Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Article Assessment 3

Tools for the Mind

Because there is no body of research unequivocally linking student technology use to improved learning, technology use has been put on the back burner as a tool for use in education past the use of low-level skills such as word processing.

  • Many educators see computer based learning as an exception, not the rule. Teacher share learning skills for computer use instead of learning how to best use computers for teaching.
  • Many schools have not invested in the long term upkeep of skills for teachers in the realm of technology.
  • Schools have not really done much study on whether they are really teaching students.
  • Not all software is cognitively and instructionally equal.

Although students are encouraged to seek out information on line, they are not often engaged in the collaborative aspect of the internet. There is a lack of content-oriented simulations being used. Students are set free on the internet and not given enough of a structure to use technology to its true instructional power.

More challenging uses of technology can create opportunity for critical thinking skills. They increase the use of abstract thought. Classrooms generally use low-level operations, or use tools with potential for higher learning in their basic form.

Teachers today are faced with many questions:
  • What kinds of software do I want and why?
  • When should I allow students to use computers? When shouldn't I allow use?
  • Does the technology in my classroom help to deepen understnading of the content?
  • Is there measurable learning taking place?
  • Does the technology used improve learning?
One strategy that should be incorporated in the classroom includes four steps:

First - Teachers should be lead through the learning process so that they can understand and reflect on the activity and include their understanding of the project they are teaching.
Second - Teachers should be taught to understand the uses of the technology used with students.
Third- Teachers should be exposed to technology that has a specific learning goal in mind
Finally - Teachers should know how to manipulate specific software applications, and it should be used to support the four areas of teaching: content knowledge, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Technology is not being used to its potential, at the expense of the higher learning of students. With some help, teachers could become more knowledgeable about the ways to use technology in the classroom. Students could be a larger part of their learning experience, using technology as a tool that leads them through problem solving, analytical thinking, and finally to develop skills that lead to the making of educated decisions. For students to be more prepared for the decisions of life, this technology use could be part of their preparation toward graduation.

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