Saturday, May 2, 2009

TPACK 12--In-Service teachers

This final chapter of TPACK addresses how current, in-service teachers can develop strategies for integrating technology into pedagogy.

I was especially pleased to see the comparison between playing jazz and teaching, because it validates the practice of most experienced teachers. Knowing the melody is one thing, being able to riff and improvise takes experience. I think it is the same with teachers. I spent a good three years of the early career just learning how to play....and with time I have learned when to improvise.

Harris gives a basic definition of technology integration: "The pervasive and productive use of educational technologies for purposes of curriculum-based learning and teaching." I don't agree 100% with this definition because there is a need to clarify "educational technologies"--in my mind, it is ANY technology that serves me as a teacher. For example, social media is not designed with formal education in mind, yet it is invaluable to teach language. So, I want to clarify that for me, technology does not have have a label on it that declares it "educational." Glogster is another platform that was not designed for student learning yet is consistently utilized by students to present work done for school.

Based on my last semester course, I was prepared to hear that teacher usage ranges from productivity tools to mindtools. I would say this is the same breakdown as this semester's type I vs. type II technologies. Some technologies are used to be more productive, to organize data, etc, and some technologies are used to work at the higher level of Bloom's. Makine a movie, for example, is a higher level of cognition than using Google to make a calendar. However, these tools can and should work together--because making that Google calendar as a production timeline for making the movie allows one tool to help the user properly use the other tools to make meaning.

Something that really struck me was that Harris states that "teachers need curriculum-related content knowledge to do their jobs effectively" (254). Once that is in place, then the technological component can be maximized. I like what Gunter and Baumbach call "integration literacy". What tool, for what purpose, to what end?

When integrating the technological component, understanding the culture is essential. This makes it a wicked problem with no clearly defined overarching rules of integration. Basically each teacher, each class, is unique. Teachers need to be given the support necessary to develop content-specific technology integrated units. Because in-service teacher generally have more expertise than novice teachers, the integration approach can and should be different!

Activity structures were an interesting concept to read about and I hope that there is a taxonomy out there for modern languages because I know that I do several types of structures and I would like to see them defined and validated. Activity structures are "cultural tools that perpetuate and standardize interaction patterns" (257). Again, I need to review what I do and write it down and compare with a taxonomy.

I really enjoyed the BNIE concept of activity structures, which includes Bid, Negotiate, Instantiate, and Evaluate. To me this is student centered learning.

It is important, also, for content area teachers to develop a common language for activity structures. This will improve literacy as well.

When examining the chart on page 260, I identified 9 structures that are current in my classroom. Wow!

The last point I want to address is that adults learn differently than students and often must know "up front" the why behind the learning expected, in this case, why integrate technology. I again want to refer to the video posted in April about what kids want from us. They want us to guide them in their learning and they learn collaboratively, creatively, and with technologies that we struggle to keep up with. But, I believe we must make the effort as adults to reach kids where they are, socially and culturally. And for today, that means using technology to share, present, reflect, and re-do.

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