What do we mean when we say that teachers need to embrace technology in their classrooms? Should I write a grant to acquire Kindle e-book readers for each of my students? Is the best way to learn multiplication on an iPad app? Can a cell phone be a learning tool?
21st century educators are tasked with the challenge and the opportunity to create the best learning environment possible with an ever-changing inventory of devices and applications. Some of them are supplied by the school district. Others are smuggled into the classroom by always-connected students. How can flesh-and-blood teachers compete with online repositories of human knowledge and culture like YouTube? My answer is this: Teachers, once the “sage on a stage,” must become each student’s mentor and digital guide. We should not try to lock down the classroom from the distractions of the World Wide Web. We will fail. Our job is to establish a safe environment where students can construct their own knowledge and collaborate with others using the best tools the Internet has to offer (Jonassen, 1994).
Building a constructivist environment with educational technology demands thoughtful consideration of the tools you choose to utilize in your classroom. Analyze your educational problems and determine where technology is needed and appropriate (Kearsley, 1998). Tablet and computer applications can support the learning process with enrichment materials such as text, video, and audio (Pollara and Zhu, 2011). Adaptive technology can allow students with disabilities the option to access curriculum (Brett & Provenzo, 1995). Educational games provide an engaging way for students to practice skills and solve problems in any subject domain (Kearsley, 1998). Classroom management software seeks to solve problems of contacting parents, tracking grades, and generating reports.
There’s just too many tools to introduce in this very short paper. That is why I have included in my portfolio a link to my educational technology blog. On this website you will find a selection of links and writings that collect my thoughts on the effective use of technology in education. It is an evolving website, which resembles the state of the industry it seeks to track. I hope it provides some interest to you.
Brett, A. & Provenzo, E. (1995). Adaptive technology for special human needs. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Jonassen, D.H. (1994). Thinking Technology: Toward a Constructivist Design Model. Educational Technology, 34(4), 34-37. Retrieved July 10, 2018 from ttps://www.learntechlib.org/p/171050/.
Kearsley, G. (1998). Educational Technology: A Critique. Educational Technology, 38(2), 47-51. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/44428437
Pollara, P., & Zhu, J. (2011). “Social networking and education: Using facebook as an edusocial space.”, Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, pp. 3330-3338. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.