Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is technology alone enough?

 Over the last 2 years, I have spent a great deal of time in classrooms observing teachers using technology, used technology myself when providing staff development with teachers, and used every spare minute to research where we are in implementing technology in our classrooms in Maine.  There appears to be a split between teachers who use technology as a separate entity and technology as a resource - if used in conjunction with appropriate prompts and tasks - to provide opportunities for students to develop 21st century skills, taken from Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action by American Association of Librarians.
The biggest challenge for classrooms using technology is teaching students strategies to access the information, select the appropriate information,  comprehend the information and then synthesize or create new information.  While this process is easily outlined, the specificity of teaching these strategies within the context of technology is a balancing act for teachers - requiring them to have a solid foundation in their content area, technology, and literacy strategies.  Recently, e-School News published the results of a study on the elements involved in successful 1to1 computing programs. 

One-to-one computing programs only as effective as their teachers

Experts say 1-to-1 computing research needs to focus more on classroom practices—and less on equipmen

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor

It’s “impossible to overstate the power of individual teachers in the success or failure of 1-to-1 computing,” Bebell and Kay write. “Teachers nearly always control how and when students access and use [the] technology during the school day. In addition, teachers must make massive investments in time and effort to adapt their teaching materials and practices to make the 1-to-1 environment effective and relevant.”

Our two year pilot in Maine schools has lead us to the same conclusion.  Therefore, over the next few months we will be visiting Maine classrooms, observing students' behavior and teacher instruction.

Please check our blog.  We will be posting our visits.

PS - Webinars will be coming up in March and April.

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