The Nature of Technology in Schools

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Looking at the infographic at the beginning of the 2015 Horizon Report K-12 edition, I noticed a lot of the same issues highlighted that I have discussed in other classes and with my colleagues at school (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). Just in my 4 short years of teaching there has been a “seismic shift,” as Dr. Gilbreath referred to it, in how instruction is suppose to look in my district. Just as the report recommends, we have been moving towards more authentic learning, incorporating more collaborative activities, individualizing instruction in math as well as reading, and attempting to teach students higher order thinking skills.




As I reflect the Horizon Report and consider the nature of technology use in my school, I immediately recognize some problems we need to overcome (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). The biggest issue that I notice is that many teachers are not clear on how to effectively integrate technology into their instruction. They think that just because they use their SmartBoard to present a lesson that they are integrating technology. However, unless students are interacting with the technology, this approach is merely a glorified white board. This is where integrating technology into teacher education, as the Report suggests, becomes important (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). Not only should pre-service teachers be receiving quality instruction on effectively integrating technology, so should in-service teachers. Sheninger (2014) suggests using a “job-embedded growth model” for professional development and giving teachers ample time to learn how to utilize tools and implement strategies that they’ve learned.

While that issue is teacher-related, I also notice resource related-obstacles. In my school, we do not have enough technology in our classrooms. While I do not think that students at the primary level necessarily need a one-to-one ratio, I think that it is important to have current technology available for teachers and students to use. Currently, I have a laptop and an iPad in my classroom, and that is the only technology students in my class have access to on a daily basis. We have iPads available for check-out from the library, but that’s only if another teacher or class is not using them. Last month, I wrote a grant trying to get 3 iPad minis that will be dedicated for classroom use.

The direction I see the future of education going is congruent with the shifts that the Horizon Report points out (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). I see classrooms moving more towards blended and flipped learning models. Even I am planning on utilizing a variation of the flipped classroom model to improve math instruction in my 2nd-grade classroom. I also recognize that we need to make an important shift from students being merely consumers of information to creators of products based on information they’ve obtained independently (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015). When my students create their own projects using technology, not only are they learning they are having fun and it shows! I think that when we make these shifts, and the others suggested in the Report (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015), we will hopefully see more meaningful learning and overcome the massive challenge of producing students that can successfully utilize technology to solve today’s issues and future problems, as well.



References

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015
K-12 Edition [PDF file]. Retrieved from: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

Sheninger, E. (2014). Digital leadership: Changing paradigms for changing times. Thousand

Oaks, CA: Corwin.



2 comments:

  1. Hi Ashley,
    I'm so glad we are taking this class together! I always love reading your prospective! You made a very interesting point about students creating their own projects which in turn creates a more meaningful learning activity for them. Even in our courses here at Liberty, I have learned more through individualized projects that are directly related to my own career than through reading text, taking tests, or completing unrelated assignments. In fact, having the freedom to learn on my own and guide assignments toward my own personal situation have provided the most meaning in my time here at Liberty. I am very excited about my research-based project coming up in 696 because it has personal and professional benefit for me. Becoming excited about learning should be what education is all about, right? Once again, thank you for your insightful post and I will talk with you again soon!

    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amanda. I enjoy reading your perspective, as well. Thanks for your comments!

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