Technology in Education

"Technology is not the devil, nor is it the panacea you've been waiting for. It's a tool. Just like a pencil. Figure out what it's good for and leverage that to your advantage. Realize that there are interface problems and figure out how to work around them to meet your goals. Tools do not define pedagogy, but pedagogy can leverage tools. The first step is understanding what the technology is about, when and where it is useful, and how it can and will be manipulated by users for their own desires." - danah boyd

Presentation Notes

  • Developing Fluency and Reflection Online - This workshop will consider ways that asynchronous and collaborative writing online can be used to encourage more fluent and reflective writers. We'll look specifically at forums, blogs, and wikis, discuss theories about their place in the curriculum, and consider specific tools, methods of implementation, and evaluation.
  • Research 2.0 - (NVWP) notes and resources for using emerging online technologies to improve the research process
  • Working with Blackboard - an overview of important points about using forums, blogs, and wikis in Blackboard specifically
  • One-Day Tech Workshop - (NVWP) an overview of current issues, applications, and resources as they relate to education generally and the teaching of writing specifically
  • Tech4TCs - (NVWP) a series of five workshops for NVWP Teacher Consultants that explores a variety of emerging online technologies, focusing primarily on how these tools can help develop student writing

Writing & Technology: Starting Principles

  • Technology is inevitable, and though schools typically function as conservative institutions, they do a disservice to students by denying or ignoring emerging technologies. Instead, schools should focus on teaching safe and effective use of the technology.
    • Concerns for safety must include awareness of general safety, school and local/state/federal policies, and related issues, such as online etiquette and copyright laws.
    • Concerns for effective instruction necessitates that instructors have an understanding of the technology through personal use and research, recognize that new technologies do not merely replace old technologies and methods but provide new opportunities, remember that technology should not be a solution in search of a problem, and learn to use the right tool for the right purpose.
  • The "digital natives" idea is, at best, only partially true: students are comfortable with emerging technologies, but not always aware of how to use these technologies safely, ethically, or effectively.
  • This site focuses on social online technologies, namely asynchronous writing tools (forums and blogs), collaborative writing tools (wikis and social writing tools), and onlineresearch.
  • The primary advantages that social online technologies provide are audience and ownership. The more instructors can capitalize on these, the more effective these technologies will be.

Educational Reform Notes

Constantly-evolving notes about effective educational reform principles.
  • Purpose of Education (arts, humanities, and sciences; health; living skills; the emphasis should always be on the intersection of these disciplines and their application to real-world activities; informed, connected and active members of their community (i.e., citizenship or "civics"))
  • Importance of Community (parents, guests, etc.; just as teachers should supplement the curriculum with a variety of resources, the teachers should be supplemented with a variety of guest speakers and artists. Any successful education program must work with the community and parents. Schools must educate not only the children, but the parents of those children and the public and private groups that impact and have an interest in those children. Without this, education happens in a vacuum and has no foundation for building success. This does make the "job" of the school much larger than is commonly conceived, and requires that the school system work more closely with, and have greater support from, the public and private groups that operate in the community.)
  • Teacher Training & Expectations (see "Pygmalion Effect")
  • Student Assessment
  • Teacher/School Assessment
  • Teacher Schedules
  • Teacher Compensation
  • Student Schedules
  • Affective Domain (the physical learning environment; the buildings and rooms should be as comfortable as possible, with natural light, adequate and comfortable seating, work areas appropriate for the required tasks, fresh air when the weather permits, and "green" (see "Hawthorne Effect"))
  • Class Size
  • School Size (the school itself should either be small or should contain various "school within a school" communities that allow the staff (of the school or of the smaller community) to know every student)
  • Project-Based Learning (i.e., a relevant curriculum; as much as possible, all work should be in pursuit of projects that have implications beyond the classroom or the school)
  • Discipline & Safety (see Foucault; academic discipline results in tutoring; behavioral discipline results in service after school to clean or repair the school grounds;)
  • Funding
  • Grades & Classes (Students do not complete "grades," they complete courses, similar to the college system. Some courses are required. The rest are determined by student interest. There is no age or "grade level" associated with any course, so a given course may have a wide range of ages. Admission to each course is predicated on: any pre-requisites for the course, student interest, and demonstrated student aptitude. Grades should be based on the median score or "best representation of their work," not the average. Missed work = work that students must make up (not get "0" on). But that means the work must be worthwhile and worth making up ... not just busy work. [link])
  • The Arts in Education