This week the focus on our readings and videos are on the impact of technology to students and the classroom. In the student-centered learning environment it is important that all students be allowed to learn. This includes all students in diverse learning levels. I currently teach classes in the Career and Technology (CTE) area of Family and Consumer Sciences, where students from all levels, Gifted and Talented (GT) to Special Education (Sped) are included.
The readings that addressed the need for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of these varying levels of students were the most interesting to me. Pitler focuses on the objectives teachers and students need to concentrate on to accomplish the goals of learning. In this he addresses the use of technology, such as e-mail, blogs and communication software, to set and communicate goals and objectives (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). He and his colleagues also state that “this is not only a great tool for setting student objectives, it also is a wonderful way to differentiate student learning” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007) . Schacter also concludes in his piece on current research, “there is, however, evidence in some of these studies that learning technology is less effective or ineffective when the learning objectives are unclear and the focus of the technology is diffuse” (Schacter 1999). I find this true in my classroom, as all students seem to enjoy and learn from using various types of technology. I use technology not only in delivery of instruction, but to manage assignments and homework, through the use of a learning management system. I use this LMS to communicate the goals and objectives of daily learning. I have found that when the students have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of learning, they can easily go to work on the assignment, project, or activity, and they are more in tuned to what they should be learning. When objectives are not clearly stated, the students are lost and confused, often questioning and seeking more guidance.
I found one statement in Page’s writings on using technology for differentiated students to be interesting. “At-risk students who had obviously been alienated from their peers have, after computers were introduced to the learning environment, been consistently observed interacting closely with other students in computer-aided assignments (Diggs, 1997)” (Page 2002). Once again I find this true in my classroom.Students from all learning abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds begin working together to complete the assignments successfully. I am surprised at how they all help one another. Some students will have a better understanding of the material more than others. Another statement I found interesting was, “Computer technology, when integrated into the classroom for significant periods of time, may also have more significant effects among students classified as low socioeconomic status” (Page 2002). My school is currently at the end of a three-year grant program in which technology and computers were immersed into the classroom. We are currently waiting to view the results of student achievement from the past two years to see if the technology has indeed improved overall student achievement, and where, if needed, we can make improvements.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Chapters 1, 15-38.
Schacter, J. (1999). The impact of education technology on student achievement: What the most current research has to say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Education Technology. Retrieved from http://www.mff.org/pubs/ME161.pdf.
Page, M. S. (2002). Technology-enriched classrooms: Effects on students of low socioeconomic status. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34(4), 389–409. Retrieved from the International Society of Education at http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Number_4_Summer_20021&Template=/MembersOnly.cfm&ContentFileID=830