday:

Listen to Podcast and take note
Back-ground work on ETEC 623 three proposals
Sent the proposals to instructor and received approval
Post the three projects.
Spent three days to draft this session’s posting and post it this evening
Read other scholars’ article and in-put some comments

Saturday and Sunday:

Plan to accomplish more on the back-ground work for the projects


Cassandra said...

I think you have made some very good points. It is true that in every classroom we have many different types of learners and with many different types of needs in order to produce meaningful learning. Technology intergration in the can help to reach most of those learners by giving them hands-on experience that is different from direction instruction.

Linda Faulk said...

Very thorough analysis of the different modes of learning and how technology can assist. I really like your project proposals as well. I use power point in the classroom for all kinds of activities-not just instruction, and the students really learn a lot from it. Good Luck.

Jon R said...

I think your assessment of present-day students is great! Students ARE diverse! Not that I think they haven't always been diverse but I think that the depth of that diversity is more today than ever before, both in terms of waht they know, where they come from, how they learn, etc. I totally agree, thanks for the assessment!