2. What options do pre-service teachers have to achieve technology standards? How do they differ from options offered to in-service teachers?
As a result of the innovation of technology in society, it has become a fundamental tool that is being used by virtually every human being in all aspects of life. In recognition of these facts, standards have been adopted by educational associations, departments of education, school districts, and schools in order that all teachers have an acceptable working knowledge of technology and can utilize these tools in order to enhance the educational process of students. According to ISTE and NETS, these standards lay out those competencies regarded as essential skills for educators and most states have incorporated procedures for technology literacy within the certification and licensing requirements. As I see it, these standards provide the foundation for technology literacy for educators, administrators, parents and students alike.
Pre-service teachers may glean the opportunity to achieve technology standards by attending college and/or university programs that teach technology literacy as part of the educational programs. Because colleges and universities seek to gain NCATE recognition and approval of their educational programs, they have incorporated the standards into their framework for teacher education. These same colleges and universities have made technology available or required the use of technology (BYOD) through IT departments, computer labs, the utilization of eBooks, and coursework. For example, Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi offers an Introduction to Educational Technology for their education majors.
In-service teachers also have the opportunity to achieve technology standards, but their options sometimes differ in terms of how and when they are offered. In-service teachers can take courses similar to the courses that pre-service teachers take, and there are certifications available for some of those courses. For example, computer applications courses are available and can lead to a 111 certification that is an “add on” to an existing teacher license. The major differences for in-service teachers is that there are many more options available, and many times the school district and/or individual schools offer opportunities for professional development relative to technology. For example, the school at which I am employed offers Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) and many of these meetings focus on the use of technology in the classroom.
Other opportunities for teachers include the following:
• Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit offers an online course that leads to Certification of Online Learning (C.O.O.L.) certification that enables teachers to learn how to incorporate online tools in their classrooms.
• Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit also offers technology literacy, social media, and information technology professional development courses.
• Certiport is a private educational company that offers training and testing that leads to an Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3) providing foundational knowledge of the skills needed to be successful in the 21st Century.
3. My synthesized view of teaching, learning, and technology.
As a veteran teacher, I have learned much valuable information regarding the perspectives of teaching and learning. As I reflect on my early education and work experiences, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory comes to mind. Simply put, if we don’t address the basic needs of students in the early stages of life, then there are many influences and factors that inhibit learning and self-actualization. Students must feel safe within the learning environment as well as free to engage as an active participant within the educational process. Once the basics are established, then educators can move on to the evaluation of the characteristics of the learners, learning styles, intelligences, and how technology might be used to address the educational processes.
The wonderful thing about technology is that it can be used in all aspects of teaching and learning. The downside is that there are many teachers that really do not know how to utilize technology properly and they do not integrate it into the coursework so that it benefits students. I agree with the textbook authors when they state, “Technology is not so effective as an add-on to instruction. Instead, technology has maximum potential if it is considered to be a foundational instruction tool” (page 37). In my case, teaching and learning revolves around the use of technology. In other words, technology is an integral part of everything we learn and do in the classroom. Technology is used to assess cognitive styles by using online versions of Myers-Briggs; learning styles found on sites like Edutopia and HowToLearn; and intelligences tests such as Birmingham Grid for Learners. My students use technology to reinforce learning , foster critical thinking and creativity, communications, and to assess learning by using specific applications to complete graphic design activities, collaborate with others through SmartSync software, and completing assessments via Canvas. Other ways to reinforce learning in other subjects may require teachers to research specific websites that are subject-oriented. Examples might include using Learn360 or SoftSchools.
As I move forward in my career, it is my goal to provide opportunities for all teachers where they can learn new technologies allowing them to meet state and national standards as well as how to incorporate them as a useful, integral tool in their lesson planning and classroom activities. The challenge for all of us is staying abreast of new innovations in technology and how to best introduce teachers to the advantages of utilizing the technology to promote student engagement.
1. How can an instructional design model help you develop your instructional plan? Identify the steps of the DID model and briefly explain each.
The fact is…a good plan is a necessity for quality teaching and learning! An instructional design model provides the framework for the instructional plan. I like the Design-Plan-Act! (D-P-A) approach that the textbook mentions. It is imperative that teachers, or anyone for that matter, know where they are going and how they are going to get there, so to speak. One of the ways this is done is to use an instructional design model. This text provides a model called the Dynamic Instructional Design, or DID, model.
The first step in the model is Know the Learner. This refers to identifying and addresses the characteristics of the learners that are going to be in your classroom. The teacher should asses learning styles, cognitive styles and the intelligences that exist within the group. Additionally, the teacher should make note of cultural, language and special needs that may exist. Completing this step will provide the opportunity to address needs in a proactive manner instead of waiting until a problem occurs.
Step two is Standards-Aligned Performance Objectives. This step is based on the learning outcomes and how the students are going to be assessed. It basically describes what students are going to be able to do as a result of the lesson that is taught and how the teacher will know that the student has accomplished the goal(s). In order to successfully attain the step, teachers should focus on the path at student will take through the administration of activities, use of technology, questioning, and evaluation of knowledge and skills. Bloom’s taxonomy is a useful tool during this step. It is also important to remember that all of these components should align with required standards.
Step three is Identify Teaching and Learning Strategies. This step speaks to specific teaching strategies that will be used and the procedures that will be followed throughout the lesson. It is considered the largest component of the instructional design model and is based in pedagogical knowledge and standards. In other words, how will the teacher communicate the objectives and components of the lesson, what strategies will be used to foster student mastery, will technology be used and how, will the lesson include demonstrations, what formative and summative assessments will be used, and how will connections be made to other course content, other subject areas, and real life.
Step four is Select Support Technologies. During this step, it is important to remember that the “instruction drives the selection and integration of technology.” This means that a teacher selects technology based on how it will support student learning and engagement. This step is meant to provide focus on specific technologies and how it might best be used an learning enhancement in order to achieve the learning objectives.
Assess and Revise is listed as step five, and it is the last step in the model. This involves the evaluation and review of the plan from beginning to end, and how successful it was within the learning environment. It includes all of the formative and summative assessments, such as quizzes, worksheets, activities, self-assessments, etc. This step provides the teacher an opportunity to reflect on the details and methods used to meet objectives, what was successful and what was unsuccessful, and what to change in order to improve the lesson. This is also an opportunity to provide any remediation to ensure student mastery.
There are other instructional design models that exist, such as the ADDIE Model, Dick and Carey Model and Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. Which model a teacher uses may be up to them or may be required by the school or school district. Regardless, the most important thing to remember is an instructional design model provides an instrument that helps break down a lesson into manageable sections and helps the teacher focus on student success.