30 Replies Latest reply on Jan 18, 2014 9:30 PM by glen_w

    If a teacher is successful

    staceylazarus

      From December's Taming and Training of the Technophobe, a new thought came up. If a teacher doesn't use technology in the classroom, but is successful as far as students passing the course, is the teacher a good teacher or not? Are we "teaching to the test", or "teaching the curriculum" or "preparing for the future" or "preparing students to be productive" or...

       

      Is it necessary to have technology in the classroom either as a presentation, assessment or other type of tool?

       

      "If a teacher is successful with promoting their students with 85-100% mastery level, should they change their style to include modern 21st century skills? If so, which ones? if not, why? Thoughts?

        • Re: If a teacher is successful
          Bonnie Feather

          WOW! This is a great question! Since it is here on Engage, I feel that it is a given assumption that we will say "Yes- every good teacher should be including technology instruction and 21st Century Skills."

           

          But after working inside the system of education in the US for so many years, I have to say that much of the national leadership seems not to care whether or not technology is included as a teaching or learning tool. This question points out deftly that currently our system seems to be firmly centered on the body of knowledge teachers are being required to transfer to their students. Students are required to be able to show mastery of a large body of knowledge in certain subjects.

           

          I hope the emphasis will change when we see the actual testing which comes along with the Common Core. Are there educators out there who are following the development of the tests? Although it will be given online in many districts, are you aware of the need for technology as a learning tool in order to do well on the tests? Are you seeing an emphasis and training on how to model, teach, and assess development of 21st Century Skills in your area?

           

          I can't wait to hear more chime in on this question! What do you think?

           

          ~Bonnie

            • Re: If a teacher is successful
              glen_w

              Bonnie,

               

              From experience, I agree that some teachers focus on the "memorization" vs. deeper understanding. I can't say I like nor agree with that philosophy. I've been able to participate in reviewing the new format our Science tests will take this year. (Due to NDA, I cannot share details.) In a nutshell, it will be 100% computer based and requires deeper thinking. IMHO the questions are significantly higher on Blooms Taxonomy than previous tests. I was at a training meeting where we were instructed that math and English tests will use similar questions to the science I have seen. Students who "game tests" by being good at memorization will struggle when they are required to demonstrate a skill instead of just naming the skill from a definition.

               

              In my opinion, teachers will best prepare students for these tests by helping them use technology on a regular basis. These experiences need to be more than using a search engine when preparing a report. The learning also needs to include use of more than an Office Suite product when producing written work.

               

              How many teachers are you aware of that consistently provide technology opportunities for students?

                • Re: If a teacher is successful
                  Bonnie Feather

                  Glen,

                  I did pretty much evade the original question! In answer to yours, I am sorry to say that I do not know very many teachers (as a percentage) who consistently provide technology opportunities for their students, other than the often heard "Students will use the Internet to search for information on their topic."

                   

                  I am glad to say that I know some excellent teachers who do not fit this description, though, and I use them as models for those who want to learn more.

                   

                  ~Bonnie

                    • Re: If a teacher is successful
                      glen_w

                      Bonnie,

                       

                      Sometimes good discussions occur as "side comments" are made and replied to. I've also noted the common technology work by teachers is to do Internet research. Please continue to allow excellent models to set the example for peers. Please also share experiences of these models with our community so we can learn and grow together.

                      • Re: If a teacher is successful

                        Hi Bonnie,

                          i believe that researching on the internet for assignments is helpful, as it is the next step for learning how to research at the library on the computer. it is marvelous to have this without leaving our own home.  it is necessary to learn as long as they are not copying assignment answers from answers on blogs, to score perfectly on a test.  two kids who are advanced enough in reading comprehension can study, and quiz each other and study for a test.  in many cases children have similar tests and can learn from their classmates what to expect on their test. This is okay as each teacher has his or her own style of test, whether hand made or retrieved from school standard testing. each test can be altered for continued comprehension of the material.  As a part traditionalist and modernist, i have to say that i do believe in utilizing instruction of web 2.0devices as long as it does not interfere with school lessons which require deep learning and focus.  The levels of Blooms Taxonomy could always be a useful model for instructional design programs.  it is interesting to note how others enjoy modeling after his personal style.  i have always admired his methods and the development and changes to the addie principles. 

                      • Re: If a teacher is successful

                        hi Glen,

                          i agree, memorization offers very little in the way of real deep learning.  comprehension,concentration, and learning is a process that memorization like memorizing mathematic flashcards, does very little to enhance 

                        For each learner there is a process which they must go through, according to their own stage or level of growth.  From there instructors, assisstants, and guides can provide needed assistance whenever necessary.  Still it is a process that teachers and instructors must review with flexible intervention evaluations and methods.  each leaner learns according to their own ability.  ethnic culture, class, and home environment, are a part of this group as well. By the way, Thank you for your response to my email, i enjoy collaborating on these very complex topics

                    • Re: If a teacher is successful
                      glen_w

                      Stacey,

                       

                      I might know one or more teachers who are considered successful and appreciated by parents, students, and administrators. These same educators are technophobes when it comes to allowing their students to use technology in the classroom (or to use with homework.) For some of these "experienced" teachers technology in the classroom means turning on the overhead projector. (Yes, I still see these being used!)

                       

                      IMHO, there is a need for a teacher to use and allow students to use technology to further education. I see the opportunity to help move this concept forward based on our new "state evaluation." One part of the evaluation includes the need for a teacher to extent learning using technology, media, and local, and global resources. I guess this could be accomplished using a newspaper, but I'm not confident about it.

                       

                      What 21st Century technology skill do you consider most important for a teacher to use (if he/she has used none previously?)

                        • Re: If a teacher is successful
                          staceylazarus

                          Glen,

                           

                          It is hard to "start at the beginning" when everyone has their own agenda when it comes to teaching and technology. I personally start at getting information (finding resources to use), storing information (how easy can I retrieve it) and sharing it (through networking or example/presentation)

                           

                          As educators we are asking students to acquire a tremendous amount of information. Finding it is important. It is the research others have mentioned. However, maintaining ease of access to it is also important. We have this month's Technophobe thread dealing with this very question.

                           

                          Which I guess brings me to the important section of the items I mentioned.... example/presentation. Teachers need to be able to demonstrate what it is, and explain why they decided to use that media. In the ELA thread, I thought initially of Common Core (who doesn't these days) and didn't look through my bookmarks tagged collaboration! So my presentation wasn't stellar! Jonathan posted about Voicethread...which is a favorite of mine, but I haven't used it recently tending to favor LinoIt and Padlet instead.

                           

                          So, maybe it isn't just using technology, it is making it an important aspect of your teaching and life. Present information not only as information, but in a unique and memorable way!

                            • Re: If a teacher is successful
                              glen_w

                              Stacey, I think you bring in a valid discussion point. In my opinion, technology should NOT be used as a "gimmick", "filler", or "wow element." Technology should be an embedded part of each lesson. It does not matter if the students or teachers are using the technology - just that it is a tool. If not using technology is an "easier" or "faster" way - perhaps technology should not be used. On the other hand ... if technology makes it easier to do a task, then it should be used. A recent example from my classroom. Students were calculating percentages and only three had a calculator with them. It would have been possible to solve this using long hand division. Several students, however, asked "May I use my phone's calculator?" My response was a definitive "YES!"

                               

                              Do you see a case where technology should not be used to even if it makes life easier for either the student or teacher?

                                • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                  staceylazarus

                                  "where technology should not be used".....is an interesting comment. I will answer that with..."when you lose the ability to perform basic life skills"

                                   

                                  I have seen too many people not know how to determine what savings they are getting because they do not understand percents. At a major clothing store I "earned" and extra 20% off of an item that already had a 30% off tag. When I disagreed with the clerk about the 50% off was wrong, the manager came over... and agreed with the clerk!  (30% off of a $100 item leaves $70. 20% off of $70 is $14, leaving a final price of $54.) Don't get me started on how many hot dog roll packages you need to eat all of the hot dogs with nothing left over!

                                   

                                  The ability to "see" what makes up a number makes it easier to perform complicated tasks. For those numberphobes, it is similar to understanding one word in order to read a book.

                                   

                                  Another example that comes to mind is what a friend of mine does... teaches celestial navigation.What is neat about this is that the math is already done, you need to be precise in measuring and knowing the steps to follow. When would you need this skill... when power and technology has failed on the ship! If you do not know how to do something without technology, you shouldn't use it!

                                   

                                  I know..... me and cars.... turn the key and it works. Does this mean I shouldn't drive? The above examples deal with math. Can you think of other examples where knowing the basics without technology makes using technology easier?

                                   

                                  Stacey (cursive is not readable, so I print)

                                    • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                      glen_w

                                      Stacey, I understand your explanation of the percentage story. I can play the piano (as in the boring device that has been used for generations.) While playing Chopin, should I be concerned that I am not using an "electronic keyboard?" I'm wondering if I need to switch from the 88 keys I am familiar with (that requires regular tuning) and begin using an electronic keyboard. It is technology after all...

                              • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                mcsweej

                                My thoughts on this come from a friend of mine who has taught a couple of classes in the psych department at the University of Oregon. His take on it is this - it is the 2010's - if you are computer illiterate, you are illiterate. Great teachers have had to mold with the times on plenty of issues and pedagogical transitions, I remember switching from a chalk board and opaque projector to a whiteboard and eventually a smartboard. Now I only teach online. All this being said, I do not feel like we should force all teachers to shove tech down students throats, but all teachers should be open to it and allow students to use it where applicable. Flexibility is the key I think.

                                  • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                    glen_w

                                    Jonathan,

                                     

                                    This thought resonated with me: "... all teachers should be open to it and allow students to use it where applicable. Flexibility is the key I think." I agree that no teacher should "force students to use technology."

                                     

                                    My theory is that good teachers teach students while great teachers allow students to learn.

                                     

                                    Do you think today's teachers should pass a "technology exam?" I'm not promoting an exam on a teachers knowledge on how to teach technology, but questions about how students might use technology to show learning.

                                      • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                        mcsweej

                                        I think there should be technology component of the praxis. All teachers are required to understand language and basic math regardless of the content they intend to teach. Technology should be a part of continuing education, just as reading in the content area and classroom management, but I agree that there should not be a drive for all teachers to teach tech skills.

                                          • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                            glen_w

                                            Jonathan, I'd vote multiple times for a technology component on the Praxis. I'm amazed at the number of newer teachers who struggle to use technology effectively. When I speak with them, they have experience with Facebook, Texting, Google, and Word Processing. I've been surprised to be asked to help them create their "first PowerPoint." (Warning staceylazarus might increase his heart rate knowing they are going to use PowerPoint.)

                                             

                                            What aspects of technology would you like to see asked of teachers?

                                              • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                                staceylazarus

                                                Glen,

                                                 

                                                Technology is good, even PowerPoint, but that is assuming technology is available. I recently taught an iPad Presentation class for teachers and was surprised to learn that many had never done a PowerPoint. Why? They did not have computers in the elementary classroom. They were moving directly to iPads!

                                                 

                                                If the technology knowledgeable teacher knows PowerPoint and finds themselves in a tech-free zone, they can modify the learning tool... create flip charts, use file cards for each fact...

                                                 

                                                This now raises some new questions ... do we learn technology to increase methods we teach or do we learn how to vary the methods we use, whether technology is involved or not? Is the answer to this question something that should be addressed prior to teacher certification or during PD through the years?

                                                 

                                                Stacey

                                            • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                              staceylazarus

                                              Teachers should have a knowledge of what technology can do and be willing to let their students try it.

                                               

                                              I think back many years when I taught remedial math to 7th graders. They were at a 3rd and 4th grade level. In NY State, the teaching certificate states I can teach Math for grades 7-12. Did this certification make me qualified to teach a 7th grader on a 3rd grade level?

                                               

                                              With the wide spread of inclusion and differentiated instruction, it is important for teachers to know what is out there and be willing (you said flexible) to learn.

                                               

                                              Stacey

                                          • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                            dentilatafa@hotmail.com

                                            I think, the technology is going to be used by teacher to prepare their students for the future! Is not a good teacher that teacher that dont use technology, but in the same awya that other teacher that try to do something only for a good apparence in the classroom, and dont realize to involve students, and make students give the solutions throw technology, or benefit from technology at all!!

                                            • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                              glen_w

                                              Jonathan and Dentila make a very good point. Technology needs to be used (by students and teachers) as a tool. It should never be a gimmick. Appropriate use of technology in the classroom should appear "seamless" and "just part of the lesson." An example I observed this week ... students were averaging a lot of data. Many students pulled out a cell phone and began using it as a calculator. This was not contrived by their teacher - students just knew the tool could be used appropriately for the assigned task.

                                               

                                              Perhaps we should compile some ideas of how we have seen technology used to engage and instruct students (that is not just a gimmick.) What do you think about that idea?

                                              • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                                intelnoemi

                                                technology in the classroom more streamlines teaching and learning, and encourages the student engages in activities to develop. For this reason it is said that the use of computers is one of the most important developments of siglo XXI

                                                  • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                                    glen_w

                                                    I agree that computer use has a greatly influenced learning. My students are more engaged and learn more quickly with computers than students did without computers years ago. What do you think it would take for every student in the world to have a computer or tablet to use for education?

                                                  • Re: If a teacher is successful

                                                    Instruction and training is important for lifestyle benefits and learning the essentials for life.  Information technology and current methods of computer applications are secondary.  While researching case studies of children  in poverty conditions, schools must teach lifestyle skills especially when the are restricted with disabilites, and limited emotional and educational development within their home. In studies of children comparing affluent and poverty conditions within the home, analysis, collected data, artifacts, surveys and questionaires by outside state and local organizations and agencies have concluded that the problem surrounds the idea that children in underdevelopped homelife conditions suffer from attiqette attention from parents including proper nutition,health, medical, love, and nuturing comforts. Current administrators, superintendents and district directors need to utiluze and add intervention techniques within their programs to include the essentials of life learning skills, and hire professionals who can provide the type of education necessary for continued development.

                                                    • Re: If a teacher is successful

                                                      Hi Glen (in response to Glen's post within Stacy's post),

                                                        I seriously believe that advancement of computer technology applications and methods of using them including ipads, webpages, blogging, utilizing google docs, flip-pads, and cell phone texting, should only be applied when the student is able to utilize basic functions.  If a child is not ready because of conflicting reasons, lack of proper parenting, the ability to focus or concentrate on tasks or schoolwork, then the basics of learning how to read and write takes priority. Benchmarks state the low test scores taken  across the nation and educators are constantly analyzing and probing the problems with elementary and secondary student inability to read,comprehend, and write.  Technology aside.  Too many children cannot comprehend a sentence, and struggle with current e-learning methods which elementary school teachers are requiring that children must learn in order to move on to the next level.  A child needs time to learn what a story means including time to concentrate on learning how to read, what works for themselves, and more.  Too many young children are rushed into this process.  I say that if achild is ready to learn computer applications and improve reading and writing skills in addition, then learning advanced methods of information technology is useful.  Both of my children learn in distant learning asynchronous/synchronous learning environments for five years.  In the beginning, my children struggled with frame to frame applications.  I spent time with them to learn these applications which took some time for them to learn.  If a student enters online learning the parent must be educated enough, and offer much support, guidance, and attention to questions and needs.  Most families do not have the time, and do not wish to help educate their own children.  They would rather leave it up to outside educators as teaching our own children has its challenges including in the young years learning that mom or dad is also my teacher. If a parent wishes to teach their children the must be patient enough to allow their children to learn the shift in role models.

                                                        • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                                          glen_w

                                                          Judy,

                                                           

                                                          I appreciate you reminding us that a child must learn to read and comprehend before being asked to read faster or use technology with reading in it. I have seen parents who get excited when their child uses technology to "plan games." IMHO a child who is comfortable playing games with technology is no better prepared to do online classwork than a teacher who is comfortable using FaceBook or Google is prepared to deliver an online class.

                                                           

                                                          How do you propose educating the parents so they are ready to assist their student whois using technology int he learning process?

                                                            • Re: If a teacher is successful

                                                              Hi Glen,

                                                                I would like to design an instructional training progam seminar to inform parents about the process and methods available that include all types of learners.  1.)Many learners are visual today because thy enjoy learning about a story by looking at illustrations, and animations-These types of videos are ideal for children who have difficulty with reading comprehension.  At the end of the video the child must complete the story with their own ending.  As a child, I can recall that this worked well because I could use my own imagination to bring an exciting ending to the story. 2.) For gifted children, access to reading advanced vocabulary, and classics such as Shakespeare, Elliot, Alcott, DH Lawrence, and the variety of  classic poetry by Robert Frost, Poe, and other more modern writers as well.  3.) In the early grades access to e-books in class have their advantages for gifted learners, and also, e-learning applications.  Beyond other applications and devices , blogging as a classroom activity, joining websites which find children interested in usually playing games on the internet, as a type of entertainment, is their joice of activity as opposed to focused and concentrated learning.  Children lose interest in the basics of learning for the sake of learning how to read, and why?, because their minds are not expected to stretch beyond their limits, and therefore, after gaming they are uninterested, tired, and bored about really learning how to sit down and concentrate, and read, and comprehend on a piece of literature.  4.) Lastly, is the fun which reading offers to children.  Assignments must have interest according to individual and group interests.  Games which utilize content of the thesis of the story can be just as fun without the use of computer gadgets, and here i am talking about children who suffer from reading comprehension.  Ice breakers for adults and children fit this catagory quite well. What i am saying is that a child needs to learn how to read material that is enjoyable but complicated enough to stretch their minds and imagination.  i like the idea of children drawing pictures to illustrate what the story is about.

                                                                   5.) Before i enter into my last phase of all types of learners, these learners fit a very unique position. These children are with special disabilities which require special education which includes many of the devices that other children do not need.  These children find that with specific physical disabilities they must rely on certain types of mechanical e-learning devices.  Along with medical needs, some of these are recommended for sight and/or hearing impaired.  e-mailing, voice activated iphones, and readable, and comprehensive web 2.0 devices make communication easier when the ability to discuss information is difficult.   Unique to the conditions of their own environment because they struggle in other areas that limit their ability to learn. 

                                                                   But for the majority of children concentrated and learning the basics of comprehension is beyond important, it is necessary for continued growth and development.  My thoughts about these devices are that at these devices are devices to learn, and have fun, when concentration on assignments, and completed assesments have been finished.   The balance of the two is very difficult to learn especially for young children and young adults. be it as it may, iphones, blogging, facebook and twitter have their place during free time, and inbetween focused and work related tasks.  i would never be without my facebook, linkedin, reading about other websites, and internet research.  But for each of us we must be ready and at the level of maturity and learning which will allow for applying these types of devices into our daily lives.

                                                                • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                                                  glen_w

                                                                  Judy, I like how well stated your explanation is. Sharing ideas for regular students, gifted students, and disabled students is wonderful. Let us all consider how we can use the right technology for the right development learning ability of students.

                                                                   

                                                                  Like you, I have many technology tools that I find I need on a regular basis. Despite that, I want to take time to enjoy life without being tied to my technology.

                                                                    • Re: If a teacher is successful

                                                                      The mixture of technology and traditional-modernism

                                                                              Hi Glen,

                                                                                 I have also noticed gifted children who learn both modern technology and tradition learning methods.  Once a child has understanding and can visualize reading material, the summaries on the internet can work as marvelous tools when writing an essay about a paper.  It can give them direction about the main point of the topic.  They can investigate other opinions written by a variety of writers, then chose the writer which matches their own thoughts and opinions.  This is great, because a student can compare a writer and make a critique at the same time.  It sure makes a difference when we can research information on the internet, opposed to the necessity of going to our local libraries providing our resource studies are reliable.  Thank-you for posting

                                                                        • Re: If a teacher is successful
                                                                          glen_w

                                                                          Judy, I am happy to participate in the discussion. I agree that there is great value in quickly finding information via the Internet. Another aspect of use of a local library vs. the Internet ... not all local libraries have the same resources for students to use in research. As you note, there is great power in being able to do a critique with research information. Have you found anything students need to do at a library that they are unable to do using Internet tools?