Interview with a Technology Education Teacher Emily Smith MEDT 8461 Diffusion of Innovations Dr. Carol Turner Technology Education teacher at Lee Middle School in Sharpsburg, Ga. Master of Science in Computer Applications Doctor of Education Specializing in Technology Teacher of the Year in 2003 and 2006 Published-April 2001, Connections (Special Interest Group of Technology Coordinators), “How to Integrate Technology Appropriately to Support Effective Instructional Practices Across the Curriculum” What is your definition of technological literacy? Technological Literacy is concerned with developing students' awareness of how technology is related to the broader social system, and how technological systems cannot be fully separated from the political, cultural and economic frameworks which shape them. When you hear the phrase “technology integration” what does that mean to you? Effective technology integration is achieved when its use supports curricular goals. I design the technology integration lessons in such a way that is accessible and applicable to their lives, as well as flexible enough to be appropriate for the range of learners. How should technology be used in education? Technology Education is teaching about technology as a subject area like math or science. Educational Technology is using technology as a teaching tool to enhance the teaching and learning process. Technology, used best, involves high order thinking skills Evaluation, Synthesis, Analysis, Application, Comprehension and Knowledge. What principles should guide your approach for integrating technology into instruction? My goal is to develop authentic work, which my students see as relevant and challenging. While balancing hands-on-activities or student-centered projects, I have to activate the prior knowledge students have locked away or provide instruction on new material. By creating this classroom environment, I am preparing students to be selfdirected problem solvers and self-sufficient learners. This is one of the greatest accomplishments that I as an educator can achieve. When can you expect technology to be effective? By teaching my students how to develop dynamic, interactive information, they develop their literacy standards by learning how to become independent learners as well as developing their social responsibility through the sharing of information with others. Students enrolled in Technology Education begin their course of study in a group setting, learning a set of general skills that apply to all technology learning modules. What are some obstacles you have encountered when trying to integrate technology? At the beginning of each nine-weeks in the stadium-seating classroom, I provide whole group instruction for several class periods. This instruction is aimed at introducing technology concepts and vocabulary quickly. As a common understanding of module technology develops amongst the students, my teaching becomes more dialogic. This teaching format is used to present materials for discussion while I listen and respond to student reflections and questions on the module topics. Do you have a technology integration success story? I feel that I have success stories everyday. However I will share one story from last 9weeks. The module Urban Planning has students planning and creating a city with the software, SimCity. SimCity is an excellent constructivist-learning tool, since my students can negotiate environmental constraints, solve simulated real-world problems, and witness the effects of changes in variables. This is accomplished by an interactive multimedia simulated complex work experience, through a game, and served as a critical tool to evaluate skills that are difficult to measure in tests. What makes the difference between successful technology integration and a failed attempt? Staying organized, keeping the equipment working and taking technology one step at a time is the difference between successful technology integration and a failed attempt. Also providing opportunities for the students to interact with technology and to understand and use technology by encouraging self-paced mastery, as well as a student-team approach, can be a success as well as a failure if not handle properly. What should you do if you are not convinced you can integrate technology into your instruction? Take it one step at a time. Start with a simple lesson, maybe only using technology for research or even using technology to present your results with PowerPoint. Keeping it simple is the key. Trying to do too much only creates frustration and fear in using technology in your lesson.