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How to spur more technology use in the classroom

Education leaders suggest ways for others to integrate educational technology into the curriculum

How to spur more technology use in the classroom

Panelists said school should hire technology integration specialists to help personalize technology use for each teacher.

Superintendents and educational technology directors discussed how to ensure that technology is integrated into the curriculum during a Dec. 7 webinar sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking.

The webinar, entitled “Bridging the Chasm Between Curriculum & Technology,” featured a panel of four superintendents and educational technology directors from across the country who shed light on what adding more technology in the classroom has done for their students.

“We use technology as a tool to enhance student learning and really enhance students’ engagement in the content,” said Suzanne Freeman, superintendent of Trussville City Schools in Trussville, Ala. “We know that technology really entices  children.”

Freeman encouraged other districts to hire a technology integration specialist to optimize the use of technology in the classroom and help tailor it to the teachers’ individual needs. She also said that districts should use a wide variety of technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and wikis, and that superintendents should be able to model these for their staff.

“What we are really seeing right now is a true paradigm shift,” said Sean McDonough, director of information technology for the Harrisburg City School District in Pennsylvania. “In some ways, we have a whole new way of thinking about how we’re truly using technology in today’s world because of the omnipresence that technology gives us.”

McDonough said superintendents and other district leaders need to make sure that educational technology directors are included in the curriculum planning process.

“Curriculum leaders need to know more about the technological systems that [can help lead to] effective instruction,” McDonough said.

Brian Nichols, executive director of elementary school leadership in Newport News, Va., encouraged schools to push out of their comfort zone.

“We’re not afraid to fail, we’re not afraid to take risks, but we want to do it on a smaller scale,” said Nichols. He testified that pilot programs that can be developed and then scaled up are extremely effective for schools looking to add to their use of technology in the classroom.

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Comments:

  1. bcbailey64

    December 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Still not enough! There needs to be an explicit policy regarding teacher pro-d around tech implementation. Both Admin and Teachers have responsibilities in this regard and in general need to be doing a much better job. Teachers need to be strongly supported by admin to get the training they need. This means subs for training days, etc. They also need to be required to take responsibility to continually learn (sad but true) about implementing tech in the classroom and this needs to be a professional requirement for their continued certification as teachers. Right now, it’s hit and miss regarding effective tech implementation in classrooms, mostly miss (sorry, just being honest).

  2. bcbailey64

    December 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Still not enough! There needs to be an explicit policy regarding teacher pro-d around tech implementation. Both Admin and Teachers have responsibilities in this regard and in general need to be doing a much better job. Teachers need to be strongly supported by admin to get the training they need. This means subs for training days, etc. They also need to be required to take responsibility to continually learn (sad but true) about implementing tech in the classroom and this needs to be a professional requirement for their continued certification as teachers. Right now, it’s hit and miss regarding effective tech implementation in classrooms, mostly miss (sorry, just being honest).

  3. MossGlen

    December 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    When technology become a normal part of the teacher’s life it will slide into the classroom. Until then it is a battle. The teacher that is comfortable with music and singing often adds that to their classroom. Another teacher may have another passion and that tends to show in the classroom because it is a normal part of their life.

    First help the teachers find away to use the technology in their own life like the teacher with grandchildren who discovers Skype to visit with family or the quilter who learns new tools and make new friends on the internet. It goes on and on. I spent time working with many of the teachers that were not into their computers and did the very little bit required. I didn’t spend time teaching them tools but helped them find what they could use the computer for for themselves. They found a reason to open that laptop at home at night. The more they learned the more they had questions and wonder if they could do other things.

    I also gave them my cell phone number so they could get help anytime. Other support staff thought I was crazy. I got a few calls at odd times but not many. I wanted to be able to answer a question when they needed it. Often they were what I called the pebbles in the road that looked like boulder at that moment. A tiny bit of help and they were on their way.

    I showed them tools where they could get help and helped them learn to use the tools. So often the help is no help because they don’t know how to really use it. I got laid off in budget cuts (the instructional technology department got cut and anyone not certified got laid off) and politics but I still take calls for teachers and staff.

  4. MossGlen

    December 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    When technology become a normal part of the teacher’s life it will slide into the classroom. Until then it is a battle. The teacher that is comfortable with music and singing often adds that to their classroom. Another teacher may have another passion and that tends to show in the classroom because it is a normal part of their life.

    First help the teachers find away to use the technology in their own life like the teacher with grandchildren who discovers Skype to visit with family or the quilter who learns new tools and make new friends on the internet. It goes on and on. I spent time working with many of the teachers that were not into their computers and did the very little bit required. I didn’t spend time teaching them tools but helped them find what they could use the computer for for themselves. They found a reason to open that laptop at home at night. The more they learned the more they had questions and wonder if they could do other things.

    I also gave them my cell phone number so they could get help anytime. Other support staff thought I was crazy. I got a few calls at odd times but not many. I wanted to be able to answer a question when they needed it. Often they were what I called the pebbles in the road that looked like boulder at that moment. A tiny bit of help and they were on their way.

    I showed them tools where they could get help and helped them learn to use the tools. So often the help is no help because they don’t know how to really use it. I got laid off in budget cuts (the instructional technology department got cut and anyone not certified got laid off) and politics but I still take calls for teachers and staff.

  5. smcdonough8

    December 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for the article about the webinar. I enjoyed participating in the webinar and learned a lot from the other participants. Just a note, I represent the Harrisburg City School District in Harrisburg, PA and not in Harrisonburg, VA.

  6. smcdonough8

    December 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for the article about the webinar. I enjoyed participating in the webinar and learned a lot from the other participants. Just a note, I represent the Harrisburg City School District in Harrisburg, PA and not in Harrisonburg, VA.

  7. johnnykissko

    December 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Great article. I think one hurdle we’re running into is embracing new norms in our schools and understandably letting go of some of the “Old Norms” (http://www.k12mobilelearning.com/?p=1476) .

    It’s definitely an exciting time to witness the enhancements that technology is delivering to education. However, education has a bureaucratic foundation, which isn’t always conducive towards adopting quickly-changing tech. We need to find a way to effectively and efficiently evaluate new tech so that we can leverage its benefits in our schools. That starts with asking ourselves key questions prior to adopting any technology (http://www.k12mobilelearning.com/?p=1157), not just mobile technology as the aforementioned article’s title describes.

  8. johnnykissko

    December 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Great article. I think one hurdle we’re running into is embracing new norms in our schools and understandably letting go of some of the “Old Norms” (http://www.k12mobilelearning.com/?p=1476) .

    It’s definitely an exciting time to witness the enhancements that technology is delivering to education. However, education has a bureaucratic foundation, which isn’t always conducive towards adopting quickly-changing tech. We need to find a way to effectively and efficiently evaluate new tech so that we can leverage its benefits in our schools. That starts with asking ourselves key questions prior to adopting any technology (http://www.k12mobilelearning.com/?p=1157), not just mobile technology as the aforementioned article’s title describes.

  9. marvhogue

    December 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Technology is a just a tool that you must master. Its rote learning. Its an instrument through which your own intelligence and passion you can make amazing products but you have to have that intellectual curiosity and interest no matter what tool you use. And I believe teachers are there to help children find those interests and fan the flames of intellectual curiosity using whatever tools are available.
    As a technologist by trade, I firmly believe that we must teach our students how to master the tools of technology. I firmly do not believe that mastering technology teaches children anything other than how to work a machine – it does not really help them unlock their interest and passion and help combine them with their mastery of the tools to produce amazing output.

  10. marvhogue

    December 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Technology is a just a tool that you must master. Its rote learning. Its an instrument through which your own intelligence and passion you can make amazing products but you have to have that intellectual curiosity and interest no matter what tool you use. And I believe teachers are there to help children find those interests and fan the flames of intellectual curiosity using whatever tools are available.
    As a technologist by trade, I firmly believe that we must teach our students how to master the tools of technology. I firmly do not believe that mastering technology teaches children anything other than how to work a machine – it does not really help them unlock their interest and passion and help combine them with their mastery of the tools to produce amazing output.

  11. aeringuy

    December 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Author Karen Hume has recently written about technology use for teacher AND student engagement – really great thinking here: http://www.karenhume.ca

  12. aeringuy

    December 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Author Karen Hume has recently written about technology use for teacher AND student engagement – really great thinking here: http://www.karenhume.ca

  13. spellett1

    December 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Schools are bureaucratic which means they move at the speed of a tortoise with a broken leg! Technology is moving so fast that we get significant change every year. Here lies the crux of the problem. We to adapt to technologies faster. I’ve just recently started using Enterthegroup.com to manage my projects and classrooms.

  14. spellett1

    December 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Schools are bureaucratic which means they move at the speed of a tortoise with a broken leg! Technology is moving so fast that we get significant change every year. Here lies the crux of the problem. We to adapt to technologies faster. I’ve just recently started using Enterthegroup.com to manage my projects and classrooms.

  15. spellett1

    December 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Schools are bureaucratic which means they move at the speed of a tortoise with a broken leg! Technology is moving so fast that we get significant change every year. Here lies the crux of the problem. We to adapt to technologies faster. I’ve just recently started using http://Enterthegroup.com to manage my projects and classrooms.

  16. spellett1

    December 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Schools are bureaucratic which means they move at the speed of a tortoise with a broken leg! Technology is moving so fast that we get significant change every year. Here lies the crux of the problem. We to adapt to technologies faster. I’ve just recently started using http://Enterthegroup.com to manage my projects and classrooms.