Though I am a general education teacher, and not a specialist in educational technology, I feel that this course has prepared me well to be a leader within my department when it comes to researching and implementing new ways to include technology in our lessons in order to improve student achievement. This is in part due to a serious interest in using technology within the classroom, but also, and more pragmatically, out of necessity. “Technology is everywhere in education: Public schools in the United States now provide at least one computer for every five students. They spend more than $3 billion per year on digital content” (Herold 2016). At some level, all teachers, regardless of specialty need to become more well versed in the use of technology within the classroom, and best practices to employ to enhance student achievement as best as possible. When evaluating the use of technology in education, the U.S. Department of Education concludes that implementing technology in a classroom has the ability to transform teaching and connect the classroom to the rest of the world (Use of Technology).
So, if we plan on using and bringing in technology to our everyday classroom, one of the big aspects of that is making sure that we properly model and give clear sets of instructions on what it means to be a responsible and effective technology user. A great place to start with this, is digitalcitizenship.net. The website outlines numerous different modern aspects of technology, and how to properly access it as a user. To follow, Bruyckere et al. (2015), take the time to respond to four myths surrounding the combination of technology and education, both positive and negative.
I think it is easy to find the positives in the inclusion of new technology in your classroom, I do find it important to note that using technology simply to use it, is a waste. For example, taking handwritten notes and typing them in a Google doc are no different, and some findings say the ‘old style’ of handwritten notes may actually result in deeper understanding and better recall of the information (May 2014). So, implementing technology is important, but a significant factor in that is how we implement it. A great model to follow is the SAMR Model from Dr. Ruben Puentedura. The SAMR Model stands for (S)ubstitution, (A)ugmentation, (M)oditication, and (R)edefinition, and are the levels technology can take within a lesson. In analyzing Dr. Puentedura’s model, and helpfully explained by Kathy Schrock, the true goal of the SAMR Model is not just implementing technology for technology’s sake, but rather to “transform learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students” (Schrock, 2016). Instead of just substituting technology for a pen-and-paper method, we really need to make sure that when we use technology in our classrooms that we are finding a way to evolve the work into higher-order thinking skills and production levels. If we can create avenues for students to truly create new possibilities of learning and outcomes due the possibilities technology offers, that is what truly transforms education in the 21st Century and beyond.
Overall, when it comes to the use of technology in education, I do believe it is an important and necessary inclusion in today’s world, however, it needs to be done with meaning. The use of technology should be done to help tap into students’ natural curiosity (Learner’s Edge). From there, being taught to how properly use the technology will not only help the students in their school-life, but also outside of school functions. Trying to make the lessons interactive and intriguing with and by the use of technology so it is really altering the lesson into something never possible before, is what can truly allow for the most effective teaching moving forward.
The use of technology has the ability to fundamentally alter education in a way we have never seen before, but it requires proper planning, and careful thought into how to best integrate its uses within our classrooms. From this class, I hope that I am now better prepared to plan those lessons, and share the importance of technology with my department.
Bruyckere, Pedro D., Kirschner, Paul A., Hulshof, Casper D., (2015). Technology in Education: What Teachers Should Know. Retrieved from http://www.aft.org/ae/spring2016/debruyckere-kirschner-and-hulshof
Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately. Resources. Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Resources.html
Herold, Benjamin. (2016, February). Technology in Education: An Overview. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/technology-in-education/
Johnson, Ben. (2015, July). What is Your Educational Philosophy?. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-your-educational-philosophy-ben-johnson
Learner’s Edge. (2015, May). Classroom Philosophy- Using Technology to Increase Student Learning. Retrieved from http://www.learnersedgeinc.com/blog/using-technology-to-increase-student-learning
May, Cindy. (2014, June). A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop. Students who used longhand remembered more and had a deeper understanding of the material. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/
Puentedura, Ruben Ph.D. (2014, June). Learning, Technology, and the SAMR Model: Goals, Processes and Practice. Retrieved from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/06/29/LearningTechnologySAMRModel.pdf
Schrock, Kathy. (2016, July). SAMR and Bloom’s. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html
U.S. Department of Education. Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/oii-news/use-technology-teaching-and-learning