Myths and Realities about Technology in K-12 Education Glenn Kleiman EDC Center for Online Professional Education Harvard Graduate School of Education
Starting Assumptions • Technology is changing our world • Technology is changing what our students need to learn • Technology can have significant impact on how we teach and how we learn • The core of K-12 education remains unchanged: good teaching will always be the key
access information develop basic skills explore record organize analyze produce create communicate practice individualize collaborate and lots more! Technology can help teachers and students
The Challenge • Putting these capabilities to effective use
Discussion Question • What are some misconceptions, unrealistic expectations, or “myths” you have encountered about technology in K-12 education?
Myth #1 • Putting computers into schools will directly improve learning; more computers will result in greater improvements.
Eyes on your own work “Keep your eyes on your own screen.”
Research from Union City, NJ • Systemic reform with technology can have significant positive impact on student learning in high need districts • It isn’t quick, it isn’t easy, and it isn’t just about hardware, wires, and basic training in their use • Thanks to Fred Carrigg, Executive Director for Academic Programs, Union City NJ Schools, for the following information
Union City, New Jersey • 60,000 Residents In 1.4 Square Miles • 1990 Census - Most Densely Populated Urban Community In The U.S. • 48 Blocks Long, 5 Avenues Wide • One School Every 4 Blocks
Union City SchoolDistrict Demographics • 9803 students, 14 schools • 93% Latino, 95% Minority • 68% do not speak English at home • 32% are enrolled in bilingual/ESL programs • 14% have been in the country less than 3 years • 80% receive free or reduced lunch
1989 • Verge of NJ state Takeover • Failed 44 of 52 state Indicators • Low Test Scores • Poor Staff and Student Attendance • Inadequate Resources (textbooks, materials and supplies) • Little Staff Professional Development • Inadequate Community Participation and Support
Old Failing District Threatened with State Takeover (1989) Passing Rates for 8th grade EWT: 30-35% New Urban Model Awarded State Certification (1995) Passing rates for 8th grade 8 EWT: 80%+ Union CityDistrict Wide Restructuring
Key Components of Systemic Reform to Create a Technology Friendly Environment • Organizational Changes • Curricular and Methodological • Time and Space • Cooperative and Collaborative Environment • Staff Development • Systematic • Individualized • Long Term • Technology resources
Old Traditional Curriculum based on texts & rote learning Traditional periods Computer labs with separate curriculum Subject area teaching Central management Limited professional development Limited parent involvement New Inquiry based instruction with authentic materials Block scheduling Classrooms with integrated technology Interdisciplinary teaching School-based management Continuous professional development Increased parental involvement Union City District Wide Restructuring
Five Factors for Success in Union City • Leadership and collaboration • Strong base of teacher support • Teachers at the center of curriculum revision and school decision making • Sufficient funding from a variety of sources • Attention to public relations • For more info: http://www.union-city.k12.nj.us/
Reality #1 • There will be minimal educational return from technology investments unless technology is one component of a well-designed educational improvement plan.
Discussion Question • What educational purposes should technology serve?
Myth #2 • There are agreed-upon goals and "best practices" that define how computers should be used in K-12 classrooms.
Findings of the National Teaching, Learning and Computing National Survey • Directed by Hank Becker, UC-Irvine • Funded by U.S. Dept of Ed and NSF • Detailed survey of national sample of schools and teachers • All reports are available at: http://www.crito.uci.edu/tlc/html/tlc_home.html
Teaching philosophy is linked to objectives for computer use • Constructivist teachers objectives • communicating, presenting information, collaborating, getting information • Transmission oriented teachers objectives • reinforce skills and remediate skills
Computers are used more frequently when: • Computers are in the classroom (as opposed to labs) • Teachers have more expertise with computers • Teachers have more “constructivist” (vs. “transmission) oriented approaches • There are longer class periods • In-depth learning of fewer topics is encouraged
Reality #2 • Educational goals and approaches must be clarified and plans for purchasing, using and evaluating the impact of technology must be developed to fit those goals and approaches.
Discussion Question • How has your use of technology in the classroom changed from when you first started using it?
Myth #3 • Once teachers learn the basics of using a computer they are ready to put the technology to effective use.
Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) research • With effective professional development and ongoing support, teachers go through stages of development in coming to use technology effectively
1. Entry stage • teachers learning new tools themselves • beginning to plan classroom use • Will the effort be worth the results?
2. Adoption stage • begin to blend technology into existing classroom practices • but don’t significantly change their practices • How can technology help me teach more effectively?
3. Adaptation stage • technology well integration into existing classroom practices • begins to see real benefits in students engagement and work • How can I incorporate technology more fully?
4. Appropriation stage • technology used by teacher and students as a natural element of all work • classroom practices begin to change somewhat (e.g., more project based learning, use of primary resources) • How could I ever do my job without technology?
5. Invention stage • technology used in exploring new ways of teaching and learning • students show high levels of skill in using technology • students show abilities to work independently and collaborative, problem-solve, find and evaluate information… • What should I explore next?
A General Sequence of Change • Entry -- why bother? • Adoption -- how might this be useful? • Adaptation -- how else can it help us? • Appropriation -- how could we get by without it? • Invention -- what new possibilities does it open for us?
Reality #3 • For technology to be used fully in schools, significant changes are required in teaching practices, curriculum, and classroom organization. • These changes takes place over years and require significant professional development and support for teachers.
Discussion Questions • What plans (of all types, not just technology) has your school or district developed in the last few years? • Is the use of technology integral to those plans?
Myth #4 • The typical district technology plan is sufficient for putting technology to effective use.
Reality #4 • To use technology effectively, we must fully integrate it into school improvement plans, professional development plans, special education plans, etc. • Technology must be viewed as providing tools to help us meet central educational goals, not as defining a new, separate set of goals.
Myth #5 • Equity can be achieved by ensuring equal student-to-computer ratios
“Oh, we finished the basic subtraction. Now we’re designing a series of interrelated transformational geometric comparisons.”
Reality #5 • When considering issues of equity, we need to examine all the essential conditions for making technology into effective tools for teaching and learning, not just the number and type of hardware available.
Discussion Question • What myths would you add to the list from your experience? • List so far: • Technology: That’s all you need to succeed • Goals: We all agree, don’t we? • Professional Development: Basic training is enough • Plans: Technology is on it’s own • Equity: Counting computers is the test
Some more myths • Putting technology in the classroom will improve the quality of teaching • Technology and web-based learning saves time and money • The impact of technology on student achievement can be isolated and shown to increase student test scores • Gifted students benefit more from technology • If you build it they will come
To be Open to the Impact of Rapid Change • “[Writing] will produce forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it, through lack of practice at using their memory... To your students you give an appearance of wisdom, not the reality of it... they will appear to know much when for the most part they know nothing..." (Socrates in The Phaedrus) • This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. (Western Union internal memo, 1876.) • There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home. (Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977.)
To Avoid Being Seduced by Technology • I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks. (Thomas A. Edison, 1922.) • With the new Internet-enabled media, the center of the learning experience is fundamentally transformed, shifting from the teacher to the student. And the learning process in the classroom is much more active, with students discussing, debating, researching, and collaborating on projects. (Don Tapscott, author of Growing Up Digital)
To Address 21st Century Learning Goals • Demonstrate technological literacy • Communicate using variety of media • Access and exchange information • Compile,organize and synthesize • Draw conclusions and make generalizations • Know content and locate information • Become self-directed learners • Collaborate and cooperate in teams • Interact in ethical ways • (From ISTE and CEOForum)
For More Information • firstname.lastname@example.org • http://www.edtechleaders.org • http://www.neirtec.org