from Educators' eZine
I am enrolled in a graduate course to earn my masters degree in instructional technology. It's a small class, down to almost half its original size. We're a diverse group: an executive assistant with a strong business background, a high school journalism teacher who also teaches Web design, two middle-school language arts teachers, a middle-school technology education teacher, an alternative classroom instruction teacher, and a video production teacher who actually majored in technology in college (who will finish the course via distance learning, since he now works in another district). All but three of us are in our second careers, and, except for the video production teacher, we are all employed by the same school district.
We are in the next to last class, a class on leadership. The professor, as he usually does, provides us with a wealth of Web sites to peruse on the virtues of the current subject. One of the requirements of this course is to picture ourselves in the role of leader. We consider ourselves technology people and our job is to be active proponents for the infusion of technology in all curricula in our school district. Discussions about our leadership qualities range from, "As teachers, we're already leaders!" to harder questions (at least for me) such as, "What is your passion in taking this course?" I prefer to substitute "goal" for passion.
One member of our group, the executive assistant, asks the question "Why is technology so important in education?" After years in this grad class, we all scoffed at this question but actually failed in our attempts to give clearly defined answers. I think about this and decide to make a list for quick reference. If you are familiar with the term educational technology (using technology to enhance the teaching process), you will find little new ground here, but here goes:
- Using technology involves the student in the learning process. Students using technology become active participants in the learning process instead of passive listeners.
- Using technology eliminates most discipline problems. When the student is involved in the work, there is little time for trouble.
- Using technology allows students to take ownership of the project. When the student is empowered to find his/her own answers, the learning process becomes much more interesting.
- Using technology transforms the teacher from authority expert to facilitator.The teacher becomes more of a participant than authority expert when the students use technology to find answers online.
- Using technology is familiar to today's students. Technology use is part of the normal learning process for students; it is in their "comfort zone" and teachers often learn new technology programs along with students.
- Using technology reduces the workload on the teacher. Technology as a tool enhances, and replaces, text, paper and pencil because students can use technology for both reference and presentation.
- Using technology allows for a smooth transition from school to work and school to college . Technology is used everywhere - in math, science, engineering, transportation, manufacturing, and every business application you can think of. From sales transactions and inventory control, to e-commerce, the uses for technology are limitless.
- Using technology allows for the free exchange of information. The widespread use of compatible word processing and graphic software programs allow information to be exchanged easier than ever before.
So what is my leadership plan? I intend to bring technology to other district teachers through the mentoring of technology programs on a one-to-one basis. I will also create a false teacher persona for the school's electronic lesson plan program, and post lesson plans for different curricula. The idea is that if plans are easy to obtain by copy and paste, perhaps a teacher would be more likely to try using technology.
Technology is a quick, easy, and convenient way to communicate on any scale to anyone wishing to obtain, or present, information. In order to achieve this goal, and even though it may seem anachronistic, I will attempt to help teachers use technology, one person at a time. If this method works, certainly I will consider myself successful. Only time will tell.