Educational Technology Philosophy

"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." - John Dewey

My Educational Technology Philosophy

  • My experience in the education field over the past seven years combined with my formal education have been major factors in developing my personal philosophy about educational technology. My ambition is to embrace change and continuously mature in my personal and professional use of technology. My core beliefs are as follows:
  • Pedagogy is an art that is constantly evolving. This includes best teaching practices, technology integration, and appropriate instructional media.
  • Teaching students to be technologically literate is an important responsibility of today’s educators.
  • Technology, when designed and implemented using the TPACK model, promotes learning and engagement in students of all ages, intelligences, and abilities.

My experiences

The vast differences in the 1,000+ students I’ve served has made me a firm believer in Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Differentiation is not a “buzz” word - it is a crucial tool in the arsenal of an effective teacher. Students are unique and have distinctive strengths and weaknesses regardless of age, ability, etc.. and should have the opportunity to learn in an environment where they have the highest chance of being successful and acquiring meaningful knowledge and skills.

I have developed my educational technology philosophy using my experience as an educator, but also my experience as a student. I attended eight different schools in four different states before graduating high school. I went to college on three campuses and learned both in-person and online. I began my career teaching in a Title IX high school where students had almost no access to technology. Currently, I teach at a high school where each student is issued a MacBook by the district to use for the duration of their four year high school career. These experiences have taught me that not all students operate on a level playing field and we must always be striving to move forward and close those gaps. I have learned that the only constant in education is change.

Pedagogy

When I was preparing to take my pedagogy certification test the advice that I received across the board was to answer the questions as though I had perfect students with perfect parents and taught in a perfect school. I think the idea was that teachers should be aware of “best practices” in education. This idea can be confusing to new members of the educational industry because the best and hardest part about being a teacher is that what is working for the students you have today probably won’t work for the students you have tomorrow. This is why I believe that although the subject matter I am required to teach probably won’t change drastically – the way in which I teach it absolutely should. As expressed in Reiber’s model of technology integration, “…the educational system must continue to evolve and adapt to remain effective.” (Reiber, L., n.d.) The evolution and improvement of technology has, in my experience, often proved to be for the benefit of our students.

Digital Literacy

For a student to be digitally literate they must have the appropriate knowledge and skills to participate in the digital transfer of ideas and information. This idea of transliteracy, ‘the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and films, to digital social networks’ (Thomas, 2007) will play a vital role in the future success of our students. It is the responsibility of parents, teachers, and administrators to ensure that our students are being taught how to function in this information age. In my classroom we often talk about the interactions students have online and how their internet presence will likely impact their future. Sadly there are many teachers who consider educating students on digital citizenship and transliteracy outside their scope of responsibility. I confess that I too initially resisted the ubiquity technology, specifically social media, until I realized that one day my own children would use these tools. If we are not teaching our children and students how to use technology responsibly, why are we surprised when they misuse or abuse it? How can we effectively instruct with technology without being committed to the lifelong learning process that being technologically literate requires? Students do not need to be taught this mindset – it is something they have already embraced; we must embrace it too.

Effective Technology Implementation

I am a believer in the educational theory of constructivism. I think that students make more meaningful learning out of an experience than a lecture. As Piaget stated, “The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.” (Piaget, J., n.d.) Technology can be a fantastic tool for improving instruction through creation and experience, especially as part of the TPACK model of lesson design. As I am designing my lessons, I try to consider the question “Does the material determine the idea? Or does the idea determine the material?” (Papert, n.d.) The TPACK model argues that the latter question is more effectual in quality lesson design. There are those in education that repeat the tired phrase, “I got through school without any technology and I turned out fine.” Don’t those teachers, whether they have taught for one year or twenty, almost exclusively use email to communicate every single day? The mentality that “old is good” or “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” prevents education from advancing as the world advances. Technology affords access to formats and simulations that were previously unavailable and can be beneficial and even transformative. In one instance my ninth grade algebra students applied their knowledge of linear functions to coding on the computer. They were able to see the power of applied mathematics. They felt like magicians when their robot avatars moved with the click of a button as a result of their coding! While this may only be anecdotal evidence, I firmly believe that when technology is combined with appropriate content and good pedagogy we can provide experiences for our students that were heretofore unimaginable for our students.

Conclusion

Educational technology is a continuously developing field of study. As an educator I consider it my responsibility to follow this evolution and continue to develop my own technology integration methods with whatever tools I have available. I must help students prepare to be contributing members of their communities; this includes their digital communities. I must teach students to construct their own knowledge through good pedagogy and lesson design. I must pledge to be a lifelong learner and unceasingly strive to improve my combinations of content, pedagogy and technology if I am to be the most effective educator, role model, and mentor possible.

References

Papert, S. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from

http://www.papert.org/articles/ACritiqueofTechnocentrism.html

Piaget, J. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved July 1, 2017, from BrainyQuote.com Web site:

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jeanpiaget403394.html

Rieber, L. A model of technology adoption. (n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2017, from

http://www.nowhereroad.com/twt/animations/TechAdopt.html

Thomas, S., Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S., & Pullinger, K. (2007).

Transliteracy: Crossing divides. First Monday, 12(12).

doi:https://doi-org.proxy.tamuc.edu/10.5210/fm.v12i12.2060

Speaking of Change...

Check out how my Educational Technology Philosophy has evolved by exploring these previous versions:

Draft One

Peer Review One

Peer Review Two