Saturday, April 19, 2014

Maintaining A Growth Mindset Amongst The Obstacles of Technology Integration

  Now that computers have found their way into virtually every school and classroom in the country and the ratio of computers to students has increased dramatically, (Maddux, Johnson 2009) can educators use these technology tools to enrich learning environments?

The challenges that teachers face daily of integrating technology into their classroom is abundant.  Technology funding and device equality from school to school in our district shows digital divide.  The movement to obtain and upgrade technology structures that are necessary for PARC and CMAS testing will continue to prove funding difficulties.  Another major obstacle for educators is the excellent and ongoing training opportunities and in-service education needed to integrate  technology effectively isn’t apparent in most school districts.  Technology training and education is self-regulated by the interested individual teacher or sub-groups.  One of the  biggest criticism of integration of technology into classrooms and content areas is that Higher Education has not been successful in providing leadership. Leadership is needed by academic or practitioners that is soundly supported by research and development projects that give evidence to support the effective and efficient practices in schools and at all levels.  This lack of research could lead to technology integration being thought of as the latest fad or fashion.

“Let’s make sure that the quality of the content we put in front of our kids
                  is measured by research rather than by “likes.”” -Mary Cullinane

Cullinane (2014) also states that investment in research is needed on brain science to improve the teaching and learning process.  This will enable curriculum experts, educators and content providers to understand the goal of education is learning, not just using technology. Used effectively, technology can support the learning process in many ways.

     Developing and maintaining a growth mind-set about technology is imperative when implementing it into your student’s curriculum content.  By embracing the challenges and obstacles as a classroom teacher, you can model problem-solving first hand. My 2nd graders know some strategies if issues of internet connectivity arise. (They sit at table by door - that is where the best wifi signal is.)  Demonstrating failure is an opportunity to learn in front of your students, and can be a powerful tool.  (Students understand and love gaming online, and know what it means to fail before they succeed.)  Educator’s effort can be seen not as something useless to be avoided but a necessity to grow and master useful skills.

     The growth mind-set educator will know that there will be criticism and negativity when applying theory and technology.   However, using research based, theory based technology applications will bring credible skills into the classroom.  Learning from the success of others who have participated in quality technology applications is imperative.  As new technologies are discovered, evaluation and research to the ties of student learning are important.  Understanding that having a growth mind-set will unblock the highway to digital learning and let you start to visualize the beautiful sights along the way (while you are waiting for something to load).

     So while obstacles and challenges can’t be avoided in technology integration, maintaining a growth mind-set about this topic is essential as we move forward with our students.

Cullinane, Mary (2014) OPINION: Ban "Digital" Learning  Retrieved 4/18/14 from:              
Maddux, C. D., & JOHNSON, D. (2009). Theories, Concepts, and Techniques: Too Much of
     a Number of Good Things?. Computers In The Schools, 26(3), 165-168.              
Richard, M.G. (2014) Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Which One Are You? Retrieved