Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Texas Long Range Plan for Technology, 2006-2020: Teaching and Learning:MY OPINION

Ok you asked for it so you got it! The Texas LRPT is really just an extension at the state level of NCLB. Many very good things have come from NCLB. What has impacted education the most is the constant emphasis on the use research-based strategies to improve academic achievement. This is really just a good sound idea.
Here is a bit for you from the Texas LRPT as it pertains to teaching and learning.
All learners:
• have access to relevant technologies, tools, resources and services for individualized instruction 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
• use information and communication technologies to collaborate, construct knowledge and provide solutions to real-world problems and situations that are encountered.
• use research-based strategies in all subject areas to improve academic achievement.
• communicate effectively in a variety of formats for diverse audiences
Once again I emphasize a very solid approach that has its own "elastic clause" for flexibility focusing on "best practices". We all know that this has inspired much research and I think created a new and challenging trend for teachers and learners to grow more in the classroom by allowing themselves to get a little out of their comfort zone in the name of teaching and learning.
I would like to cite my own small yet significant progress as a classroom teacher since I have learned to harness a bit of technology. Daily I utilize a large overhead projector and a computer that allows me to supplement lectures with short yet relevant streaming videos that reinforce learning. I also regularly access interactive games on the overhead for the class to play. Games in which they learn not only history but the history they need to know ("power standards"). PowerPoint’s are also now utilized and more easily customized by yours truly in a way I never imagined a few short years ago. Does it help? Yes, of course it does. It allows me a variety of ways to get across many key concepts and ideas that spiral through the curriculum. Presently I am waiting for my new Smart board to get mounted in my classroom. I can't wait to fully harness the power of this tool. It is not an end all but an excellent tool to enhance learning that utilizes that vast amount of educator resource on the internet. It is also a great way to share new ideas with colleagues by saying things like "hey, check this interactive lesson out we did on the smartboard today".

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