Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Common Misconception #1 - Technology Integration is the Answer to Improving Test Scores

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to create a blog series about the 8 Common Misconceptions about Integrating Technology in Education.  Today will be the first entry in the series.  I can't promise that each future entry will appear daily as well.  School is ending, so not sure the type of time I will have at home, but I am hoping working Summer School will afford me some opportunities.

Common Misconception #1
Technology Integration is THE ANSWER to Improving Test Scores.

Technology in itself is NOT THE ANSWER to improving test scores.  Proper integration of technology in schools can (and will) have a profound effect on student learning.  The important factor to understand is that it is the teachers, students, administrators, and specialists who utilize the technology effectively and efficiently that will help to improve test scores. 

Technology will never replace quality teaching.  Albert Einstein said that the invention of video would one day replace teachers because we could just record our lessons.  He was not correct, because you still have to have quality instruction to go along with that technology.  Many teachers do good things in their rooms without ever utilizing technology.  What technology can do (when used properly) is move those good things teachers are doing, to great things teachers are doing.

Technology Integration is still a new phenomenon.  It was just 8 years ago that plugging in an overhead projector and a VCR was considered technology integration.  Well we are WAY past that.  We won't know the true impact of technology integration on test scores for 5-10 more years, in my opinion.  But, when students are talking about school and technology like THIS and like THIS, I think it would be safe to assume schools would see an improvement in test scores.

Remember that utilizing technology with your students makes learning much more personal, pertinent, and long lasting because it is no longer a poster board you tear off your wall at the end of the year; it is a website, glog, story, poem, video, etc that is published for more than just visitors to your classroom to see.

There are multiple factors that attribute to the success of technology integration to improve test scores. For example:

1.) A properly trained and passionate Technology Integration Specialist or Technology Resource Teacher who works with staff to utilize technology.
2.) Quality Professional Development where teachers get HANDS ON use of the technology
3.) Quality and/or Common planning time where departments can meet and discuss ways to utilize the technology in their classroom as part of lessons.
4.) Available one on one time for TIS/TRT to work with teachers
5.) An explanation of the benefits of integrating technology in education to administrators, teachers AND students.
6.) Going from "None to Ton" is not the answer either. It is important to mix up what you integrate, how much you integrate, and how you integrate technology.
7.) Use of the technology by Administrators showcasing ways they are integrating technology (as simple as keeping a blog). Administrators MUST buy in and support technology integration for it to trickle down to teachers.

Is your school/district integrating technology? Is your school/district utilizing these factors?

I am sure there are others.  What are your thoughts?  I don't claim to be an expert, just someone who is discussing what he has seen, heard, and read over the past year.