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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework

                                                              Michael O’Connor
                                                              INMD 410
                                                              Aug. 2, 2003

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework

       ”It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our

humanity.” Albert Einstein challenges a theory from which our purpose in this

course dictates. I believe it is safe to assume that even with the expansive

knowledge this man possessed that he may have never been able to predict the

wave of technology that stands before us. Sure, he may have been able to

safely foreshadow great advancements based his scientific discoveries, but did

such a statement allow him to merely stand pat with his assertions…absolutely

not. Reflective of the same ideology, despite our certain differences, I

approached this course in a very similar manner. Erica Meiner’s class gave me a

more than valuable experience, but I was cognizant of the certainty that upon

enrolling in a technology class for educators the tasks would be more difficult. I

knew that by adopting the philosophy of constantly renewing my previous

knowledge, the components of this class would not only be greatly beneficial in

terms of individual advancement and assessment, but also when utilized in both

practical and Real-World instances. By illuminating what you have previously

learned, technology has the capability to expand knowledge and bridge to

innovative techniques to which a person can learn from.

       In recollection of our first days of class the cooperative activity that

enabled us to meet one another particularly left an imprint of how creative a

classroom could be for even the simplest tasks. Transitions were made

seemingly effortless in those instances when you would infuse methodology into

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework
the lessons throughout the course. This mirrors the pedagogy that we must

possess as educators. We must develop the ability to cater to the various

learning styles students possess, while at the same time remembering the

standards we must fulfill as educators in the realms of technology. Because in

effect, the course of our actions will dictate how well students learn and how

effective we truly can be.

       There are an abundant amount of methods to which a teacher can ascribe

to, many of which may pertain to the individual’s educational philosophies. The

Instructional Approach to Learning grid certainly shed some light on the shaping

of my philosophy. In pondering how I would ask my students to exhibit some of

the objects they viewed while at their field trip this summer, I immediately

decided to challenge the students by asking them to assemble an organizational

chart on Powerpoint. The true value of this grid came to surface when a vast

majority of the students steadily worked, perhaps intrigued by the aesthetically

pleasing displays the children viewed on their screens. Quite obviously

requesting students to compose a few sentences with a picture could have

fulfilled the lesson, but I knew that by exposing the children to a program they

had never seen, the constructivist approach could be utilized to capitalize on

early childhood students’ tendency in being geared toward an activity using the

Expression/Visualization approach on the computer. Identifying which of the

technology applications work in concert with the advancement of student learning

is not the whole question, but also assessing the complexity and level of student

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework
engagement that emanates from the finished product is what determines the

value of the lesson.

       Upon using Powerpoint I immediately took note of the limitless

possibilities. Aforementioned I was able to link the use of the program even to a

very young grade level. But what I discovered to be also great is the programs

ability to be aesthetically pleasing while at the same time having the capacity to

be used in professional development workshops. I attended two workshops

throughout the year and was in awe in some of the clip art, word art, and graphic

images that were used. At one workshop I simply was in awe of the fact that

over 50 slides were used. However since having gone through IMND and

basically mastering through repetition of the program, I can honestly say a

presentation of such size is no longer something I couldn’t possibly compose in

the future.

       One certainty of my experience in the classroom as it is related to this

course connects through the certainty of today’s children growing up in a ‘digital’

world. Their view of the world is quite different from that of many teachers. They

are growing up with unprecedented access to information, people, and ideas that

allow them to formulate belief systems at an earlier age than ever before. What I

have come to somewhat question above and beyond the issue of technology

exposure in the classroom, is the issue of whether technology can really be the

end-all answer to some of the dilemmas that surround our schools. Some

contend that urban decay and class polarization are representative of

formulations of a problem that can be solved with the right technology. If only

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework
every school across the globe could boast that teachers are responsible for

enabling students to experience the ‘digital’ world in the confines of school to

solve such problems. Just imagine a world full of computers at home and in the

classroom to solve our problems. This way of thinking about cyberspace

substitutes life on the screen for life in our bodies and physical communities.

Because the fact is, technology should never be recognized as a substitute for

bestowing knowledge to our youth but viewed as learning tool, or asset to a

community of medias. Parents, teachers, priests, friends, extended family, as

well as even television and the Internet are all voices that students can obtain

information from which to learn. In turn, one may pose the question what

material is suitable for our children to experience. In my opinion, the cycle

reverts back to the classroom where children, in many cases, are watched more

closely over their shoulders when on the computer than they are at home. So

why shouldn’t technology be the answer for at least some of our questions?

       The value of obtaining a skill for the use of your professional career is

quite obviously an asset. Whether the instrument is a palm pilot, Proxima

projector, or cellular phone an individual needs to possess the essential

knowledge in order to operate it. Yet the knowledge that is gained through the

means of this course carries a lot more weight than some may actually realize.

Because technology has grown to be such a rampant part of our day to day life in

spite of its relatively short life span, the components of this class really challenge

people in this class to take part in the ongoing process of technology as it

progresses onward. I realize that although these applications are of great use, in

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework
a sense there is still much more to learn. I understand that these concepts

stretch above and beyond what we learned. I am fully aware of the fact that the

programs used in this class don’t make-up every single application out on the

market. This is why I see now, more than I had before taking this course, that

technology will be an on-going learning process. For the purposes of my own

personal advancement and for the sake of my student’s personal gain,

implementing the use of technology will only benefit the classroom environment

as whole for the duration of our quest in being lifelong learners.

       In applying Publisher as part of the final project I came across a vital

quality in regards to my learning experience in this class. Since a majority of

what is entailed in this class delves into what should be applied into today’s

classroom and the methodology that germinates thereto, I was appeased to

discern how I was able to make a connection to a Real-World application. My

father has decided to run for political office in two years. As a result, he has

elected to compose a periodical that can be distributed to residents to display his

views and comments about the current administration. Due to his lack of

computer savviness, I was not only able to assist him in becoming better

acclimated with the program, but also confident enough to decipher between

what templates would best fit his ideas and article lengths. Understandably this

course is geared toward the education field and the methodology that stems from

it, but I have discovered that in the application a learned skill across multiple

learning environments you as a learner have truly maximized its true value, but

also the extent to which you can bestow knowledge upon others. The value of

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework
using the computer as a useful tool in the classroom cannot be disputed,

however the tremendous sense of worth that comes from expanding your

knowledge outside of the classroom into practical applications is what will

prepare us as a society to progress forward as technology moves abruptly


       My participation in this course further illuminates the position I have in

being a dual learner. Performing the dual role of teacher and student compels

me to not only remember once again my role as a student, but to also reiterate

what I have learned in a professional and articulated manner. The fact that this

course has made me more proficient in the operation of programs, doesn’t

automatically give me the expertise to demonstrate, for example, without

constant repetition and application. In other words, I may know the program but

am I savvy enough to be virtually flawless for a whole group demonstration?

Subtler is the role theory that plays in confronting teachers’ common sense and

in reminding them what it is like to be a beginner. When this theory helps explain

difficulties students have in the application of such programs in combination with

difficulty from the teacher, student’s esteem can be better buffered in their

hesitance to begin a new application. On the other hand, it is rather simplistic to

stress the importance of being smooth in your conveyances. Not being able to

bring your entire class into such a focus could be a sign of inadequacy, which

could produce a lack of confidence in their instructor that could lead to student

apathy and disinterest. Though what I have come to understand, that has held

true with computer applications thus far, is that the field needs to be learned from

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The Continuity of Technology Within my Conceptual Framework
within and that a considerable amount of mucking around (28 repetitions

separated by sleep?!) is necessary.

       As the infusion of the computer takes its course throughout my

educational experience at NEIU, I cannot help but compare my technological

competence with that of other staff members of my school. Albeit many of my

fellow teachers are from the traditional school of teaching where whole group

instruction is basically the extent of their teaching style, the use of the computer

seems to only stretch to threshold of the computer lab doorway. I would even

venture to pledge that many of the teachers in my building, of master degree

status, have the faintest idea what Powerpoint or Composer is, not to mention

child-friendly software such as Inspiration. The fact that teachers do not utilize

these programs is simply mind-boggling much less incomprehensible considering

the fact that on the first day of our class meeting we were presented with the

ISTE standards. I have to hold myself back practically in sounding off in their

hesitance to fulfill such requirements. The most upsetting fact is, however, is that

the computer instructor in our building hasn’t even opened the ISTE standard

handbook since she has been employed there! I know in reading this it may be

difficult to believe but all of these accusations are true. Which is why I intend on

asking my principal to perhaps allow me to facilitate a seminar of sorts on how to

compose a Powerpoint presentation. It seems like a relatively easy program to

learn, even for beginners, and I know that the use of this program will stimulate

most if not all of the students to learn the program if there computer literacy

permits them to do so.

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       Through integrating more workshops into the school district’s community

students will ideally be able to benefit from the fast-paced world of technology-if

they don’t already do so. While reading, writing, listening and speaking is

paramount in schools, today’s student must be able to decipher meaning and

express ideas through a range of media. In the professional working world and

beyond a literate person must not only excel in reading and writing text, but must

also be able to write fluently through such visualizations as video, images, charts

and graphs. The level of literacy a student can obtain is only as expansive as the

environment around them. This notion is proven by the basic literacy that was

known in the 1900’s that merely required students to write their name and later

on their education decode text.

       Computer literacy, as it pertains to being an educator in today’s society,

sparks inquiry as to when an educator may have to acclimate themselves with

the current technology standards. In taking this course I have met several

people who are nearing the end of their coursework in completing their master’s

degree. I say this with devout honesty and without plea for a grade, but without

this course and the two I enrolled in previously I could not even imagine going

through my entire Master’s program without having a technology course geared

toward educators. I have even exclaimed the very same belief to my advisor, in

which she responded quite happily to my happiness to my compliments toward

the course. This is why it is my contention that above any and all graduate level

courses students should have to take some technology course before or shortly

after their entrance into the program. Without such a class students would never

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be able to have the in-class instruction necessitated to apply these programs.

Thankfully enough I have had an instructors in each of my two semesters who

not only instill media-rich content in their class, but also instill within their

pedagogy a push for students to participate in the continuous learning principles

that surround the experiential, fast-paced environments in which we reside.

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