by Tom Jeffers
Technology has changed the way we view the world, the way the globe approaches problems (global perspectives), the way we interact with people, spend and save money, shop, listen to music, watch movies, and a host of other activities. To date, adults and children carry a mini computer masked as a smartphone with them. I call it a mini computer for it can perform many tasks a laptop computer can. It can even send information to a printer and surf the Internet.
Having access to technology brings the question “Is technology being used to integrate teaching methods and taking advantage of daily access by those who have such technology [which is most of the globe], the portability of electronic textbooks that are available often at a cheaper price and the ability to email class assignments and notes?” Sure it will change the practice of teaching but only in the sense of “taking some getting use to.” There are teachers who currently provide parents with personalized reports of their childʼs progress through email and some are starting to use the internet to add assignments.
Give the teachers technology and they will integrate it into instruction. Determining the best way to use technology for the student is a teacher task however central offices have created pacing guides and other materials that eliminate the freedom of exploration by the teacher. School administrators take into account the full plate a teacher has and adding the responsibility of learning and teaching the use of technology at a mastery level is a difficult task. It is even more difficult for those teachers who technology is foreign to them.
Are school districts bridging the technology gap by simply providing technology without providing a technology integration curriculum writer? School districts have curriculum writers. School districts have technology personal. Not all school districts have a school level technology specialist. No school district has a dedicated person whose sole responsibility is to pull apart a grade level curriculum seeking opportunities to use the appropriate technology. Just placing a smart board in the classroom will not provide this, however it will generate ideas for the teacher on how best to use this technology to instruct the students. School districts are missing technology integration writers who are responsible for analyzing the curriculum, collecting abilities, and work with curriculum writers to a create technology curriculum that eliminates specific technology tool names and focuses on technology use concepts. These concepts will also be developed by the technology curriculum integration specialist.
As an educator with vast experience in technology use, I constantly wonder if how we are teaching our students at the district pace is beneficial to students whose mind is moving at light speed. One question comes to mind, “If modern instruction has the power behind it to lead the 20th century child to continue the pursuit of what world has to offer?” The student has the responsibility to seek their full positive potential. The educator has the responsibility of leading students to discover the path of responsibility for them.