One of the benefits of teaching is that teachers also get to be students. We wish for our students to be self-directed, life-long learners, and, because of the changing nature of education, we have to take steps to be the same. We must set goals for ourselves and then put a plan into motion. One area that requires consistent professional development, and therefore goal-setting, is the inclusion of technology in the classroom. Because technology is constantly evolving, teachers have to take steps to learn new tools and new methods. “Strategic learners begin the goal-setting process by analyzing the task at hand. Strategic learners also consider what they already know that can be useful in obtaining their new learning goals” (Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer, 2009, p. 85). The ISTE National Education Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers provides teachers a foundation from which to gauge their confidence and proficiency with technology inclusion. I have selected two indicators upon which to focus.
The first indicator I would like to focus on is Technology Operations and Concepts. While I do believe that I am quite knowledgeable about technology and what kinds to use in my plans, I am fully aware that there is much more available to me and, I would like to explore new options each year. My students are growing up in a digital world, and I did not. I have had to train myself to look at technology as part of my plans and not as a special project. Technology inclusion should become the norm for me, not something unique. “Teachers who use technology in the classroom find ways to use it as a pedagogical tool that supports their beliefs about teaching and learning. But for teachers to use technology in support of their learning, and to see it as a pedagogically useful tool, they must be confident and competent with the technology they are planning to use” (Topper, 2004, p.304). Fortunately, my schools greatly advocates the use of technology and encourages teachers to explore new options.
The second indicator I have chosen to focus on is Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences. Simply knowing that certain technology is available is not enough. Simply telling students to use KeyNote or Prezi is not enough. I have to be sure to develop plans and assessments that allow students to use technology to learn content, not just to show the class a final product. At the same time, students need to become more and more familiar and proficient in certain technology skills as they will be necessary in the work place. “It is apparent that with the acceleration in the pace of technological innovation and saturation in society, skills such as problem solving, synthesizing information, and communicating via technology are essential for today’s students” (Barron, Kemker, Harmes, and Kalaydjian, 2004, p. 489). Whatever I plan and implement can’t be technology for technology’s sake; my plans need to be purposeful for not only my classroom but also beyond it.
In order to achieve these goals, I will take several steps. Firstly, I will include what I have learned throughout this program in my lesson plans, and I will work with others in my school. I have felt very grateful that this program has allowed us the chance to try new technologies, to experiment with new tools, and to share our results with others. My department is very supportive, and we try never to reinvent the wheel. We share successful plans regularly, and as my school moves towards Standards Based Assessment, we will be aligning our curriculum more all year. We will clearly be using the same activities, and I intend to share the plans I have implemented . Secondly, I have joined my school’s Technology Team, which meets twice a month. It is led by the district’s Technology Coordinator, and during these meeting he addresses issues teachers have encountered and tries to answer questions that have arisen. In addition, teachers also share success stories. Participation in this group seems a logical step in my GAME plan.
I can monitor my progress through monthly or unit check-ups. That is, I can make sure I am using some kind of technology in at least one of my classes each month. The technology tool does not need to be complex, nor does the project need to be huge, but I would like to make sure I am using both new technology as well as some with which I am already familiar.
Finally, I can evaluate my progress by reviewing my lesson plans each month. I can reflect on them, determine which technology helped my students learn content, which helped them to show what they have learned, and which allowed them to practice important technology skills. Likewise, I can also evaluate what did not work well and what changes I would need to make. I would like to keep track of how many different kinds of technology opportunities I am able to incorporate. Surveying students is also in my plans. I’d like to know what worked for them, what didn’t, and whether or not they have any suggestions. In many cases, they are more tech-savvy than their teachers. Including them in the discussion could prove enlightening.
Barron, A. E., Kemker, K., Harmes, C., & Kalaydjian, K. (2003). Large-scale research study on technology in K-12 schools: Technology integration as it relates to the national technology standards. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 35(4), 489-507.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx
Topper, A. (2004). How are we doing? using self-assessment to measure changing teacher technology literacy within a graduate educational technology program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 12(3), 303-317.