Sunday, October 10, 2010

P as TL continued

The 12 descriptors of constructivist teachers, describes the teacher and not the content or process of teaching. When a teacher finds a resource that will help promote learning, I hope that is what will happen. I think technology can help the constructivist teacher, even sometimes the use of drill and practice. The 1st descriptor says the teacher encourages and accepts student initiative and autonomy. For some students, that choice will be for drill and practice until they feel confident enough to move beyond that, and I hope the teacher will be there to support and encourage that exploration or more drill and practice if that is what the student fells he needs. Technology can go very well with descriptor 2 as there is probably more current data online than can be found anywhere else, but students do need to be taught how to look for it. Descriptor 3 is not seen often enough in the classrooms, with or without technology. NCLB probably hinders this as more and more schools are teaching to the high stakes test, there is less time for "analyze, predict and create". These only happen in the last month of school when they have already taken "the TEST". Descriptors 4-9 deal with questioning and dialog with and among students. Technology can be woven in here with web quests, interactions between schools (e pals, collaborative projects, etc), and project based learning. Descriptor 10 is wait time, allowing a student time to think before answering. I am not sure how technology would tie in with this one, but I sure do hope teachers do this. In all my years that has been one comment I have gotten from observers, is that I have wonderful wait time. Descriptors 11 and 12 can fit well with technology if students are given exploration time but are also held accountable to present what they explored.

I really enjoyed reading Creighton's model tech-tech related professional learning and would love to be involved with this type of professional development. I think in some ways, through this class that is what we are doing. Our assignment to blog and respond to peers blogs are step one. Our vision and SWOT analysis is step 2 and then our one year Action/Evaluation plan would be step 3.

Trailblazers are the ones out in front of the pack and want to try new things. They tend not to shy away from change but rather embrace it. Resistors are those who are uncertain about the change but can be lead to believe or not, depends on who takes their hand and leads them (the trailblazer or the saboteur). The saboteur is one who does not like change and actually tries to stop it. They feel comfortable doing things the way they always have (it worked all these years so why change) and need convincing to try something new. Resistors and saboteurs are most likely to act at the beginning of change. It is best to include them from the planning stages. Many time it is these people that come up with the driving questions for the need for change. The process will be much smoother if you get them on board early.

In my school, I think in most of the classes, technology is wearing the saddle and we are riding it. However there are some occasions when that is not the case and a well thought out professional development plan that accommodates for all teachers, those that have experience with the technology to those that don't is what is needed. We as teachers have to differentiate our instruction, so professional development should also be differentiated as we do not all learn the same way and we do not all start at the same spot. Which leads to Ch.8 where we learn that the principal should both manage and lead technology programs just as he or she does with all other areas of leadership within the school. If the principal does this then he/she is making sure that the technology is connected to all other areas of instruction.

As far as leaders and implementing technology, we must make sure that all are involved and given an equal voice. Creighton spoke of in-groups and out-groups and how the planning of professional development must take all into consideration. Opportunities to practice,observe, coach and be coached must be built into the technology plan for any chance that it will be successful. Technological changes may lead to structural changes and the principal needs to be prepared for this so he or she can lead all the teachers through the changes.

My school would like to be a 90/90/90 school, that is 90% free or reduced lunch, 90% ethnic minority, and 90% meet or exceed state standards. SO we need an increase in scores on the CRCT in all subject areas. Technology could help in academic areas, and should be used more often for engaged learning than for drill and practice.  We do need quality professional development that addresses our needs as teachers of a very diverse population. We need to learn what we have and how to effectively use it before we consider more technology. Time for peer collaboration as well as peer observation and coaching would help many at our school. Every teacher has strengths and weaknesses. If we focus on the strengths and how we can share those with our colleagues, it will be a step in the right direction.

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