Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chapter 1 - Becoming an e-Teacher

Focus Question: What six key issues should a teacher consider when looking to integrate technology?
The six key issues are 1) Using technology in teaching, 2) Motivating factors, 3) Barriers to technology use, 4) Ideas for technology use, 5) Teaching methods, and 6) Students and technologies

In considering the first issue, using technology in teaching, I would rate myself as a cautious observer - likely in the early majority group according to Rogers Innovation Adoption Curve.  Though a gadget 'geek', I like for others to try things out first!  However, I am motivated to incorporate technology not only because of the digital world in which we live, but also because there is such a disconnect between the schools and the 'world' - students so often have to 'power down' when they come to school and that just doesn't make sense to me.  We should be teaching students with these powerful technology tools for their future and not continue to operate from past centuries.   
Photo credit to HackNY on Flickr
Unfortunately, there are barriers to incorporating technology in the classroom and the most significant ones appear to be computer access and teacher skill development.  I was intrigued to read about how mentoring might be an important facet to developing teacher acceptance and skill levels (Franklin, Duran, Kariuki, 2001).  Computers are necessary for technology use, despite what the critics say!  However, with the increase in hardware development, the opportunity for students to bring their own mobile devices and/or have school libraries loan tools such as e-readers, every student can have access to the internet at least!

Moving from the teacher-centered to student-centered teaching philosophy will be a primary characteristic to not just using technology in the classroom, but transforming education.  I am looking forward to learning more about the teaching methods and how to incorporate inquiry-based teaching with technology.  After all, our students don't deserve any less!

Tech Tool link: How Stuff Works Computer Channel
There is some great information on this website.  I enjoyed watching the videos (such as the one below) and exploring the links, but I think there are entirely too many distracting advertisements that take away from the content on this webpage and I would not use it as my 'go to' webpage. Therefore, I would need to carefully view what I needed before sharing with others.

Summary & Connection
This introductory chapter is almost overwhelming - considering all of the issues that relate to teaching and technology. I am a bit nervous about the expectations of using a variety of technology in the classroom, but I'm looking forward to learning all about it. I keep reflecting back to a couple of the concepts:
Student-centered teaching.  At the other end of the teaching philosophy continuum are those who view teaching as orchestrating different experiences for students. The role of the teacher is to create puzzles, ask questions, and engage in conversations with students, who learn key information and essential skills through exploration and discovery.
I aspire to actually put into practice the student-centered teaching philosophy, as the teacher-centered philosophy has lost meaning as we become more connected in our digital world.

The other concept that is rising to the top for me is the notion of 'digital divide' - most refer to that as the populations who have digital devices and those who do not with the focus on the hardware itself.  I think that is still true to some extent as some areas with very low socioeconomic levels don't have the financial means, but I think the 'digital divide' may more importantly now reflect those who really know how to use the digital devices for their needs and use them well and ethically...and those who don't!

Franklin, T., Duran, M. & Kariuki, M. (2001). Mentoring Overcomes Barriers to Technology Integration. In J. Price et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2001 (pp. 848-849). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.