According to Arizona’s Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), technology can be integrated into the curriculum to enhance the collaborative aspect of a classroom’s learning environment. As students and teachers progress through the levels of technology integration, students learn to master and use technology to create, organize and manage learning tasks. Yet in order for the progression to occur, the primary use of technology must shift from the teacher to students. With the goal of achieving collaboration between students, my initial question was, how can a 3rd grader use technology to bridge that gap between teacher and student collaboration?
While technology as a means of learning traditional curricula, using tools such as digital storytelling or other media creative programs that allow students to create and share projects and work require teachers to have proficiency in the programs they may introduce to students (Sadik, 2008). Technology increases student engagement and motivation, but if not guided by teacher instruction can be harmful or distracting to learning goals. That means as a teacher, especially perhaps for elementary-aged students transitioning into computer testing it is imperative to include technological opportunities in the classroom and also be somewhat masters and initial overseers of those opportunities in order to provide students the motivation and the skills to use technology to demonstrate traditional proficiencies.
During my research, I discovered a research project involving 3rd grade students using a collaborative blogging platform. Teachers were able to provide feedback to students on writing projects, and students could post their work to a class blog which other students and parents could read and comment on. While mostly in the adoption stage of technology integration, technology helped students to achieve the intended result of improving traditional writing skills but also resulted unintentionally in students receiving differentiated instruction and improving technology skill in problem-solving areas “even though official technology-related instruction was not provided” (Drexler, Dawson & Ferdig, 2007, p. 154).
In my own classroom we have used PowerPoints to extend student learning and research on their cultural projects. These PowerPoints have been uploaded to a school wiki page to be shared and viewed by other students. While some students have left comments on the finished products, most of the PowerPoints were never viewed again after the initial day they were uploaded. In the future, when assigning a project that requires students to share their work on a collaborative platform such as a wiki, blog, or cloud space, I would like to incorporate a works-in-progress differentiated feedback system in which the teacher and other students work together, sharing information and tips, to create an individual finished product. This could move students from the adoption to adaptation step allowing the teacher to enter a facilitator role and allowing students to celebrate and critique their work together.
Drexler, W., Dawson, K., & Ferdig, R.E. (2007). Collaborative Blogging as a Means to Develop Elementary Expository Writing Skills. Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education, 6, 140-160. Retrieved from http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume6/Drexler.pdf
Sadik, A. (2008). Digital storytelling: a meaningful echnology-integrated approachfor engaged student learning. Education Tech Research Dev, 56, 487-506. Retrieved from http://www.u.arizona.edu/~mbuckner/LRC560/Annotatated Bib/B_DS_01.pdf
Arizona K12 Center (2011). TIM Technology Integration Matrix. TIM Arizona Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved from http://www.azk12.org/tim/docs/AZK1031_Matrix_Print.pdf