Why study the use of computer technology in curriculum?

 The integration of computer technology has been directed at every teacher in British Columbia and whether you are an aficionado or a skeptic, this push will have an increasing effect on your lesson planning. The previous five-year BC Ministry of Education technology plan is coming to a close in June 2000 and many changes are expected for the new plan. Whereas the first five-year plan focused on simply getting the hardware into the schools, the new plan is expected to hone in on "how" computers are actually being used in the schools. The BC Teachers Federation has been directly involved in the planning process by making sure that teacher representatives joined Ministry of Education officials in the Teaching, Learning and Education Technology Advisory Committee (TLETAC). This committee's report was completed in June 1999 and an online Public Forum was invited to offer opinions up until January 2000. The Ministry has now prepared a draft of its intentions, also available online.

The key point in the TLETAC report "Conditions for Success" was that integration of technology with curriculum is an essential factor for success. When attempting to study current trends, however, TLETAC pointed out that actual research in the educational use of computer technology is severely lacking in BC.

With these facts in mind, I urge you to participate in this research study. "BC teachers (including computer teachers) at the Grade 4 and 5 Levels are invited to participate in an important research study regarding the "Integration of Computer Technology into the Curriculum". This masters thesis study has been in preparation for almost a year, and is driven by a practicing teacher's level of perspective. It is vital that teacher viewpoints at ALL levels of computer expertise be included. While it is important to discover where computer applications are proving useful, it is equally important to find out where computer applications are NOT yet being used.

During thesis preparation coursework, our class was once asked if we knew of any research that benefited the actual participants being scrutinized. Sadly, there were very few that anyone could think of. There is an underlying objective to this study - to make a meaningful contribution to our growth as BC educators... to make a difference in your teaching and in mine. Technology support groups have started to put the support networks into place, but they can only help us if we tell them where we need the most assistance.

Gail Lovely (Education Technology Leaders Summit, 1997) made a wonderfully insightful statement:
"…technology is interesting and empowering only when used in interesting and empowering ways and so it really does come back to who is using it, how, and why, and to what end. Yes, technology does open doors and opportunities that we have not had, but only if we take them".

*Lovely, G. (1997). . Education Technology Leaders Summit (May 29-30, 1997, Portland Oregon). . Retrieved July 17, 1999 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pierian.com/ed_tech_leaders_summit/whitepaper.htm


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