Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Philosophy

I think that every teacher needs to have a philosophy on technology integration into their classroom. Everything a teacher does is based on their own philosophy, whether it is using projects, a focus on writing, based in peer-to-peer discourse, or utilizing technology.

If your use of technology is simply because it is listed in the school goals, your outcome will be different than someone who uses the same technology as a teaching aid; and their outcome will be different than one who uses it as an added assessment tool. To illustrate, let me pose an example that doesn’t use modern technology.
Two identical classrooms are working on a small research project on biomes, one chooses deserts while another grasslands. Each student must mention 5 animals and 5 plants that can be found in their biome. Likewise, they must talk about the physical features of their biome. In one classroom, the teacher asks the students to write 2-3 paragraphs. In the second classroom the students can present it however they want. When it is time for the presentations, what do you think the difference will be? Let’s take it a step further: during the presentations, one class has the students go to the front of the room to present their project. The other class has the students go to the front and answer questions about their biome. Which class is likely to have the students read their project and which is more likely to have the students use their project as a reference and state their answer based on their knowledge?

It is similar with technology. While integrating technology by allowing the students to use a word processor instead of producing a handwritten paper is valuable, it isn’t likely to increase their learning. Technology can outright replace, or it can become an addition. It can do something for the student, or the student can do something using the technology.

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