Vision Statement

Technology-infused education no longer passes as unique. It weaves through our daily lives in ways we never imagined and will impact on our educational systems and our students in ways we have yet to discover. Students with mobile devices have computing power at their fingertips equivalent to modern desktop computers of only a few years ago. Just as good educators constantly strive to reinvent methods for exciting students to learn, those same educators cannot ignore the connectivity these students have today.

Connected students have a wealth of information at their fingertips. The classroom of today is not four-walled. “Students’ learning increasingly takes place across various information technologies, external of traditional classrooms” (Dunaway, 2011, p. 675). The teacher becomes a guide and the student owns his or her singular quest for knowledge. Educators are not the sole conduit for information, and as such, must recognize that students still need a shepherd to guide them in their respective quests. Unconnected students will need a shepherd as well. They will need to connect on school-owned devices to insure they have the opportunity to explore the global opportunities not accessible in their own homes.

Educators must explore technologies and weave lessons that are technology-rich. Whether it is in the students’ quest for finding answers to driving questions affecting the world they inhabit or the teacher managing his/her classroom data, computers and devices make the job richer. Teachers should demonstrate restraint as new software and hardware emerges. Newer is not always better. As stated by Roblyer and Doerling (2013), “The past has shown that teachers must be careful, analytical consumers of technological innovation, looking to what has worked in the past to guide their decisions and measure their expectations in the present” (p.10).

Data from students becomes accessible instantaneously and can help the teacher design remedial and scaffolding instruction on one end and can help drive enrichment on the other. This power allows parental involvement and inclusion in the process. iNACOL identifies this area as a top Federal Policy issue. It demands that educators address and retrain how data is collected to insure it “includes multiple measures at multiple points in the year, including formative, embedded, performance-based and validating ‘summative’ assessments with testing windows through the year” (2013, p. 3). Stakeholders can then make informed decisions at all junctures rather than waiting for End Of Course results.

Professional development must be moved from lecturing teachers to educating them on how to use technology in their content area. “You may have the best computer, the most sophisticated curriculum software, and the fastest Internet connection…but if that teacher does not know how to use any of that, its not going to improve education” (Rivero, 1999, p. 54). The Harkness Table refined student-centered learning in boarding schools from the moment it was implemented. It is a proven method that still works today in all settings. Now, with Bring Your Own Device and/or class sets of iPads incorporated into the mix, we can impact education and move from one blackboard or whiteboard to lessons where all students hold the chalk.

References:

Dunaway, M. (2011). Connectivism: Learning theory and pedagogical practice for networked information landscape. Reference Services Review, 39(4), 675-684. Doi:10.1108/00907321111186686

International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). (2013). Fast facts about online learning. Retrieved from http://www.inacol.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/iNACOL_FastFacts_Feb2013.pdf

Rivero, V. (April, 1999). Top state edtech leaders talk about data-driven decision making. Coverage, 52-54.

Roblyer, M.D. and Doerling, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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