Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chapter 1 Reflections

In response to the first reflection from Chapter 1, I do not think teachers have to use an inquiry-based learning approach to use computers as a tool within their classrooms. There are different teaching styles and some may be more creative than others with their use of computers in the classroom. However the student- centered learning practices; inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, and project-based learning make it simpler for the teacher to integrate the use of computers into their lesson. Ultimately these approaches combined with the NTeQ (iNtegrating Technology for inQuiry) lesson plan model will be of great guidance for a teacher who is implementing the use of computers in his or her classroom.

Being an elementary art teacher, my lessons are mostly project-based. This chapter helped me to recognize the difference of

"When students use computers to
retrieve, evaluate, and manipulate real-world
information to solve a meaningful problem, they
not only increase their 21st-century skills, but
also gain a deeper understanding of core content.
on the other hand, when technology is used to
deliver instruction, 21st-century skills are not
required and the context is less authentic and
focused more on retention of facts or procedural
knowledge. (p.4)

A light bulb when off in my head after reading this passage. I am guilty of using my laptop and projector (we do not have SMART boards in the charter school where I work) to show the children examples of art but never thought of having them do a search to find a 21st century painter! I recently just finished an Op Art lesson with my fifth graders where they were to create their own optical illusion with the use of complementary colors. Next year, we will do our research on optical illusions via Internet and use a computer program to create the optical illusions.

Secondly, I do think teachers can use tutorials and drill-and-practice software to help deliver some of the material to their students. The drill-and-practice technique does enable the students to become more comfortable with using a computer. I think we assume most children have played on a computer but this is simply not true with such diverse populations in our society. After the delivery of some information through tutorials or other software, one can continue on and use a student-centered method to allow the students to then take control of their learning with the use of computers.

As for taking a great deal of time to develop these units of instruction, of course it will be time consuming but worth it. Revamping some lesson plans to give your students a more integrated way of learning with the use of technology in the classroom will be rewarding for both students and teachers. Currently, the elementary, middle school and high school educators of North Carolina are "unpacking' the essential standards within the Common Core curriculum, a brand new curriculum being implemented across the United States. Although this change surmounts to a lot of work for the teachers and staff within a school, it is a great opportunity to ensure quality education by examining the fine details of the essential standards and transforming them into student- friendly language. With the use of technology while implementing the new Common Core curriculum, we will be educating our youth for the 21st century.

Lastly, every student will not need a computer to gain the rewards of a student-centered learning approach. It is unreasonable to think that every child in every school would have access to a personal computer at all times. With the use of group work and centers, and/or a SMART board or a laptop and projector, a one computer classroom can reach all its students by using that computer as an essential tool in learning.

Morrison, G.R. & Lowther, D.L. (2010). Integrating Computer Technology into the Classroom: Skills for the 21st Century(4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

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