Trying to Make Educational Technology Applicable

In past versions of my educational technology course, I’ve had students complete “tech projects” in which they learn about specific technologies and discuss ways they would use the technologies (or preferably have students use the technology) in their classroom.  This allowed students to select technologies that they felt might actually be of use to their discipline rather than learning about the technologies I thought were important.

While my approach above was well-intentioned, I was unconvinced students were really planning to apply those technologies to their future teaching. Instead, I believe students ended up finding technologies very quickly, throwing together some ideas, rinsing and repeating.  I was not happy.

This J-Term, I have taken a bit of a different approach.  I am trying to focus more on “big ideas” of educational technology (i.e. TPACK, nature of technology, etc).  While I am still exposing students to a lot of different technologies, and plan to give them ample time to explore “on their own”, the culminating assignment for the course is for students to create a framework to guide their future use of technology in the classroom.  My hope is that this framework will provide a way to think about technology, not just some specific strategies.  The assignment as it appears in the syllabus is:

*Framework for Technology in the Classroom (Outline Due January 17th, Paper Due January 23).  Technology is constantly changing.  Therefore, planning now to use particular technologies may be unwise.  However, developing a robust framework for considering the use of technology in your future classroom will be useful no matter the context of your teaching.  As a final assignment, you will create a framework for your future technology implementation.  Your paper should address fundamental ideas you will use for making decisions about technology in your teaching.  Your paper should be supported by literature/research and provide illustrative examples.  These examples should demonstrate aspects of your framework as well as your proficiency in technology use.  Some questions to address as you create your framework include, but are not limited to:

  • Why should technology be used in education?
  • How are technologies typically used in education?
  • How will you use technology in your classroom?
  • In what way will learning theory inform your technology implementation?
  • In what way will the nature of technology inform your technology implementation?
  • What will students learn about technology in your classroom? How?
  • How will students use technology in your classroom?
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3 Responses to Trying to Make Educational Technology Applicable

  1. I think that the assignment you have created sounds like a good way to approach the idea of using technology in the classroom. I am currently going to school at the University of South Alabama where I am studying to be an elementary teacher. I actually just left a comment on one of my fellow classmate’s blog about technology in the classroom. I believe that technology is constantly growing in positive ways for classrooms therefore I think that any future teacher needs to be willing to grow with technology.

  2. Alex Y. says:

    I think this assignment sounds GREAT. I remember doing the “tech projects”. I think I was one of the few in my class who actually researched new technologies and thought about whether or not I would actually implement it in the future. However, I like this idea a lot more, and it’s practical for the future. So many times in interviews they talk about implementing technology, and having this assignment to refer to would be a great asset!

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