Quality over Quantity
The most infamous question asked by all students at one point or another, is the dreaded question of, but why. While many think that this question ends with adolescent age, it seems only appropriate to mention that as adults we continue to ask this question, even only if it is silently in our heads. It can be assumed that many choose to teach adolescents because they connect with students and enjoy challenging them. While many seem to believe that the age of adolescence is the hardest to teach, I challenge that theory, changing the age of the audience to meet its statement. In this course, much could be asked of the same, why are we discussing different concepts which integrate technology into learning. For me, this shift of thinking resonates deep within two ideological theories of authentic assessment and Bloom’s Taxonomy.
This courses basic structure is founded on the belief that we build not only from the ground up, but from previous experiences. In agreement with Bloom’s revision, all success comes from the idea of remembrance. While this theory has its’ holes, it ultimately provides the foundation on which success is built. Churches states, ” This Digital Taxonomy is not restricted to the cognitive domain rather it contains cognitive elements as well as methods and tooling. These are the elements that as a practitioner I would use in my classroom practice. Like the previous taxonomies, its is the quality of the action or process that defines the cognitive level, rather than the action or process alone” (Churches,2009). Symbolically, this statement embodies the concepts delivered through this course. The objective of this course is to introduce the implementation of technology into classroom instruction. The central theme of Churches statement is one which relies on the participants/students to pay special attention to the quality of the learning process, rather than the process itself. In order to express this theoretical perspective, it is not only important, but essential for learners of the 21st century to incorporate new technological tools in order to achieve innovation. While the specifically focusing on technology, other concepts such as creation and innovation are essential in the development of this course. Like building blocks, through the use of new technology based upon the ideology of remembrance, learners of the 21st century will grow upon this foundation in order to create innovation. I currently use Bloom’s Taxonomy in my classrooms as basis or a rememberance point for which all of my lessons originate from.
My Own Practice:
With regards to my educational field and teaching structure, much of what was discussed and presented relates to my own personal ideology. Living in a world where our schools are flooded with digital natives, not students; it is imperative that our practices change in the classroom. In my classroom, I have pushed for the use of cell phones as agendas, timing devices, multimedia devices, and as a source of information in order to enhance learning. I feel that is imperative that teachers learn to adapt their methods in order to meet the needs of the students which represent the makeup of our classrooms. As we speak, students in my classroom are using cell phones to create online blogs and chats for historical interpretation. Sites like ToonDoo and Prezi are being used to represent learning in the classroom. The most recent project on World War I, called for students to use the site Animoto in order to create a short movie trailer representing the war. While technology is essential to the success of our students in the future, one must not replace all past practices with technology. In order to ensure that technology is aligned with standards, teachers must use technology to authenticate assessment for those standards in order to produce a quality practice. In my classroom, I plan lessons by building up from the essential questions. From there, I find ways to incorporate technology in the lesson as a mode of transportation of the material in order to authentic learning. I find that students work best when they are comfortable with the material/tools that they are using when discovering information.
One question which seems to always to hinder my openness to use technology in the classroom is how it impacts student’s work ethic. The advancement of technology has not necessarily improved instruction and practice, rather changed it. Kurtz preaches that it is through the advancement of certain technological devices that educational is no longer testing a child’s ability to interpret material, rather obtain it. Kurtz states, “It’s as if grades have become a reflection of the strength of a teen’s social network – or a reflection of their favourite search engine” (Kurtz, 2012). In order to combat this trend, it is imperative that teachers arm themselves with ways to identify with the 21st century learners ability to comprehend. According to Alloway, the digital technology does in fact change the way that we learn. She goes on to state, “But it is not a bad thing. Active technology users were better at processing information in parallel. They could quickly adjust to a change in an information stream and picked up on what they needed to do. In contrast, passive technology users processed information successively and found it easier to focus on a single target at a time. In a modern workplace where multitasking is standard, technology can give us an edge. The old school way of remembering facts and information is not necessary. With Google at our fingertips, we don’t need to”(Alloway,2011). In agreement with Alloway, I feel that the problem does not exist in the technology, but in the method. To re-emphasize Churches, it is not the process itself, but the quality of the process.(Churches,2009) It is important that in order to stop this growing trend of laziness, that we value the importance of the process of how to acquire and disseminate certain pieces of information, rather than just obtaining the information itself. This practice must be implemented in the classroom and reinforced with every lesson. While I rely heavily on technology in the classroom and can appreciate it’s positive impact, I feel that it has made students lazy due to the reliability both they and society place on technology. With regards to Bloom’s Taxonomy, one change which must be made is in the final step of creating. Where Bloom’s views creating as the final step, I feel that analysis should take precedent there. The cause for this change is not to say that creation is not important; however, it is not until one can truly analzye the outcome of his/her work and then go back adapt it based on the obeservations which were made that learning has come full swing. One question which can be asked from this theory is, why does Bloom’s Taxonomy not take self assessment at the end of the cycle more seriously?
Questions which still seem to linger from this course are deeply rooted in the practices of how to implement this technology in order to keep student motivation growing. It seems that we have come at a cross road. As our society is heavily engaged in the practice of multi-tasking, we are no longer taking quality into consideration. This approach seems to leave little room for quality work to survive, as quantity of work becomes the central theme. While students don’t consider quantity in the terms of work, they are still very much consumed by the amount of time it will take them. In order to access the final stage of creation and innovation, work ethic must be present. While this course has presented modes in which we can possibly entertain the idea of creation and innovation from the earliest stages of remembrance, the question still remains on how to instill work ethic when both technology is and technology isn’t available for use. Considering these to be fundamental pieces in Bloom’s Taxonomy, one area which still remains grey to me as an educator is, that while we continue to provide students with authentic assessment in order to achieve innovation, state and federal standards still dictate that objective testing such as Keystones and PSSA’s are used to grade understanding. If both sides are not aligned, how can progress be made?
Alloway, T.P. (2011). Is technology making our brains lazy? Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/keep-it-in-mind/201107/is-technology-making-our-brains-lazy.
Churches, A. (2012). Bloom’s digital taxonomy. Retrieved from http://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/courses/EDU625.901285009801/bloom%27s%20Digital%20taxonomy%20v3.01%281%29%281%29.pdf
Kurtz, D. (2012). Is technology making students lazier? Retrieved from http://www.torontosun.com/2012/08/31/lazy-faire-students