Instructional Technology Through The Use Of The Internet

  • Length: 1886 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Instructional Technology Through the Use of the Internet

Abstract

Internet access and more constructivist teaching practices are commonly called for by national and state level commissions and plans. This raises two questions that were the focus of a study that I had the opportunity to be involved in. First, does Internet use result in an increase in constructivist teacher practices? Second, what other features of classroom life are impacted when the Internet is used as a source of information for student research projects? I will discuss the following questions as well as give feedback regarding my findings after reviewing several classrooms in the Riverside Unified School District.

Introduction

While there are many definitions of "constructivism," most educators would agree that constructivist practices involve teachers facilitating students who engage in activities that garner their interest and build on their experiences. These practices also offer opportunities for higher-order thinking that routinely take students beyond finding and reporting facts to forming and defending opinions and solving open-ended problems.
Being that I am a Riverside Unified School District Computer Education teacher, I was chosen to be a part of a technology study team, headed by our Instructional Technology Specialist, Jay McPhail. Our objective was to see if well-supported Internet access changes practice in constructivist directions. Each school that was observed had a level of Internet access, technical support and staff development opportunities commonly called for by the district. Thus, the impact of classroom Internet access could be examined in an environment where the typical excuses related to the lack of some key ingredient were absent.
Observation

The classrooms that were observed are at the leading edge of instructional technology. The participating teachers and students are in a program called Tech Stars that deals with technology based instruction inside the classroom. Each elementary classroom has four to six Internet workstations with bandwidth equal to T1 or higher. Teachers have support from an elementary computer specialist and access to abundant staff development courses after school, which they are paid to attend. Each school containing these classes also has a computer lab with 28 workstations that classes use for about an hour a week. All three teachers were veterans with more than 15 years of teaching experience and more than 10 years of experience using computers in their classrooms. The Internet workstations had been in place for at least two years, and four of the five teachers had used them previously as sources of information for student projects.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Instructional Technology Through The Use Of The Internet." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Jun 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=158956>.
Title Length Color Rating  
The Use of Wireless Laptop Technology in Instructional Practices Essay - This review of literature examined diverse topics and discussions on why teachers do not or have not used wireless laptop technology in their instructional practices. In general, most K-12 academic setting today utilizes wireless laptop technology (Kinkade & Verclas, 2008; Weston & Bain, 2010) within the classrooms. With all things considered, this study proposes that social change transpires when training focuses on the demands of teachers and school system programs (Hickey, 2009). The impact of social change creates powerful demands on teaching and learning with wireless technologies (w-technologies) resources (Teo, 2009)....   [tags: Educational Technology] 524 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Implementing Technology Into Instructional Routines Essay example - The theoretical framework, involves the works of Dewey (1916/1997), Papert (1993/2001), Piaget (1973), Vygotsky (1978) and Augustin & Huang, (2002). The use of social constructivism (SC) will play a pivotal role in building collaborative relationships between teachers and their students. In addition, this framework will also apply Swan and Dixon's (2006) teachers’ technology attitude scale (TAS) to determine wireless laptop training needs for K-12 teachers. As anticipated by the theory of social constructivism, technology into the classroom produces a network of social learning agents....   [tags: Educational Technology] 1072 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Effective Instructional Strategies to Ensure Fifth Grade Mathematics Readiness - ... The constructivist approach to instructional design includes creating a student-centered learning environment that allows learners “to develop, reflect on, evaluate, and modify their own internal conceptual frameworks” (Lane, 2007, p. 161). This approach requires educators to facilitate real-world problems, and observe how students process information and solve problems. The constructivist approach incorporates various teaching strategies designed to create an engaging and meaningful learning experience....   [tags: instructional design and implementation]
:: 6 Works Cited
1919 words
(5.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Instructional Design Project Essay - Abstract: The purpose of this instructional design project was to create and evaluate an interactive PDF module on establishing a hybrid learning course for the Vietnamese teachers of English at the Center for Foreign Affairs and Language Training (CEFALT) in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. The module provided the teachers with basic concepts about hybrid learning, skills in using Ning (a social network site) for class, effective incorporation of available technologies into a lesson plan, and a framework for establishing a hybrid learning course....   [tags: Technology] 802 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Knowledge Management and Instructional Technology Essay - Knowledge Management and Instructional Technology The new "buzz word" in many corporate circles currently is the term "Knowledge Management or K.M." KM is considered mostly a role for the Information Technologist because of its storage of the company's information on databases. Because of the "info-glut" that is occurring in many corporations, K.M. is strongly becoming the role for the Instructional Technologist to group that information into training modules for the corporate Intranet, so that the corporation's employees can retrieve the "knowledge" in a real-time, need-to-know basis....   [tags: Knowledge Management Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1424 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Semiotics and Instructional Technology Essay - Semiotics and Instructional Technology Abstract The purpose of my paper is to define and discuss semiotics and relate it to instructional technology. Discussing Semiotics Huyghe says that if you are a semiologist, then you study systems of signs (Huyghe, 1993, p.1). This area of discussion can cover a broad range of topics from hieroglyphic writing to "Masks and the semiotics of identity." "In semiotic terms, an icon is a variety of sign that bears a resemblance to its object; a diagram, for example, is an icon of that which the diagram represents (Pollock, 1995, p....   [tags: Signs Writing Symbols Essays Symbolism]
:: 11 Works Cited
2258 words
(6.5 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
The Use of Technology for Teacher Professional Development Essay - Prior to this decade, best practices for technology as a component for professional development/in-service training didn’t exist to the extent that it does today. In education, the term “best practices” refers to a shorthand emblem of serious, thoughtful, informed, responsible, state-of-the-art teaching (Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde, 2005). Because technology is rapidly evolving in ways that encourage innovation and discovery, best practices that were appropriate for the traditional classroom are no longer feasible with a new generation of students that are raised in a “tech-savvy” society....   [tags: best practices, technology, educational change] 780 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Learning with Technology - Introduction Technology has brought about many changes in today’s society. We interact, exchange information, and socialize in whole new ways that were not even possible twenty years ago. These changes apply to all areas of life, and can even be incorporated into the classroom to bring about positive results in students. The use of technology in the classroom for cooperative learning, personalized learning, and group learning have the potential for great impact on the way learners learn and teachers teach....   [tags: Technology ]
:: 12 Works Cited
2233 words
(6.4 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on The Relevance of Behavioral Psychology to Instructional Technology - The Relevance of Behavioral Psychology to Instructional Technology Behavioral Psychology Defined John Watson wrote a paper in the Psychological Review in 1913 and defined behavioral psychology or behaviorism as …a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness....   [tags: Psychology Psychological Papers]
:: 7 Works Cited
1509 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Exploration of Instructional Designs Essay - In this Exploration of Instructional Designs, I will define and provide examples of each type of design. The district that I will use to provide abstract information as evidence of the use of instructional Design is Charter School for Applied Technologies. This school is located at 2303 Kenmore Ave in the city of Buffalo, New York. The mission statement and vision of this School District is as follows: Mission Statement: The mission of The Charter School for Applied Technologies ("CSAT") is to provide an excellent academic education with skill sets relevant to careers in applied technologies....   [tags: Design] 1424 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]




At first glance, the activity associated with the Internet projects had a constructivist look. Teachers spent very little time giving direction and students were very active. Students were eager to help each other, and teachers spent most of their time facilitating student work. Students had many opportunities to tell teachers what they had found, and it was common to hear teachers respond with comments such as "I didn't know that." (Gardner & Gillingham, 1996) Most of the assignments offered students some degree of choice, increasing their level of interest and providing the opportunity to relate to their experiences.
Classroom Experience

The students seemed comfortable and motivated as they clicked from site to site, and while some students seemed interested in what they encountered, most were also intent on satisfying the requirements of the particular assignment. A closer look at the assignments, however, suggested that teacher practice had not changed in constructivist directions. In general, the assignments expected students to answer a number of factual questions. All but a few of the questions could be categorized as knowledge retrieval. Exceptions were found at the end of the states and the stock exchange assignments in which the final questions asked students for their opinions.
A look at some assignments that did not involve the Internet showed a similar emphasis on finding and reporting facts, as well as on higher-order thinking. All teachers indicated during their interviews that getting the students to think was the most difficult thing they did. However, it was clear to us that the addition of the Internet to the classroom had not yet increased the frequency with which students were expected to go beyond fact finding.
The idea that students spend some time teaching others is also consistent with the constructivist theory. Teachers understand that explaining something to others is an effective way to help fortify one's own knowledge structure. For this reason, many modern lesson plans allow for peer teaching on the part of the students. I found that using the Internet promotes this type of peer interaction and that it often allowed students to go one step further by teaching the teachers. In this context, teaching may be defined as nothing more than sharing simple facts, although it is not necessarily limited to such a fundamental learning activity.
Instructional Technology History

“Since microcomputers first entered the classroom more than 20 years ago, students have helped teachers learn how to use various operating systems, programming languages and applications.” (Newby, Stepich, Lehman & Russell, 1997) Computer experts among the teaching ranks have often been those teachers with the highest predisposition to learn from the most capable students. With the introduction of the Internet as an information source, the opportunities for all students to teach the teacher have greatly expanded. Given the massive amount of information available on the Internet, any student is now able to find information not formerly known by the teacher. “Students are likely to be energized and motivated as they report new information to teachers. Teachers who accept this notion can then build it into their plans so that all students are expected to teach the teacher.” (Forcier, 1996)
Student Interaction

My observation of students and teachers support the notion that the Internet increases this type of interaction. Teachers and students alike felt this was a good thing. Students enjoyed telling teachers things they didn't know, and the teachers felt this added to the students' excitement and motivation. The message for teachers considering Internet use is to be prepared to learn more from the students as they dig for information. This requires that teachers adjust their attitudes to accept this type of role reversal.

During my observations, I noticed girls were at least as comfortable as the boys were in searching for information on the Internet. I found this to contradict the current research that supports the notion that computers favor males in the school population. Many studies show boys are more likely to take computer courses and are generally more comfortable using computers than girls. If our observations are any indication, the Internet appears to shift this advantage toward females. It changes the face of the computer world from one centered on programming and adventure games to one that includes a significant communications focus. For those who have only used the computer to browse the Internet and send e-mail, the computer must seem like nothing more than an innovative communications device.

The girls in the observation were comfortable searching for information on the Internet and were also more likely to take the time to read what they found. Boys, however, were more likely to look at the pictures and quickly move on to the next link. It was common to see one or two girls reading multiple pages of text, while boys in general only lingered when they found something entertaining. Several sites featured in the stock exchange project offered games or animations. Boys were quick to engage in these activities and share them with friends. Girls were not immune, however, from the urge to just finish the task at hand. During one visit, students were shown how to preview Web pages prior to printing. This was done to save paper and printer supplies. After finding a Web page that seemed valuable, one girl determined that the print command would produce five printed pages. So, she elected only to print the first two since she didn't want to read all five pages.
Forms of Communication

Although the schools had not started to engage students in two-way communications, student focus groups revealed that girls spent at least as much time, and probably more, communicating via the Internet at home. Instant messaging was popular with most of the students. At first we didn't understand why students would type messages to each other when it would be easier to call each other on the telephone. Several students indicated their parents would rather see them working on the computer than talking on the telephone. I realized that instant messaging allowed groups of students to communicate. It also allowed each student to be part of more than one conversation at a time. Such activities were much more similar to the conversations in which girls typically engage at lunchtime. Conversely, during such free time, I found that the boys were more likely to play computer games they brought from home or browse sites related to their favorite toys.

Using the Internet as an additional source of information increased the data available, and in some cases, allowed for assignments that were otherwise impossible. While the Internet projects featured active students and teachers guiding student work, this was not remarkably different from student and teacher project behavior before the Internet arrived. If districts expect teachers to use the Internet in a manner that increases higher-order thinking, they need to build this into their staff development plans. In my opinion, this should be part of the district's overall instructional plan rather than something that is solely relegated to the technology plan. It makes more sense from my viewpoint for the district plan for instruction to include the role of technology rather than a district technology plan that tries to change fundamental teaching practices.

The very nature of the information found on the Internet should also provide an opportunity to increase the frequency of higher-order thinking efforts. Finding information is now easier and much more is available; however, there is a price to pay for this additional information. Teachers, librarians or textbook publishers do not necessarily prescreen Internet information, unlike information from textbooks or library sources. The teachers and students in the observation seemed to understand that information on the Internet could not always be trusted

Conclusion

Once a district has the infrastructure in place, what can be done to increase teacher practice in constructivist directions? The key is to ensure the staff development program promotes active students facing cognitive challenges. This is at the heart of constructivist practice. “Assignments should be designed to give students higher-order thinking tasks at the beginning, while showing them that fact finding is a way to solve problems and support conclusions.” (Forcier, 1996) In the case of some of the projects we studied, students could have been told that forming and defending an opinion was the main task rather than the last of 10 questions. If possible, tasks should be open-ended so students will stop asking if they have the correct answer and start evaluating their efforts.

References

Garner, Ruth and Gillingham, Mark G. (1996). Internet Communication in Six Classrooms: Conversations across Time, Space, and Culture.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Michael R. and Thompson, Ann. (1997). Educational Computing Foundations.
Upper Saddle River, JN: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Forcier, Richard C. (1996). The Computer as a Productivity Tool in Education.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Newby, Timothy J., Stepich, Donald A., Lehman, James D. and Russell, James D. (1997).
Instructional Technology for Teaching and Learning. W.Lafayette, IN: Prentice-Hall, Inc.


Return to 123HelpMe.com