My Personal Philosophy of Instructional Technology
I compiled into three main components my ideals and beliefs of the role of instructional technology in the learning transaction, and the role of the educator in its implementation: (1) It makes students become self-directed learners, (2) it makes educator’s job easier than before, and (3) it allows the educator and students to extend their knowledge.
First, technologies make the students become self-directed learners. In Math class, with the use of deductive reasoning and technology tools, the teacher can easily have his students see the general picture of how Math is important to their lives. He can have them reflect about the connections among number sense and operations, algebra, geometry and trigonometry to name a few. With that in mind, they will find a purpose why they need to master the basic knowledge such as basic operations as it is essential for them to succeed in the algebra lessons. Mastering the algebra which is hard for many is where the big support of technology comes in. Technology tools such as GPS, calculators, slides, concept maps, databases, videos, audios, interactive boards and games, etc. will make them motivated. The teacher’s role is to be creative and make his instruction authentic to achieve the possible highest learning of the students. He has to select which tools are best suited for the particular lesson activities. He has to monitor that they use those tools safely and appropriately. He has to make the classroom environment fun as much as possible but at the same time the high learning expectations should be met. He has to provide rubrics or other forms of self-assessment tools so they can become responsible for their own learning. Finally, he has to support them whenever they need when they take actions in achieving their goals.
Second, technology makes the educator’s life job easier than before. Long time ago, teacher used “paper notebook” to record the students grades, behavior and attendance. He computed all the grades manually. He drew pictures to use as visual aids. But nowadays, he can just make the grades online and the parents and the students can see them right away. The communications with the parents has also gotten better with the aid of emails, phones and school websites. The use of graphs or baseline data through word or excel can easily target the students weaknesses and strengths. It allows him to know what things he still needs to do or design for them to meet the school, state and national standards. Furthermore, he can just save the lessons and activities and use it over and over again. In addition to that, there are thousands of free lesson plans available on internet. With the use of computers, the students can collaborate with in their group; thus, it allows the teacher to become as a facilitator instead of talking and teaching all the time. More than that, he has even less problems managing their behavior.
Lastly, the technology makes the educator and students extend their knowledge. The teacher can join online forums to collaborate and gain more knowledge, participate to educators’ organization for more professional development, make websites and blogs to share his knowledge for the growth of others, and help his colleagues with the problems relating to integration of technology in the classroom. At the same time, students can also join online forums or social networking to enhance their social skills. They can join school, community and global organizations for youth online to collaborate with students from different cultures that they cannot reach. They can apply the skills that they have learned from the classroom, from internet, from their teacher to the new situations where they are suited. Like their teacher, they can start making blogs to share the knowledge they have.
All of those three components can exhibit the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for teachers and students. The educator's main goal is to trigger the learners’ critical thinking skills to prepare them with the 21st century challenges for their better future. And with the unlimited supply of technology resources, that goal is absolutely achievable. The technology is indeed a great support!