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The Power of Computers. Changing the Way Teachers Engage Students by Heather Schilling EDTEC 670 – Dr. Mullen 22 July 2005. Background Issues. Schools acknowledge importance of computers in classrooms – nearly 100% have Internet access Only a handful of educators fully integrate computers

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The power of computers l.jpg
The Power of Computers

Changing the Way Teachers Engage Students

by

Heather Schilling

EDTEC 670 – Dr. Mullen

22 July 2005


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Background Issues

  • Schools acknowledge importance of computers in classrooms – nearly 100% have Internet access

  • Only a handful of educators fully integrate computers

  • Most use computers as glorified typewriters (Rod Paige, Jan 2005)

  • Megachanges are occurring all around, but “the process of teaching has not changed substantially over the past 100 years” (Ferguson)


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Obstacles to Full Integration

  • Time

  • Lack of dialogue about learning processes – computers can open this dialogue

  • No Child Left Behind – accountability – everything must be scientifically researched – difficulty in distinguishing impact of computers on student learning

  • Rod Paige – “consulted 200,000 children” to create the National Education Technology Plan


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Key Elements Shaping Computer Use

  • International Society for Technology in Education has created National Educational Technology Standards

  • Create important guidelines, profiles, and standards for technologically prepared teachers and students

  • Major implications for teacher prep programs


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The Focus

  • Society sees the importance of computers

  • Major focus must be on the teaching philosophy of educators

  • Look to Constructivism -


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Atticus High School Revisited

  • Rural high school of 548 students in grades 9 –12

  • Large amount of money spent on computers

  • Specific technology plan in place

  • Only a small handful use computers in the fullest extent

  • How can Atticus encourage more of its teachers to approach teaching like Mr. Clark?


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Seymour Papert

  • The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer (1993)

  • Avoids term constructivism – hasn’t been successful in transforming education

  • Uses term constructionism and mathetics

  • Constructionism – connotation of ‘construction set’

  • Mathetics – from Greek family of “to learn” – represents the essence of learning


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Papert’s Criticism

  • Traditional, hierarchical schools smother teacher creativity and enthusiasm

  • We have failed to truly transform the paradigm of how we approach learning


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Teacher Preparation Programs

  • Oswego State University – New York

    • Goals 2000 Preservice Tehcnology Infusion Project

    • Integration of technology into teacher prep program- collaboration between public school teachers, college professors, and future teachers

    • Between 1st and 2nd years – instructional methods of technology rose from 15.9% to 68.9 %


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What we learn from Oswego

  • Preservice teachers want more technology infusion

  • Teacher educators and content methods teachers must model this

  • Preservice teachers transformed their view of their role as teachers – from dispenser to facilitator


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Supporting Veteran Teachers

  • Provide adequate training

    • Teachers must be allowed to learn and play with the technology – at least 35-50 hours before it becomes

  • Paradigm shift

    • Papert (1993) says “School does not have in its institutional mind that teachers have a creative role” (p. 70)

    • That is untrue – examples from Papert’s writing and Atticus High School

    • Move away from hierarchical model of schools


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Supporting Veteran Teachers continued…

  • Allow small groups of teachers to collaborate and create their own learning environment within a school – “small school”

    • Opportunities to discuss and collaborate – develop the sense that taking “instructional risks and trying some alternative ways of instruction” is acceptable and encouraged (Goldman and others, 1999, p. 33)


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Conclusions

  • Computers have the possibility to transform how we teach and how we learn

  • We must step away from the current paradigm that binds us

  • We must embrace a constructivist or constructionist approach to teaching

  • Teacher prep programs and administration is key in helping promote this philosophy of teaching

  • Standardized testing is here – move on!


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