Friday, October 8, 2010

P as TL, Creighton Ch. 5-10

Creighton Chap 5 (questions 1-6) more to follow.
Technology related professional learning still seems to be mostly about learning how to use software but needs to move more towards how do we tie the use of technology to the standards that we are teaching. The systems approach to management however has achieved a little more. In Cobb County, we have PICASSO which has all the standards that we teach for all grade levels online and a broad instructional map for grade levels and subjects. Constructivist learning has probably had the greatest effect on technology as it lends itself to exploration.

Of the five concepts that Creighton presents for Constructivist learning, very few are tied to technology use.  Teachers may use concept one to work with drill and practice for skills before turning students loose to explore as stated in concept 3. Then you could apply concept 5 as teachers guide students to programs or sites on the internet to gather the information that goes beyond drill and practice (possibly project oriented). Of the concepts, I have ranked them based on how much I think they are used in my building. The rankings are from greatest use down.  5. The role of teacher as guide, problem and task presenter. followed by 3. Teachers approach instruction with 2 or 3 main ideas that are "explored" rather than "covered". Then followed by 1. The teacher helps students build a foundation of skills and knowledge but allow students to use their creative abilities to solve real world problems. Next would come 4. Social discourse- interaction with others and finally 2. Students and teachers collaborate on the means of instruction and content.
Pepi and Scheurman warn us not to continue to use technology as merely drill and practice, but to move toward institutional reform. But in doing this, don't ignore a more fundamental problem - teachers who really don't know how to teach.

Some of the weaknesses in technology integration through professional learning programs are - not having follow up workshops or presentations to clarify misunderstandings or reteach something difficult and using professional to review drill and practice software as well as finding drill and practice through the internet.


  1. I enjoyed your analysis of the Creighton concepts in your school. I, too, find that in my school it is #2 that is least used often. In our standards-driven world, I find it difficult to give that sort of control to students. I see the benefit because it empowers students and gives them a customized experience. I also fear, in some way, that this is setting an unrealistic expectation for life's realities. This is surely not going to be a popular view, but when will students learn that not everything is a customized experience in life? When will they learn the skill needed to cope with a task at work that they don't want to do? Are we preparing our students to expect their boss to let them choose what work assignment they complete? Just a thought for discussion purposes...

  2. I agree about technology learning being about the software and I would love to break that mold, but teachers and students need the foundation of the software first, then application. I think all training should at least consist of two separate training sessions, maybe shorter segments. This way it would give teachers and students a chance to absorb what they have learned, practice and then come back for application and development of lessons. I liked your ranking of Creighton's concepts, too. It sounds like your school is like many of mine.

  3. I agree with PL seems to be geared on how to operate software not how to incorporate it. Teachers learn new things easly but don't change because it is difficult. More PL how what to do with all this software in the classroom is what I really feel I need to be successful with teachnology in my classroom!