Monday, February 19, 2007

Pulling Together the Big Picture

It’s my nature to be able to develop a “big picture” in my mind of anything whether it be the concepts behind the curriculum work done in my district or planning for things at home.

And so, as I think about all the issues that I’ve read about through blogs (and other sources) during the past year, I have this “big picture” in my mind about what technology use in a classroom should look like. Sometimes, it’s just difficult to bring all the words together in such a way that I can explain it. But, I’m going to give it a shot starting right now – have to start pulling all of this together in my mind. It’ll help me to get it all written down then look back at it and reflect some more.

The issues… (well…some of them anyway!)
• how to leverage web 2.0 tools for instruction without just doing the same old stuff with new tools
• attention to pedagogy or the tools – which comes first
• changes that need to happen in the classroom to accommodate the kinds of tools we now have
• changes in our students – they have access to information anytime, anywhere but aren’t experiencing the freedom to use “their” tools in school
• preparing students for a future we can’t predict

OK…I’m definitely not a researcher nor do I even begin to imagine that I have the answers to any of these issues but I love wrestling with them anyway. What keeps coming up to me time and again are some of the things my school district has been working on and discussing over the past 4 years. I’ve done little in the way of “technology training” in that time – not like I had previous to this. What I have done is to spend a lot of time working with our curriculum consultant, talking with teachers about their frustrations, suggesting small ways to keep advancing their uses of technology in support of curriculum, and, more recently, being involved in data analysis to see what issues are coming up as a result of state testing. In addition, I’ve been reading anything I can get my hands on about brain research, instructional strategies, assessment, grading, and the kinds of changes going on in the world around us.

One thing doesn’t change though - The single most important influence on student learning is the teacher. From that, what flows naturally to me is that the teacher must have a good set of instructional strategies that he/she can readily apply and must understand how students learn and under what conditions they learn best. The pedagogy will always reign supreme no matter what the “tools” are and no matter how they change and evolve.

Next time…beginning to delve into Eric Jensen’s framework for planning with the brain in mind. Yes! We have the research and we have the tools!

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