Planning is the most essential element of technology integration; it establishes technology as the critical component of the middle school learning process. The development team will include district representatives, middle school education professionals and teachers, instructional designers, parents, and stakeholders. Technology integration will replace traditional vision of the learning process: “learning about technology” will be replaced with “learning with technology” educational principles. Curriculum Planning Process Introduction
In his introduction to the book The Computer in School, Taylor gives three roles of the computer in a learning environment: tool, tutor, and tutee (Taylor, 1980). Integrating technology in the curriculum is a responsible mission; it requires that all three roles of the technology are re-considered and applied to a particular learning environment. In case with middle school children, and with the need to promote better technological opportunities in basic sciences curriculum, we will need to develop a sound implementation plan.
It is essential that the rationale for technology implementation is provided; we will also have to evaluate available learning resources, and to create a sound assessment plan, to ensure that all curriculum plan objectives have been achieved. Rationale It is not enough to understand the benefits of using technology in classroom. It is more important to know that successful technology integration would be impossible without using reliable planning techniques.
“It has been repeatedly found that careful planning is a prerequisite for the effective implementation of technology and telecommunications in education and training” (Hadley & Sheingold, 1990). The plan should be aimed at satisfying the needs of the young learners. Planning procedures should involve all parties that influence or may influence technology integration in curriculum. Technology is critical for the development of learners’ technical abilities, analytical and critical thinking, and for making them prepared to further education and work.
Planning is the most essential element of technology integration; it establishes technology as the critical component of the middle school learning process; it helps evaluate available technological and human resources. The plan guides teachers and learners towards achieving their learning objectives and helps satisfy their learning needs. Development team Before creating the development team, it is important to determine, what parties and what representatives will directly or indirectly influence technology integration in curriculum.
The development team must involve as many parties as it is possible, to ensure the objectivity of the curriculum planning process. The development team will include district representatives, middle school education professionals and teachers, instructional designers, parents, and stakeholders. “Effective projects continue to involve advisory groups in the planning as well as for ongoing support and monitoring of the project and revision of the plan when needed” (Hadley & Sheingold, 1990).
Although these advisory groups will not be a part of the development team, they will substantially improve the quality of technology integration into middle school science curriculum. Resources If the middle school has any type of technology plan, this plan should be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed before technology integration occurs. Usually, schools possess several different types of media resources that describe the importance of technology use as related to the middle school learning objectives.
In our case, the scope of planning procedures will be somewhat narrowed to cover only the basic science curriculum. The written and factual information about middle school computer resources should be analyzed. Ultimately, the profound analysis of the middle school budget opportunities will develop an objective opinion about school’s financial resources and financial gaps that may prevent effective integration of technology in science curriculum. Mission (vision) statement
Technology integration in middle school science curriculum will improve the quality of scientific knowledge at all levels of the learning process. Technology integration will replace traditional vision of the learning process: “learning about technology” will be replaced with “learning with technology” educational principles (Schofield, 1995). Objectives Technology integration in middle school science curriculum will pursue several strategic objectives: – to make technology the integral element of science curriculum;
– to broaden the access of middle school learners to technological solutions during science classrooms; – to help students learn and practice scientific knowledge acquired throughout the course of learning; – to provide young learners with practical “technology” experience in various types of learning contexts; – to provide students, teachers, and instructional designers with an opportunity to network their efforts for the development of “more technological” science curriculum vision; – to help teachers fully evaluate the benefits of using technology in classroom.
Action steps and timeline 1. At the first stage of curriculum and technology integration, the development team will evaluate the middle school technological needs. The development team will need to deal with the young learners’ needs, and with the needs of professional staff. These needs will be thoroughly documented to be later used throughout the curriculum planning process. 2. The second stage of curriculum planning will imply the need for evaluating available computer, financial, and human resources that would later be used to integrate technology in middle school science curriculum.
Here, the team of education professionals will have to align the existing resources and opportunities to the needs of the learners and the staff. 3. “Any technology integration requires that teachers engage in rethinking, reshifting, and reshaping their curriculum” (Means, 1994). At the third stage of curriculum planning, education professionals and instructional designers will have to rethink the role of technology in science curriculum, and to develop a set of basic activities to be used in science classrooms.
These activities will further facilitate smooth integration of technology in curriculum. 4. The development team will identify what hardware, software, and related equipment is needed to integrate newly designed activities into curriculum. Within the reasonable timeline, and taking into account the middle school budget opportunities, the team will purchase, install, and run the new equipment to ensure that it satisfies all learning needs of the middle school students. 5.
The development team will develop and implement a set of evaluation procedures, to assess the effectiveness of technology integration in science curriculum, and to see whether technology positively impacts the learning outcomes across all grades. Evaluation Technology integration will be incomplete, if the development team and education professionals are unable to evaluate integration results, and to determine whether all strategic planning objectives have been achieved.
To determine whether the technology integration has been successful, we will need to evaluate student learning outcomes, and to compare them to previous educational achievements in basic sciences. We will need to evaluate teachers’ ability to use technology in classroom. We will need to see, whether teachers can broaden the scope of technology application in classroom, and whether they constantly develop new activities involving the use of technology. We will perform regular self-reporting surveys to see whether young learners are satisfied with the new approaches towards studying sciences in middle school.
References Hadley, M. & Sheingold, K. (1990). Accomplished teachers: Integrating computers into classroom practice. New York: Center for Technology in Education. Means, B. (1994). Using technology to advance education reform. In B. Means (ed), technology and education reform: the reality behind the promise, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Schofield, J. W. (1995). Computers and classroom culture. Cambridge University Press. Taylor, R. P. (1980). Introduction. In R. P. Taylor, The computer in school: tutor, tool, tutee, New York: Teachers College Press.