Technology and Education: Issues in Administration, Policy, and Applications in K12 Schools: Volume 8


Table of contents

(24 chapters)

That teaching and learning with technology has no meaning apart from teachers and learners is the important message of this fine collection of essays. The editors, Sharon Tettegah and Richard Hunter, are to be commended for their timely volume entitled, Technology and Education: Issues in Administration, Policy, and Applications in K-12 Schools. While the message that machines are meaningless without human minds seems self-evident, there is something about computerized technologies – in schools especially – that undermines and over-rides this important insight. At a time when the wonders of “wireless” and “wiki” distract more than ever from the main educational game, this wide-ranging anthology presents a persuasive and powerful testimony reaffirming the fundamental principle that educational technologies are only as effective as the curriculums, the pedagogies, and the assessment practices that frame their usage.

David M. Marcovitz suggests that public education has not changed very much in the last 100 years, in spite of information and communication technology (ICT). Is ICT simply another educational fad or will it have a lasting impact on K-12 education? Lisa C. Yamagata-Lynch and Sharon Smaldino maintain there have been several examples of effective uses of technology in K-12. However, the inability of public schools and higher education to properly train teachers has severely limited the success of using computer technology in most public schools. Sharon Tettegah, Diana Betout, and Kona Taylor describes cyber-bullying, as a phenomenon that is creating difficulty for educators and has led to the humiliation of many students across the nation. David Williamson Shaffer and Kurt D. Squire argue that researchers of educational technology should study Pasteur's Quadrant for “use-inspired basic research” to create better models to evaluate educational practices and the use of technology. John Keller and Matthew J. Stuve discuss teacher quality, a topic that has taken on greater importance since NCLB. They also talk about the use of “teacher as brand” as a construct to further affect teacher quality. In connection, branding has been a very successful venture in the commercial context.

Change is constant in schools. Educational fads come and go while many believe that schools of today have changed little over the last hundred years. Enter information and communication technology (ICT). Is it just another fad that will pass? Is it window dressing for schools that are fundamentally the same? A quick “yes” to these questions fails to understand the nature of ICT, the nature of schools, and the nature of innovation in schools. This chapter explores models of innovation to help schools understand the change process and how to use models of change to support innovation with ICT.

Recent reports in the news media indicates a vast majority of children are connected to the Internet and the World Wide Web. As more children connect online, they bring their behaviors that were once principally face-to-face, to the Internet. This chapter is concerned with online aggression, specifically school age bullying. Children's capacity to bully their peers is growing because of increased use of electronic and wireless information communication technologies. Anonymity provides a venue to engage in risky cyber-bullying for today's children. Schools district need to be aware of the dangers and psychological effects of cyber-bullying.

It has been well documented that the successful use of technology in K-12 education improves student achievement. However, both K-12 schools and higher education institutions have not been able to systematically provide preservice and inservice teachers with adequate training and support. This chapter will examine the K-12 school–university partnership literature, and identify critical support elements that are necessary for successful change related to technology both in higher education and the K-12 classrooms. Additionally, we will introduce two characteristics from the NCATE Partnership Standards and how schools and universities can use them to guide relationships and how they approach the school technology reform process.

In his book Pasteur's Quadrant, Donald Stokes (1997) argued that research projects can be described by their contributions to theoretical understanding and the solution of practical problems. Building on this model, scholars have suggested that educational research should focus more or less exclusively on what Stokes called “use-inspired basic research.” With this move has come a focus on projects with the potential to create systemic change – and the concurrent devaluation of naturalistic studies of learning in context and design research to develop innovative educational interventions. We argue that this current predilection is based on a fundamental misreading of the processes through which scientific investigation addresses practical problems, and (more important) is counter-productive for the field of educational technology. To make this case, we look more closely at the operationalization of Stokes’ quadrant model in the field of education, suggesting that its short-term focus on systemic change is based on a misunderstanding of history. We use Latour's (1983) study of Pasteur to suggest an alternative lever model for the research-based transformation of educational practices through educational technologies. By way of illustration, we use a brief example of a research project in educational technology to ground a discussion of the broader implications of this alternative conceptualization of the process of education research.

With the advance of web portals, teacher portfolios, and other digital means for representing professional productivity, teachers have new strategies for demonstrating their effectiveness and instructional acumen. These external, predominantly norm-referenced methods resemble the concept of “brand” used in economic contexts. This chapter explores the construct of brand and how web presence technologies influence how teacher quality is cultivated for mutual benefit to teachers, schools, and society. We propose a framework for how the profession might respond productively to the demands for demonstrable teacher quality. We briefly discuss the impact on the profession from a teacher advocacy standpoint.

Copyright can be confusing and intimidating for schools. Copyright is difficult enough to understand when dealing with paper, but as new technologies enter the mix, copyright is often ignored as obsolete or is so confusing that even beneficial and legal uses are avoided. While copyright places restrictions on some use of material, educators have many rights to use work created by others. This chapter helps guide educators through the issues relating to copyright and technology so copyright is not used as an automatic “no” to legitimate uses or an automatic “yes” for questionable uses.

The handy alliterative language of a “digital divide” continues to dominate discussions of access to information and communication technologies and their importance for educational, employment, and other life opportunities. Certainly, it must be a topic of crucial public concern if a resource so central to life chances is reinforcing other dimensions of social advantage and disadvantage. And yet, almost as soon as the term gained currency, with its metaphorical imagery of a gulf between technological “haves” and “have nots,” it began receiving criticism for conceptualizing the nature of the problem of technological inequalities in a misleading fashion. This essay reviews the debate over the meanings of the “digital divide,” various attempts to reconceptualize the issue, and why, in our view, the discussion still by and large misses key aspects of the problem.

While numerous approaches have been suggested for the improvement of elementary and secondary education in American urban public schools, one common component of such plans is the more effective utilization of computers, networking, and other educational technologies. When making these considerations, leaders must look at information regarding demographic analysis, assessments, demand factors, and access. The Digital Divide shines a light on the role computers play in widening social gaps throughout our society, particularly between White students and students of color. By providing equitable and meaningful access to technology we can create a stronger assurance that all children step into the 21st century prepared. Home access to computer technology is a continuous area of inequality in American society. If society assumes that academic achievement is facilitated by access to computers both at school and in the home, the gap in access to computer technology is a cause for concern.

Although “acceptable use” policy (AUP) constitutes a fairly straightforward perspective in many school districts – students’ ethical, legal, and personally responsible educational usage of electronic technologies – there is a more ambiguous area of which administrators need to be aware. For example, what constitutes an AUP and who is responsible for creating them and upholding their guidelines? Other issues that need to be thought about are what makes up “appropriate” (instructionally acceptable) standards of educational quality in terms of the content of web sites?

Spurred on by the global economy and greater public interests, technology is no longer a luxury reserved for or exclusively used in wealthy schools. Indeed, educational leaders now experience strong pressure to increase and improve the use of the technology in their schools. Utilizing current research, program models, and best practices, this chapter provides educational administrators with issues associated with the costs of school technology plans, instructional, management, and other topics to address in planning to add or change the use of technology in schools, and a list of basic tenets to assist in creating and operating school technology programs.

This chapter is an attempt at designing a post-positivist way of understanding policy evaluation and practices while exploring a hermeneutic approach toward integrating technology into schools. In this chapter, the author mainly focuses on three central themes on understanding policy making and evaluation: (a) type of practice (b) nature of knowledge, and (c) issue of evaluation. For each of the themes, the author compares a technical-positivist model of understanding policy making and evaluation with a way of understanding drawn from a hermeneutic approach. The former model is committed to and realized by means of an instrumental and objective knowledge for integration; the latter is connected to human existence, who we already are, and who we want to become. In the chapter, the author designs a practical policy and integration unit to partially describe the ethical, political, practical, and deliberative dimensions of the hermeneutic approach toward integrating technology into classroom practices.

Digital libraries (DLs) are currently in place or being developed for a variety of educational applications. These resources offer support for instructional innovation, traditional curricula, and equitable access to learning resources. Yet, the carrot of instructional innovation is often overwhelmed by the stick of conflicting educational policy priorities. This chapter will define and situate the term “educational digital libraries,” and discuss the ways in which sustained use through school libraries and lessons learned from exemplary projects can transform the contemporary educational policy, reform, and learning landscape.

Helping teachers to change practices by adopting new tools and pedagogical approaches is of interest to a wide range of educational researchers and practitioners. We describe a project that has addressed issues surrounding the adoption of a technology tool into a local community. We examine the impact Squeak, an object-orientated programming environment, had on project participants. We observed that both teachers and students developed reasoning and problem-solving skills while using this tool. In order to be successfully integrated, an innovative educational technology requires a collaborative effort between multiple partners. We discuss implications in the context of usability, scalability and sustainability.

This chapter will outline the theory behind collaborative learning environments and describe several projects that best exemplify these theories and how best to incorporate them into the learning styles of the Net Generation's way of learning. Through partnerships with the St. Louis science center and the Children's Museum of Manhattan, visuality and interactivity have been incorporated into displays that demonstrate how these sorts of projects encourage students to collaborate in different ways as well as how teachers can introduce material in a variety of multidisciplinary formats.

Asynchronous communication technologies (ACT), such as email, listservs, and online discussions, have been slow to catch on in K-12 classrooms. Not coincidentally, these are potentially the most transformative of all technologies and the ones most difficult to integrate into a traditional classroom. Teacher training, technical support, and access do not really explain this glaring exclusion. The theoretical standpoint of social informatics– or the ecology of technology and social systems– gives us a productive way of understanding technology's impact– or lack thereof – in school settings. More specifically, the individual/organizational, institutional, national, and societal contexts impede or propel technological integration in any given setting. In light of these contexts, one teacher's successful integration practices are examined. While teachers can effect change in their own classrooms, only administrators can truly effect systemic change, ironically working from the grass-roots up, as one district success story illustrates.

Ubiquitous access to digital technologies is becoming an integral part of our business, home, and leisure environments, yet despite a quarter century of educational technology initiatives, ubiquitous computing remains conspicuously absent from our schools. In this chapter, we argue that simply putting more computers in schools will not solve the problem, but rather that teaching, learning, and technology integration need to be reconceptualized within a ubiquitous computing framework before the full educational possibilities inherent in digital technologies can be realized. Using examples from our laboratory classroom, we discuss how teaching needs to be reconceived more as “conducting” than “instructing”; how learning needs to become more the responsibility of the student, and located with her in an expanded space and time that extends beyond the classroom; and how technology integration needs to be understood not as an add-on, device-driven enterprise, but one motivated by teaching and learning needs and in which multiple technology choices are readily available to teachers and students both within and beyond the classroom.

The early childhood field is full of mixed messages about young children and technology. Research and policy standards stress the importance of computer use as a means to increase basic skills and develop information literacy, while also warning that over-use can lead to children's social isolation and reduced attention spans. It is within this ongoing debate that we situate our research on digital photo journals in a kindergarten/first-grade classroom. Students in our study used a digital camera to document their daily activities and created digital photo journals on the computer to represent their experiences and their surroundings. Our results suggest a novel approach to addressing current debates in educational technology for early childhood, wherein the digital camera and photo journals become explicit tools for exploring social networks, understanding and interpreting the classroom environment, and achieving meaningful technology integration.

This chapter discusses the factors that impact successful incorporation of technology in public schools, specifically in the area of English instruction. Based on the experiences gleaned from a five-year high school/university partnership, the authors identify areas of concern (professional identity, public perception, administrative support) as well as areas that lead to success (cooperative relationships, willingness to redefine roles, focus on student needs).

Today, public schools are under considerable pressure to integrate computer technology into their instructional programs. Results from studies of computer technology usage in public education and its impact on student achievement have not been very promising. Yet, schools are expected to purchase more computers and to incorporate them into classroom instruction. This paper examines several theories of leadership and decision making related to technology integration in primary and secondary schools and their impacts on public education. Finally, a number of leadership strategies for public school superintendents to better integrate computer technology in the instructional programs of public schools are presented.

Diana Betout is a graduate student at the University of Illinois, Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is studying teacher education. She plans to pursue her career as an elementary teacher.

Publication date
Book series
Advances in Educational Administration
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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