Saturday, March 29, 2008

Using Technology in Teaching is an Act of Declarative Knowledge

Over the past few years, we've been learning a lot in my district about procedural and declarative knowledge. Do a Google search for these terms and you'll find more information about them. Basically, procedural knowledge is a set of steps in a process. We learn the steps, we practice the steps, we apply them in new situations. In terms of technology training, my main role in my district, I've recognized for a long time that this is how we learn to use computers. We learn where to click and when to make certain things happen. And, once we know the steps about where to click to make certain things happen, we can apply that to other technology tools. But, I've also recognized that, to follow steps and to act as if the procedural knowledge is all we need, pretty much defeats the purpose of using technology as a learning tool.

Declarative knowledge, on the other hand, is facts, generalizations and principles. We need to process declarative knowledge. That's what I'm doing right now. I've been reading through several blog posts this afternoon and now, by writing this post, I'm processing the information that I've read. So, as we process declarative knowledge, we can do that in a number of ways. As mentioned, we can write about it. Blogs and other online tools that allow others to create conversations around what we're thinking about our learning are important in declarative knowledge. So, we gather the information, we process the information in a variety of ways and then we construct a new idea - think Bloom's taxonomy.

This is, I think, where professional development for technology needs to reside. We've spent lots of time and effort in teaching the steps. Now, we need to teach the concept of technology in the teaching and learning process. If educators have the declarative knowledge, the means to process that knowledge and apply a thinking skill so that they can begin to construct new ideas about the use of technology, then I think we will have moved forward in a positive direction.

This blog posting was influenced by several things that I've read this afternoon, some of which are linked below. While you, the reader, may not see all the connections that I've found that's all right. The connections come not only from the reading, but from the background knowledge that I already have in regards to this concept. This is declarative knowledge in action.

Developmentally appropriate technology integration PD - Wes Fryer
Internalization vs. Utilization - Scott Weidig
"If the news is important, it will find me." - Mathew Ingram

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