Teachers, Not Technicians

Reflecting on my own instructional practices regarding technology, I discovered that I am in the adoption phase of the five stages of the instructional evolution to integrating technology in the classroom.

The stages, defined by Judith H. Sandholtz and Brian Reilly, are quite interesting: Entry; Learning the basics of using technology, Adoption; successfully using technology on a basic level consistent with existing instructional practices, Adaptation; using technology to increase productivity, more frequent and purposeful, Appropriation; use of technology with no effort to accomplish instructional and management goals, Invention; technology is a flexible tool, learning is collaborative, interactive and customized; new teaching and learning practices emerge (2004).

I feel that I am stuck in the adoption phase because of two main reasons; time and availability.

Time is needed not only to plan and collaborate but also to explore new  instructional strategies and learning practices surrounding technology use. In the Everyday Mathematics curriculum explorations are a key component to initially addressing critical concept information.  This exploration phase allows the students to discover and begin to define concepts on their own or with peers to begin making connections and thinking about their background knowledge before the teacher begins the presentation of new information. This effective instructional strategy should be implemented in educators’ professional development regarding technology’s implications for teaching and learning practices.

Availability of technology equipment and professional development opportunities of various kinds is necessary. There is only so much one can do to get more equipment so I have begun to assert my creativity in order to enhance my students’ learning experience surrounding technology. For example, this bportfolio gave me a great idea for my class next year. Seeing as I only have a couple computers in my room, I thought that it would be a good practice for the class as a whole to compile our reflections of learning into a summary on a blog page.  This way students, teachers, and parents are connected to the experiences occurring in the classroom. When parents ask, “What did you learn at school today?” There will no longer be a passing of silence but a “Look at our blog!”

Also, like many of our students, we learn differently.  Like David Wicks stated in his brief summary of our voice threads, what one can do with a handbook another needs to be face-to-face and so on. Professional Development also needs to be more focused on instructional practice rather than – this is how you use an online grade-book or make a graph. I want to know how to better engage my students and prepare them for our ever-changing world of technology.

Overall, technology needs educator buy-in. Technology use in instruction must become a district culture if it is going to be utilized effectively and effeciantly for all educators and students.

Sandholtz, J. H., Reilly, B. (2004). Teachers, not technicians: Rethinking technical expectations for teachers. Teachers College Record, 106(3), 487-512.