Sunday, September 9, 2007

a response to the Dexter's eTIPs article.

The author proposes to give principles for implementing and using educational technology in a classroom setting.

I have always been taught and trained to teach in a multimedia language-classroom setting and never really questioned why that technology was used there, since it is just part of the program and the methodology.

I was used to the pre-made package of multi-media tools to be used in class and at home, something that was probably planned by the headquarters of the school taking into consideration the classroom principles described in this text.

It was interesting to see how the technology implementation, in regular grade schools, needs to be actually thought of at first, both by teachers and school administrators, so hat they can figure out how to use the educational technologies available in a way that favors the educational goals for the students.

She mentions how there are 2 levels of principles: classroom and school. The classroom principles regards how the teacher will use the technology to implement classroom activities and the school-wide principles regard how this technology is to be made available for the teacher at the school.

So the school principles have to do with the technology available to help a teacher determine what technology is feasible to be implemented in his/her classroom.

I understand that the main idea behind these principles is to allow teachers to understand how educational technology can be used in class, what is the point of it, and then they, as a group, could be better prepared to evaluate and choose which would be the best technologies to acquire for the school and which of them to use in the classroom depending on the purpose of each lesson.

The first 2 classroom level principles, “learning outcomes drive the selection of technology” and “technology use provides added value to learning” are 2 things teachers should have in mind when choosing the technologies to be obtained by the school and used in class. Technologies should be chosen taking into consideration whether or not it fits the purpose of the specific outcomes desired and based on how much value it adds to the learning process in classroom.

But it was the last principle that brought something interesting to my attention. “Technology assists in the assessment of the learning outcomes” points out that the teachers can take advantage of the technologies to collect the information about the students' achievements. It makes it so much easier if done right.

The interesting thing is the benefit it brings to the students who, having to make the information available to the teacher to assess their progress, become familiar with something that will be useful to them throughout their academic or professional lives. Isn't true that in our world today we are surrounded by the need to use technological means to properly adapt to our professions – and so many people are computer illiterates. Giving the students these opportunity is just a very good way of training them to use those means that will be so important later.

The school level principles though seem to be the key to it all. Teachers might be aware of what they were supposed to make use of the technologies for, but if the school doesn't offer the technological environment necessary, nothing can ever done. But I thought the last eTIP to be the one that will set everything into motion and keep it going.

The first principle “ready access to supported technology is provided” makes sure that the media is available, and that there is competent support in case a problem should arise. Teachers should make sure they know how available technology is, how easy or complex it is to be accessed for a class, and what kind of tech support they have and consider all of that when trying to decide if it is really worth the trouble programming such activity with the students.

The second eTIP regards training the teachers in the technologies themselves. For the teacher to be able to assess the classroom eTIPs, should he/she be familiar with the technology? That's the point made in the text by eTIP#2. Schools should provide teachers with proper training and familiarity with the technologies available, so they will not only know how to operate the system, but also be able to figure out which technology would add value or be appropriate to the learning outcome.

The third one says “teachers reflect, discuss, and provide feedback about the role and support for educational technology”. Well, shouldn't the reflection, dicsussion and feedback be in the beginning of the process to determine how it should start, and throughout it all to figure out how to keep doing things or make changes? It involves teachers getting together as a group and discussing, debating and eventually getting to a consensus of which technologies are best for which grade levels and lessons, what should the school do about it, whether or not to change some structures, what kind of help to get. It really is the more global one.

When the last section of the text has questions related to each of the eTIPs given on the first part of the text, such questions could well be part of the reflection of the body of teachers in a school pointed out on school eTIP6.

They are a great guide for any individual teacher, but if they are not taken to the group, I believe there's little that only one teacher can do. Maybe make figure out how to make use of whatever technology is already available at school in the best way possible, but that would be it.


simplyvee79 said...

e tips
-teacher decides learning goals
-schools offer support for teachers - ready and available support - teachers are more likely to use technology - common goals.

Elizabeth Langran said...

Right, you hit upon so many of Dexter's ideas here. And yes, it really does take planning and group effort (so including administration and providing the right tech support)is what will enable a teacher to move forward in the integration of technology in the classroom.