Classroom-Based Instructional Planning or Instructional Delivery Term Paper

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The introduction of new technologies over the past two decades, especially the computer and the Internet, offers teachers an effectual and informative way to enhance educational instruction and variety for their students. However, studies show that the most effective incorporation of technology into classroom curricula varies considerably based on a number of factors, such as the teacher's comfort level, the amount of training and the availability of the technology. In order to meet their students' needs, teachers must be knowledgeable about the technology and understand its most beneficial classroom applications, develop new curricula that reasonably integrate the electronic methodology, and determine how all students can have accessibility to the technology and assess the results. Teachers cannot escape the fact that today's classrooms must provide technology-supported learning. The International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) reports that today's classroom teachers must be prepared to empower students with the advantages technology can bring Although most teachers are dedicated to improving their students' educational experience, many of the above stated parameters are not being accomplished. In 2000, only half the teachers used computers for classroom instruction (Smerdon & Cronen, 2000), and in 2003, teachers' use of technology for curriculum purposes was almost exclusively a function of accessing technology, which creates a different context and opportunity for learning (Norris, Sullivan, Poirot, and Soloway). Technology must instead encompass all aspects of a school's system, including students, teachers, classrooms, and administrative leaders. It must also be equalized outside of school so everyone has the same access to a means of technology utilization.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Classroom-Based Instructional Planning or Instructional Delivery Assignment

A number of studies, with conflicting results, have been conducted to determine the value of technology in the teaching-learning process. Where much of the research shows educational improvement (e.g., Khalili & Shashoani, 1994), others did not find a significant difference when comparing the traditional instruction and those incorporating technology (e.g., Moore & Kearsley, 1996). Due to the number of different variables involved, this conflict on the effectiveness of technology integration will continue. Regardless of what occurs in the classroom, however, it is clearly recognized that once students graduate they will need to know how to access, find and utilize information from electronic sources in the external world and the organizational and political realities. Bower (1998) summarized this dilemma: "Is computer based instruction popular with students and educators? Yes. Does it improve student performance? Maybe. Is it worth the cost? Probably. Must we continue to explore this innovative pathway to education? Definitely" (p. 65).

Another surety based on research is that different levels exist between teachers in terms of interest and capability. Ertmer (2005) states that even though the technology available is in most schools, teachers have been trained, administration is supporting its use, "high-level technology use is still surprisingly low" (p.25). Many teachers apply technology to low-level tasks, including word processing and Internet research, but not to higher level uses (p. 26). A survey (Lorenzetti, 2001) that was conducted by Michigan State gave every Michigan teacher a laptop computer (90,000 teachers) showed that most teachers knew how to use the Web to obtain information and send e-mail, but only a handful (as low as one in nine) knew the way to apply their lessons through higher technology tools such as spreadsheets, presentations. Barron (2003) finds that science teachers, not surprisingly, are using technology more for higher level use than their peers in other subjects.

Ertmer (2005) questions whether this greater low-level technology use is more due to the fact that not much time has gone by since teachers first started using the technology. Based on developmental models of technology integration proposed by such researchers as Sandholtz, Ringstaff, & Dwyer (1997), teachers require five to six years to gain enough expertise to use technology the way that is advocated by constructivist reform efforts. Is it true then that increased or prolonged technology use will actually encourage teachers to alter their practices toward more constructivist approaches? Studies are still in the process of verifying this. For instance, based on the results of work in two California high-tech high schools, Barron et al. (2003) found that "Few fundamental changes in the dominant mode of teacher-centered instruction had occurred." Even in the computer-based classes teacher-centered instruction was the norm (p. 825). Cuban et. al. (2001) theorized that such results may be due to "deeply entrenched structures of the self-contained classroom, departments, time schedules, and teachers' disciplinary training p. 83). Ertmer (2005, p. 25) concludes that teachers' pedagogical beliefs may be causing the barriers to advanced technology.

Angers and Machtmes (2005) questioned whether it was possible to learn from exemplary technology teachers in regard to their beliefs, context factors, and practices. As Ertmer (2005) showed, how teachers view their role impacts the way they use technology as an instructional tool. Their beliefs about classroom practice seem to mold their technology goals in addition to the weight they assign to different internal and external barriers, such as limited equipment, training, and time. Internal barriers confront beliefs about current practice and lead to new goals, structure, and roles. However, making a change to instructional methodology necessitates more than just time to look at different approaches. It also takes making a personal commitment and courage to try new things. Research by Vannatta and Fordham (2004) indicate the factor combination of the amount of technology training, time spent beyond contractual work week, and openness of the school system to educational technology is essential to the equation of having acceptance by the teachers.

More recent studies show that there may be a trend toward the direction that is assumed above regarding the more familiar the teacher the greater chance for better utilization. Valadez (2007, p. 31) analyzed the idea that a binary "digital divide" exists between high- and low-resource schools in the U.S. He surveyed teachers from California who were from five low-resource schools and one, for comparison, from a high-resource school. He found high-resource school teachers had significantly more physical access and frequent and creative instructional use of computers and the Internet (C&I) for instruction than other teachers. In addition, they communicated by email more often with students and engaged more frequently in professional activities such on online communication.

Valedez (2007, p. 42) concludes that this differential access to C&I "points to inequality in teachers' opportunities to develop knowledge and technical skills in ways that enhance their professional practice and social life." For example, the high-tech teachers consulted more frequently online with colleagues about instruction than their low-resource peers. As a result, the former teachers are more likely than the latter to be exposed to opportunities leading to skill development and knowledge acquisition through the construction of social networks. Vannatta and Fordham (2004) indicate that the combination of the amount of technology training, time spent beyond the contractual work week, and openness to change combine to predict overall classroom technology use among K-12 teachers. They report that the teachers' desire to spend more time "above and beyond the call of duty" and attitude and ability to take risks are important in developing them into technology-using educators. Learning to use technology as an instructional tool requires willingness to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Zhao (2007) investigated the attitudes and experiences of seventeen social studies teachers after their technology integration training. Results demonstrated that the teachers held a number of different beliefs on technology integration, which influenced their use of technology in the classroom. Participants demonstrated four major categories of technology-related activities: (a) teacher-centered, (b) structured inquiry, - teacher-student negotiated, and (d) student-centered. After in-house training, most teachers were supportive of using technology, described positive experiences with technology integration training, and furthered their use and creativity of technology. Despite all the advantages provided by technology, the research found that willingness to use technology and positive experiences were related to teachers' increased use of technology and to more creative use of technology, but this willingness and positive experiences do not ensure that teachers will replace their traditional teaching methods with technology.

Despite the positive impact of in-house training, according to Zhao (2005), most teachers he interviewed who had successful technology integration experiences claimed they used this approach only when and where it fit. This was not on a daily basis, even when the resources were available. These teachers appreciated the student-centered technology activities most because it gave students the opportunity to obtain in-depth knowledge and it motivated them to learn social studies. However, the teachers all agreed that these student-centered activities also took a great deal of time and whether or not they used them often depended on the content being covered, the time available, and the present priority. Regardless of how much their experience with incorporating technology, they had concerns about time constraints, curricular coverage, and testing requirements. They enjoyed using technology, but for most of them, this was still something extra, something they could live without.

Angers and Machtmes (2005) conducted a study to see what other factors may make these teachers more apt to go "above and beyond." The… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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