Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What should all teachers know about instructional technology?

I'm making an exciting next step in my career!

Beginning next month I'll be the Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology and Coordinator of Instructional Technology/Distance Education at Huston-Tillotson University.

Of course I've got my own ideas about what all pre-service teachers should be exposed-to/know when it comes to instructional technology, but I'd like to hear your ideas.

Please share your thoughts about both content and approach for preparing pre-service K-12 teachers to be effective advocates and users of instructional technology now and in the future.

My goal is to develop an IT course that HTU can point to with pride. I'd like your help.


Austintatious Grrl said...

Because we can now easily look up anything we need to know, one of the most important technical skills a citizen needs these days is how to locate information that's accurate, true, dependable, appropriate -- and isn't just the first hit at the top of the google results page.

Being able to evaluate sources to tell the difference between someone's opinion and the results of scientific research, between truth and a hoax, these techniques seem to me to be an essential skill we all require. Evaluating sources seems an important fundamental to all information seeking.

So that's my suggestion today, that all teachers should know how to evaluate their online sources. Plus, I'll go a step further and suggest they all need to intentionally teach the importance of these skills to their students.

But wait, there's more. It isn't enough to know how to search for reliable sources TODAY. We have to be ready to learn the necessary new methods of evaluating sources as the technology changes day-to-day.

The times, they have been a'changing all along, but they're picking up speed at a thrilling rate the last few years. Being open to the task and seeking how to learn and re-learn how to find information is a subject I think we all need to know.

Almansi said...

Hi, Ray,

Here are a few suggestions:

Stress the features all - or almost all - IT resources, whether desktop or online, have in common.

Encourage team exploration of new resources, and development of assessment criteria pertinent to their teaching activity.

In particular help them discover:
- how tech accessibility rules are actually a plus for all learners. e.g. captioning a video with their students will help the students grasp and review its content, adding sensate alternate descriptions to pictures fosters reflection on the meaning of each picture and on the motivation for inserting it, etc.;
- why free / opensource, or at least open standard, tech, is a safer bet than the equivalent proprietary solutions.

All for now. If I think of anything else, I'll be back ;-)

Best wishes for your new course.


House on Bob's Street said...

I think you start with the suggestions of "Austintatious" above only since you need to teach your students how to evaluate information then you need to have those skills. I like to call it information literacy. But I think it goes much further. I tell my students that we must meet our students where they are. So our students are using smart phones, using apps, using twitter, communicating and sharing on FB, etc. In many ways, ISTE got it right when they wrote the student standards for technology, communication, collaboration, demonstrate creativity and innovation, and research. So teachers need to get technology into the hands of their students to innovate, collaborate, create, etc. Research already shows us that technology used in this way results in changes to achievement. In some places, you will still see teacher-centric technologies which do absolutely nothing for learning. The key is to help teachers understand why they need to alter instructional practices in order to effectively integrate technology. So if we have an information literate learner, who is using web 2.0 tools, to create products or projects that represent their understanding of the content, a teacher should be able to spot misconceptions and guide students in the right direction. It's pedagogy that makes student thinking visible. Once visible, its available for feedback and redirection if necessary. Student understanding becomes much deeper, much more flexible to use in similar situations, it's real world problem solving and above all else it engages and motivates when done correctly. It's not easy in a one size fits all, testing environment. But what it does, is that it begins to harness technology to extend the classroom, extend learning, and to customize learning. These are the things that need to be happening in teacher education when working with potential teachers as well as practicing teachers. I'll even extend these ideas and say that everyone in a school's leadership needs to understand the pedagogy. That's far from the case right now, in fact, instead of instructional leaders, we have created managers. Administrators manage teachers, bus schedules, budgets, parents, etc. but they no longer understand pedagogy and they understand technology even less. They buy teacher centric technology because it makes them and the district look good when in truth, its wasted. The technology does nothing for teaching and learning, little training if any is provided and the technology is quickly obsolete. More attention needs to be focused on administrator learning when it comes to teaching, learning, assessment and technology integration. Otherwise, how can you call yourself a school leader?

Lindsey said...

Hey Ray,

Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn't find any other way to reach you through the blog, and I wanted to ask about the possibility of a guest post. Please e-mail me when you get a chance!



Beth Holland said...

Definitely review Advanced Search Techniques and the ability to evaluate resources. However, I would also address:

1. Frameworks for identifying how to effectively integrate technology into curriculum - UDL, TFU, CRCD. Something so that teachers understand how to start with learning goals and then find tools to address them.

2. Web Literacy - when to use a blog vs. a wiki vs a Google Doc and what it implies.

3. Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons - teachers need to be able to model correctly and many don't understand the legality.

4. Building a PLN - how to find great resources, organize them, and then stay up to date.

Hope this helps!

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Ray Rose said...

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