Technology on the Rise at IS Beijing

Ok, this isn’t written in a first person point-of-view fashion as is typically presented in a blog since I wrote it in collaboration with the fantastic Jeff Plaman. However, It does present my first published musings on the role of technology in learning, so that’s why I’m presenting it here.
A new school year often brings exciting, new changes and opportunities for teachers and students alike. This year is no different, especially as it relates to technology. Over the summer, all high school teachers were issued a laptop which has been set up to be used in offices, classrooms, and around school at the wireless hotspots.  The ISB (International School of Beijing) network and student-accessible computers were updated to include current software and faster network access. At the same time, two teachers, Thomas Galvez (social studies) and Jeff Plaman (science), have been designated as Technology Integration Specialists. Each have been given release time to work with high school teachers as they begin to infuse technology to promote and enhance student learning as it relates to curricular goals and learning targets.

Traditionally, “technology” (or ICT) refers to computers, software, their peripherals, and the Internet being used as tools in the learning process. Other devices (smartphones, PDA’s, electronic readers, gaming, etc) are gaining popularity as network access and availability improves. One thing that we can certainly count on is that we can’t predict what technology tools will be available in the future.  Because of this, we try to focus on the process of learning with technology rather than the tool itself. Many studies are being published on the benefit of teaching with technology. Teachers can create more engaging, differentiated lessons and assessments.  Technology opens more avenues of communication, collaboration, and networking between teachers, students, and parents. Access to information from diverse perspectives, professionals, and media formats from around the world inform our decision making processes as we tackle real-world problems.  And, it allows for students to be more creative and innovative in their problem solving and communication, a key quality that many universities and employers are looking for as the 21st century evolves. Being able to use technology effectively is a critical 21st century skill.

Many teachers have already taken steps to incorporate the use of technology in meaningful ways. Along with the now “traditional” use of computers for word processing, creating presentations, and facilitating online research, some teachers have been using wikis and social networking applications to better facilitate communication, collaboration, and activities outside of the classroom; YouTube videos are being used to visually enhance concepts being presented in class; collaborative projects are taking place with schools around the world via Skype, Google Docs, and VoiceThreadLast year a new ASA was created called High School Podcast which gives students the chance to create an audio news broadcast that can be downloaded or listened to directly from the Internet. More examples of technology integration are occurring every week.

With the creative inspiration of the teachers and the assistance of the Technology Integration Specialists, the meaningful use of technology as a tool and environment for teaching and learning will continue to grow here at ISB.

About togalearning

Technology Learning Coach, High School Social Studies and online IB Psychology teacher

Posted on September 21, 2008, in Education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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