When thinking about what a technology infused classroom looks like, I found I agreed with what the Innovative Designs for Education Corporation published as it’s 10 core principles of successful “learner-active, technology-infused” (LATI) classrooms:
- Learning from a Felt Need
- High Academic Standards
- Higher-Order, Open-Ended Problem-Solving
- Student Responsibility for Learning
- Connected Learning
- Individual Learning Paths
- High Social Capital
- Technology Infusion
- Global Citizenship
Learning from a Felt Need indicates that students learn best when given an authentic situation to respond to rather than simply having material presented to them. The latter is largely how students receive a majority of the information in school. Learning from a felt need would have students learning about area and perimeter by being presented with a real life problem that required them to know area and perimeter for in order to create a solution.
High Academic Standards does not indicate the new Common Core standards, it indicates that students are expected to achieve at high levels. In order to do so they must utilize every resource around them. The teacher isn’t their only resource. There are their peers, experts in the field of study, the Internet, as well as many other resources that reach beyond the classroom.
Higher-Order, Open-Ended Problem-Solving requires that students are able to respond quickly to problems that are presented to them and are able to “think outside the box.” Situations change rapidly in today’s world and equipping our students with the skills to be successful in the 21st Century is a must.
Student Responsibility for Learning has been a favored topic of mine for many years. It has always been my firm belief that in order for a student to achieve, they have to take control of their learning. They cannot sit back and expect their learning handled for them, they must be an active participant. They must have a say in what they are learning and how they are learning it, they must set their own goals and set out to achieve them. Educators can certainly assist students with all of this, but they cannot do it for them.
Connected Learning states that the learning students do is connected to their lives outside of the classroom. If students can see the connection between the subjects they learn in school and what their daily lives expose them to, what they have learned will be cemented.
Collaboration is a word I have heard with much more frequency over the last several years in education. It seemed to me that it was aimed primarily at teachers, in that we should be collaborating with our colleagues in order to better assist our students on their academic paths. Lately however, the word collaboration has been aimed at the students and appropriately so. In today’s world we rarely do anything in isolation. We are always working with others to achieve a goal. Our students should be prepared for this reality and can be via collaboration on authentic educational tasks.
Individual Learning Paths is differentiation. The fact that educators need to differentiate in order to best serve their students is not a new concept, nor one I find any fault with. Students will learn best when instruction and authentic activities are geared toward their learning levels.
High Social Capital refers to the relationships students have with not only their teacher but other adults who are part of their academic journey. Students will perform best when they feel that the adults in their lives care about them, what they have achieved, what they need help in, and generally provide them support on not only an academic level but a personal and emotional level as well.
Technology Infusion requires that technology is in the hands of the students. Education has come a long way in that many teachers are comfortable teaching with technology as a way to enhance the content, but it is my opinion that there is not enough technology in many (not all) public schools so that it is in the hands of the students to create with. It is only through the creative process that information is truly absorbed. Technology is a part of all of our students lives in some way, they need to be provided the opportunity to create with it in meaningful ways and see that there is more to technology than video games. As an aside to that statement, I am not demeaning gaming as a valid strategy to achievement, I am saying that presently much of the gaming students do is without much academic value.
Global Citizenship aids students in defining a strong sense of self when they realize there is a much larger world beyond the doors of their classrooms. Students need to feel connected to the world at large, beyond Fontana, beyond California, and beyond the United States.
So how do I plan on having a technology infused classroom? I plan on using the limited technology I have available to me and making the most of it. I plan on continuing to be an educational technology advocate and do my part within my school and my district to continue to emphasize the need for more technology so that we are better able to prepare our students for the 21st Century. My question to decision makers is, how can we prepare students for the 21st Century when we don’t have regular access to the technology we need?
(GCU TEC 538 Reflective Blog Post #3)