Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Four Categories

Learning Point Associates, Critical issue: Using technology to improve student achievement. “Different Types of Technology and their Educational Applications,” Retrieved April 8, 2008, from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory Web site: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te800.htm#type

After reading so much about the idea of the digital divide as a whole, I want to look at certain aspects of this topic in more detail. One idea that I feel is very important when dealing with the digital divide, is the effective implementation of technology into the classroom.

This article is about using technology in the classroom and how and why it is/can be effective.

The main idea of this entire article is:
“Students can learn ‘from’ computers—where technology used essentially as tutors and serves to increase students basic skills and knowledge; and can learn ‘with’ computers—where technology is used a tool that can be applied to a variety of goals in the learning process and can serve as a resource to help develop higher order thinking, creativity and research skills” (Reeves, 1998; Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002, as cited in Learning Point Associates).

Both learning “from” and learning “with” computers can be beneficial to our students, as long as it is done in an educational manner that still covers the topics and standards that need to be covered.

Bruce and Levin (1997) (as cited in Learning Point Associates), “developed the idea of technology as media with four different focuses: media for inquiry, media for communication, media for construction, & media for expression.”

After thinking about these four categories for awhile, I realized that they were actually really accurate. Here’s some examples of each category, suggested by Bruce and Levin (1997) as cited in Learning Point Associates:

  • Media for inquiry: spreadsheets, data modeling, online databases, online microscopes, hypertext
  • Media for communication: word processing, email, conferencing, simulations, tutorials, blogs, wikis
  • Media for construction: robotics, computer-aided design
  • Media for expression: interactive video, animation software, music composition

    I think the reason these four categories appeal to me is so that I can classify what exactly I am using the technology for. It’s easy to list the standards that I cover with each lesson, but this helps to tell me the skill I’m teaching my students, that will benefit them in their future education and career.


Sabrina said...

Hey Jenn! I think you picked a great area to focus on. I liked that quote about the difference between students learning "from" computers and students learning "with" computers. Also, I think that having the four different focuses would help me when I'm planning instruction. Sometimes I think that teachers just throw in a computer application and think they are meeting technology standards. Having teachers reflect on which area of focus their "activity" falls may actually increase the percentage of useful activities for students, thus increasing their technology skill set. Thanks for sharing!

Annette said...

Hi Jenn,
It's so nice when a brilliant writer sums up what we do with technology and puts it into nice, clearly defined categories such as media inquiry, media communication, media for construction, and media for expression! I love it!
Honestly, it is a great way to plan and decide what area your lesson focuses on. I'm glad you are heading towards this area with your blog. I'll be interested to see what you discover. These areas seem to really go hand-in-hand with the NETS standards too.