Saturday, October 16, 2004

Response to "Reasons for Bringing Technology into Schools"

At this point, with technology being present in schools for more than a decade, I would not expect anyone to be asking why technology is brought into schools. Rather, I expect this question: "What are you doing with the technology and how has it impacted student achievement?" I agree with all of the reasons listed in this article for bringing technology into schools. I believe that technology use does support thinking processes, motivates, promotes equity and helps prepare students for the future. The article states that technology has the potential to support changing the way schools are structured. While I believe that is true, I also believe that change will occur not because of the technology but because how the people (teachers and administrators) embrace the technology.

After reading this part of the report, I decided to venture on and read more about the project for which the report was written. I found the overview of the project intriguing. While not stopping at the reasons for bringing technology into schools, the overview speaks largely to the role of technology in education reform. "If our goal is really to provide students with a different kind of education - structured around the provision of challenging tasks that can prepare them for a technology-laden world - the most relevant uses of technology are as tools and communications channels."(Overview of Technology and Education Reform)

This affirmed my belief that technology itself doesn't create change even though change can result from the wise use of technology. I have often felt that technology integration is more about good teaching than it is about the actual technology.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

"Computers Make Kids Smarter- Right?" by Heather Kirkpatrick and Larry Cuban

The notion that someone would think computers in and of themselves could make kids smarter is very interesting to me. I personally think that you could put all of the latest and greatest of tools in a teacher's classroom and their kids not perform any better than a class that has considerably fewer tools. You see, it is all in how a teacher uses the tools for the purpose of teaching and learning. Likewise, what students bring with them everyday to their classes also has a great impact on how well they achieve. Everyday our students bring with them a suitcase full of opportunities, problems and issues that don't even have anything to do with the teacher or the class. However, that suitcase has everything to do with a student's readiness for learning. I wasn't surprised by the conclusion of the article that research was basically unable to prove the impact of computers on the achievement of students. What I'd like to know is what impact teachers who utilize technology as one of many tools for learning are having on the achievement of their students. Now that would be a research study!