Welcome to Donna Lett's Instructional Technology page. This page was created especially for high school math teachers to serve as a resource for integrating technology into the classroom.
In today's technological age, I believe the role of the teacher is changing. Teachers are becoming leaders, guides, and role models, among other titles, to their students rather than just instructors. Technology is a tool that is allowing us to change roles and provide students with the skills they can use beyond the classroom.
Project Development is a four step process. The first step is accessing information. Students need to be able to search out and find the information they need. The second step is manipulation. Once students have found information then they need to be able to use it in a way that is meaningful to them so that learning is enhanced. This step is called manipulation. The third step is synthesis. This is the step where students learn to think on a higher level.
Students learn to take the information they have gathered and manipulated and become thinkers or processers of the information rather than just knowledge level thinking. The last step in project development is presentation. Students need to take the processed information and present it in a manner that others can learn from the project. During this process students become teachers themselves.
It is my opinion that project development is a process that teachers should mentor to their students as students can learn by example. When we follow this process and lead our students we are giving them the tools they need to be successful learners outside the schoolhouse. If we can do this, then we are successful teachers.
Teachers should focus on the curriculum with the use of technology as a teaching and learning tool. Since all students are not alike and do not learn in the same way, then we as teachers need to use a variety of communication techniques. In the past, teachers in general were lecturers. Today, teachers are using the the world wide web as a resource for communicating the curriculum to their students. It is important to mention here that teachers need to educate students to the fact that not everything they read on the web is the gospel truth. When students are given the task of surfing the web to find information, they need to be made aware of how to evaluate sources and determine their credibility. Teachers can also use the web by preparing e-sheets that direct the students to specific sites. Students explore these sites and then answer questions which should require synthesis level thinking.
Teaching thinking using technology is important if students are going to be prepared for life outside the classroom. If we can teach students to be better thinkers, then they will be better equipped to make sound decisions. In a math class, technology is a valuable tool which can make math relevant to the everyday life of a student rather than just some problem in a textbook that doesn't have any meaning to the student. Technology allows students to have hands-on experience in solving problems they see in their own lives as well as those of the adults in their lives.
Assistive technologies provides students that have special needs a fair playing field. Students who once were placed into special education classes can now be successful in the "regular" classroom because of technology. Students with a speech impairment or in a wheelchair can connect to the internet and be heard as an equal without the listener judging him or her as not having anything important to say. Computers can now We now have the means to provide these students with the same opportunities once afforded only those without special needs. These students too need to be prepared to have a productive and meaningful life in and beyond the classroom.
Technology is a valuable tool that provides educators with the opportunity to make learning a pleasant and meaningful experience for students. It should not sit on a shelf and gather dust. We need to use this resource to make a difference in the lives of our students.