Training teachers to use technology

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Training Teachers to Use Technology The Alabama Plan By Anna C. McFadden and Eddie Johnson ~ n 1986, it was reported in Phi Delta Kappan that, compared to peer tutoring, adult tutoring, increasing the length of the school day, and decreasing class size, an average CA1 program produces the greatest gains per $100 of instructional expenditure. The com- puter is a highly versatile tool that may be used by the teacher for personal productivity and as a way to expand classroom instructional activities, but despite its proven effectiveness, teachers have been slow to employ advanced computer applications in their classrooms. Why? Mainly because teachers have had very little train- ing in media use. According to Heinich, Molenda, & Russell (1989), teachers rarely use any form of media, including overhead transparencies, models, tapes, vid- eos, or pictures in books and magazines. What Computer Skills Do Teachers Need? Deciding just what skills teachers should have in order to effectively employ technology is a difficult task. This is partly defined by how teachers are expected to conduct their classrooms. Programming in Logo or BASIC or use of computer-assisted instructional software are unsuited to traditional classroom goals. Therefore, the extent of training depends on how much teachers are expected to integrate technology with the curriculum, and the kinds and extent of technologies available. Research shows that as classrooms are mov- ing toward cooperative learning, constructivist models, and reflective teaching, teachers are highly likely to employ more advanced computer applications in the classroom. If so, then teachers need to have a high level of knowledge and proficiency in computer use. Anna C. McFadden is Assistant Professor and Director, Computer Labs, College of Education, The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Eddie Johnson is Assistant State Superintendent ~" Education.for Professional Services, Alabama State Department of Education in Montgomeo,. NOV/DEC 1993 The Alabama Plan The State of Alabama, recognizing the need to assure that practicing teachers will have technical skills to foster wider use of technology in the classroom, passed new legislation (Act 636) in May, 1993, to estab- lish a Teacher Education Scholarship program to pay the costs of a three-course sequence in technology and/or an entire master's degree in education that incorporates the three-course sequence. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) will administer the program, pay tuition and fees, and award scholarships for candi- dates who are admitted to an approved program. Although the program will not be operational until Janu- ary 1994, one thousand teachers have already requested applications to the program. In order for an institution of higher education to participate, it must develop three courses in compliance with the standards, get State Department of Education (SDE) approval for the courses, and incorporate these courses into existing master's degree programs. Setting Technology Standards The first task confronting the State Department of Education was the development of requirements for the three courses. To assure uniformity and high standards, a committee on technology standards was appointed, which included classroom teachers, professors+ and mem- bers of various state agencies and interest groups. The committee was presented with the challenge of develop- ing outcomes for the three courses that would be required of all participating training institutions. The deliberations of the committee resulted in the following general standards: 9 a dual platform will be required--Macintosh and DOS, 9 the three courses will be sequential+ and, 9 evaluation of training programs will be based on performance assessment (portfolio) of student products. Although the exact competencies are not fully listed here, the primary skills for the three courses are shown in Tables 1 and 2. It is the intention of ACHE and the SDE that all candidates will be competent in both Macintosh and DOS, will be able to use a variety of telecommunications ranging from modem, lnternet, to satellite, and also be able to design and develop instruc- TECH TRENDS 27 PRIMARY COMPUTER SKILLS FOR TEACHERS 1. Navigate desktop environments in Macintosh, DOS, & Windows. 2. Use common DOS commands; copy and transfer files. 3. Load and install software. 4. Use a word processor in Macintosh and DOS. 5. Use database and spreadsheet programs in Macintosh & DOS. 6. Use test generators, gradebooks, and management systems. 7. Use graphics programs to create graphics for educational illustrations and animation. 8. Install cards in ports, and connect and disconnect peripheral devices and cables, and a modem. 9. Operate laser optical devices: CD ROM and videodisc. 10. Install touchscreen, penlight, and other alternative devices for computer control, alternate computer keyboards, or alternative computer displays. 11. Create a product with desktop publishing. 12. Make products in draw and paint, and animated graphics. ! 3. Create a product in Linkway or ToolBook. 14. Create a product in HyperCard. 15. Access BBS and online services via modem. ] 6. Participate in one-way and two-way interactive satellite classes. 17. Send and receive e-mail to a local LAN address, to and from a national site using Bitnet and AppleLink, and via Internet to a foreign destination. 18. Use Internet to FTP files, using ARCHIE and GOPHER. 9. Use local-area network for file transfer and e-mail. 20. Search CD-ROM for specific information. 21. Compile compressed video sequences and use time-base corrector (e.g DVI, QuickTime). 22. Use optical scanner. 23. Use LCD projection system. 24. Prepare a video lesson for use in presentation and/or QuickTime/DVl lessons. 25. Identify computer software and video programming available and appropriate for K-12 schools. Table 1: The Alabama Plan PRIMARY INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN SKILLS FOR TEACHERS I. Identify criteria for achievement and skill objectives. 2. Delineate relevant expertise and techniques to develop a program. 3. Diagram content for subject matter. 4. Use HyperCard for Macintosh and an appropriate authoring language for DOS (e.g. Quest) to create a program. 5. Develop internal and external documentation. 6. Use hypermedia tools to repurpose interactive video materials. 7. Insert graphics and text and questions into existing video. 8. Create a branched lesson, using existing video frames, under computer control. 9. Create a simulation with combined CAI and video. I0. Develop an appropriate testing program to accompany instructional program. 11. Design an evaluation strategy for validation of products. 12. Conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of a product. 13. Write an evaluation report of findings. Table 2: The Alabama Plan tional materials using hypermedia, videodisc, CD-ROM, compressed video, and other applications. Evaluation and use of computer-assisted instruction is only a small part of the content. After the first courses are delivered in 1994, evalua- tions of student products will be conducted by the SDE/ACHE and a committee that will use the standards for discrepancy analysis. Feedback should also come from classroom experiences of teachers to further refine and improve the course content. In any event, this is anticipated to be a sweeping reform of education in the state. Other plans include establishing a local area net- work in as many schools as possible throughout the state, beginning with model LANs in 79 schools next year. Students will have access to online services, voice mail, Internet, and other services. The overall intent is to provide teachers and students with tools of the infor- mation age so they may incorporate them in an evolu- tionary way to alter classroom routines from an indus- trial age model to one based on informational technologies. References Act 636. (1993). Code of Alabama. State of Ala- bama. Heinich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, JD . (1989). Instructional Media. New York: Macmillan. Niemiec, R., Blackwell, M., and Walberg, H.J. (1986). CAI can be doubly effective, Phi Delta Kappan, June, pp. 750-751. 9 28 TECH TRENDS NOV/DEC 1993


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