Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Integrating Technology Over Time

Building Momentum

Momentum for integrating technology can only happen when there is adequate support in place. As Kadijevich (2006) stated, support is one of three factors which will affect technology use of teachers.

I would propose two forms of support to sustain the professional development of teachers in their uses of technology. The first would be in-service days, or half days, where instructional time is spent exploring a new technology. Adequate time is necessary for teachers to receive instruction, and begin engaging meaningfully in the use of the technology. Secondly, I propose regular meetings between teacher-pairs for mentorship time related to the new technology.

In my school division, designated meeting time set aside once every month for “Team Meetings.” In the past few years, this time has been used for the various Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) which exist within the schools. For example, one PLC centered on issues related to health and wellness programs in our school. Another PLC centered on the school-day schedule and other planning issues. A case can be made for this time to be used for Professional Learning Communities related to technology integration within the school.


Showcasing Integrated Technology

As teachers become more comfortable with blogs, they may start using them in various ways: Blogs can be used as:

* Class Portals: to communicate information about the class and to archive course materials; a place to publish the course curriculum, syllabus, class rules, homework assignments, rubrics, handouts, and presentations (blogs are a powerful course management tool!)

* Online Filing Cabinet: a digital filing cabinet for students to archive their work and create a space for an online portfolio of work. (a record of student work)

* E-Portfolio: students collect the work they want to highlight; they can reflect on their work in a blog post and publish the results

* Collaborative Space: a place for students to collaborate with others online; learn from each other or from other professionals who can work side by side in a digital space

* Knowledge Management and Articulation: a place for school committees and groups to store documents and information

* School Website: could be linked to the school’s main website, and maintained by each department, sports team, clubs and activities to keep up-to-date

(Richardson, 2006, pp. 21-26).

As part of this professional development, I would ask for regular feedback from teachers to tell me how they are using blogs in their teaching and learning. Those who are comfortable could allow their use of blogs to be shown in staff meetings, which would be relevant and motivating for other staff to experience. Eventually, the use of blogs could be showcased by linking them to the school’s web page, or the school library’s web site. Information about the school’s successful uses with new technologies can be shared with the community through school newsletters.

References

Kadijevich, D. (2006).
Achieving educational technology standards: The relationship between student teacher's interest and institutional support offered. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22. p. 437-443

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Corwin Press: Thousand Oakes, CA.

8 comments:

lori said...

Integrating technology in the classroom successfully is something that takes tons of time, training, desire to learn and accept change, and the love for education. Technology can make our lives simple and can make our lives difficult without the proper training. It is essential that before we, as educators, integrate technology in the classroom, that we are comfortable and fully knowlegable of how to integrate it successfully.

Molly S said...

The idea that integrating technology in the classroom takes tons of time is daunting. I'm wondering if once a curriculum is designed that includes technology if it is actually less time consuming. While my district has great sound bites, many classrooms in our building don't even have a computer - this makes me sick to my stomach! It is my goal to become one of those teachers who develops authentic projects through the use of technology.

Lori said...

I didn't really mean for it to sound daunting, but just like anything in the classroom (lessons of any kind)...you must be prepared and it's better to be ready and trained, so that you can better incorporate it in the classroom for your students. Anything new that you try is going to take time, it's not going to happen over night, especially for it to be successfully integrated. Now, of course, some technology is easy to integrate in the classroom and that's probably because the teacher is very familiar and comfortable with it. Other aspects of technology can be great to integrate, but I think some teachers hesitate to do this because they don't feel comfortable. I believe with the proper training, that these teachers would feel better about integrating technology into the classroom on a daily basis (as long as they had the means).

Molly S said...

I agree with you Lori. It has been my experience that once I understand how to use a tool it makes my job performance better. I have seen this with other teachers who are closer to retirement and not as familiar with various programs. There is definitely a certain level of anxiety about technology. I want to learn to use as much as I can to make my classes more interesting for the students!

Meg T said...

Integrating technology does take a willingness to learn! The task of becoming technologically savvy is not one that evolves over night. I have spent hours researching and practicing the available technologies that would support my classroom. The benefits of this time though are reaped by my students daily! It takes staff working together to train each other about technology too. We have a PLC time built into our schedule, and I am going to pass on the suggestion of using that time to learn and improve our technology skills. As I become more and more familiar with technology it is actually saving me time.

wheeler65 said...

The topic is interesting and I relate wholeheartedly, as I have a computer lab and have noticed the increasing wave of technology advances over the past decade.

asc_assignments said...

As teacher we are all faced with the lack of resources problem. However with the expansion on techology resources, it makes it easier for us to communicate with our students in the classroom. The pressure is on the admistrator to communicate, they are slowing getting things in place to encourage communication between teacher and students. Parent and administrator. It can only get better.

Walden Class Blog said...

Our school has four teachers per grade level, and out of those four teachers one of them has a model classroom. The end goal is for the model classroom to have sound, projection, interaction and computers. The thought behind each grade only have one model classroom is that this enables teachers who are ready and willing to use technology to jump right in while slowly beginning the transformation of integrating technology into their teammates lessons. What I am finding as model classroom teacher though is that my teammates are not interested in learning the lessons as they feel it is a waste of their time to learn it unless they have time to play around with the equipment on a regular basis. At times it even feels like there is resentment towards me for having N-computing or a Smartboard. Are other schools having similar situations? What process are you using to implement technology? I know funding is also a HUGE issue and reason for us not putting technology into every classroom right away as well. Plus, sadly I think some of the technology would just sit and never be turned on in some of the classrooms.