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Philosophy of Instructional Technology

Holly Mothes
The University of Akron


This paper discusses the philosophy of the integration of technology in the classroom.
Guided by the new standards of the 21st century skills to prepare students for the future. The
paper incorporates Constructionist theory thoughts in using technology in the classroom to add
real life problems as well as using technology to build learning communities where students
research, collect and analyze data, then provide a process to the solution that they may have
found. As a means to guide teacher in using technology the paper identifies five skills that
should be used to facilitate the use of technology in the classroom. The paper also looks at digital
storytelling as a creative way for teachers to use technology as a tool and not as the focus of a
lesson. As the conclusion the paper suggests the creation of policies for classroom management
of technology.

In the workplace, computers are used as a tool to solve problems training the future
workforce, using those tools will change and advance how society provides education.
Integration of 21st century skills in the classroom cannot be considered just another subject to be
taught (Larson and Miller, 2011). Teachers must be given the tools and the support to create the
classroom of the future with technology as the gateway to student centered learning where
students apply the knowledge as they go, not when they reach the work place after graduation
(Larson and Miller, 2011). Incorporating core objectives, reading, writing and math, as well as
creativity, problem solving, team work and perseverance the 21st century skills, into the
curriculum needs to be the goal of every teacher, school district and local government (Larson
and Miller, 2011). Universities have the responsibility to provide the graduating teachers with the
tools and understanding of the integration of technology in the classroom. It is also the


responsibility of all teachers to seek out the means to provide students with a 21st century
learning environment.
Classrooms need to provide real life issues that provide the opportunity to learn the
methods of research and analysis of issues and the possible solutions with the students presenting
their findings to the class (Gasser, 2011). To enable our teachers to provide this type of learning
environment they must incorporate five skill sets into the lesson plan, problem based instruction,
student-led solutions, risk taking, fun, and collaboration time (Gasser, 2011). Providing students
with these skills will ensure that they are work force ready for jobs that have not even been
imagined (Gasser, 2011). With the help of technology problems that exist in world can be part of
the challenge that can be brought into the learning environment.
Problem based instruction is not new, math word problems have been inexistence for
years, but immersing students in teams with this teaching method creates an interest driven
investigation(Gasser, 2011), that will in turn help create the type of problem processing that
leads to solutions. This type of work is a catalyst to critical thinking and its development
(Gasser, 2011)
Student-led solution incorporates critical thinking as well as collaboration and team work.
Students given a problem and time to work through different possible solutions will provide an
environment of learning that should replace the open the head and dump the information in old
school pedagogy. Technology can bring the power of community and social learning to the
classroom (Walsh, 2012). Information gathering, assimilation, analyzing data and processing are
parts of problem solving that each student needs to be successful with. The 21st century
educational model requires students to be able to perform these tasks (Gasser, 2011).


Risk taking, a necessary step in the process of invention, the 21st century skills demand
creativity and perseverance (Larson & Miller, 2011). A perfect example of these traits exists
when an individual plays a technology enhance game. Each game has many levels that have to
be mastered before the individual can advance to the level. There are risks, the individual has to
use creative thought and apply learned skills to master each successive level. They may fail
many times but with perseverance they succeed and move through the levels. These are the skills
that will move society into the future. These are skills that using technology in the learning
environment will be enhanced (Gasser, 2011).
Making learning fun, who doesnt want to have fun? The use of games in education and
the joining of technology has coined a new term gamification. According to Kevin Werbach,
gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to nongame problems, such as business and social impact challenges. Webach is the instructor who
developed the course, Gamification, taught at The University of Pennsylvania. Gasser (2011)
points out that todays students think differently because gaming has been so much a part of their
lives. Melding learning, fun and gaming together provides for more of those ah-ha moments
(Gasser, 2011). Creating an environment where failure is just another avenue to success gives
the student the satisfaction of developing positive methods of working to that next level after
mastering the required skill set (Larson & Miller, 2011). There is a fine line that teachers must
walk when creating this fun and technology must not be used as a reward for the students. This
would defeat the entire learning process. Using technology to engage student interest and
connect lessons to their everyday lives provides the tie back to the 21st century skills (Larson &
Miller, 2011).


Collaboration and team work are critical in many jobs today. Gone are the days of
individuals laboring at a task. These jobs have been outsourced or are not done by computers or
other machinery. Collaboration isnt just for students in one location, but with technology those
teams of students could be continents apart (Gasser, 2011).
Teachers are responsible for integrating technology into the curriculum and instructional
program in order to enhance student achievement. In order to do this teacher must be life long
learners. Todays students are digital natives, while most of todays teachers are digital
immigrants (Schrum, Galizio & Ledesma, 2011). One of the ways that teachers can incorporate
technology into the classroom is by using digital storytelling. Using the TPAK framework, uses
technology to engage students and to assist teachers in teaching (Robin, 2008). Digital story
telling is a technology application that takes advantage of user contributed content and to help
teachers overcome some of the obstacles to productively using technology in their classrooms
(Robin, 2008). Students select a topic, research, write a script and develop an interesting story.
The story is combined with multimedia computer graphics, audio recordings, video clips and
music. It is then burned on a DVD, uploaded to a web site, or played on a computer (Robin,
2008). According to Robin, (2008) digital storytelling is the convergence of computers, image
capture devices, audio capture devices, encompasses multimedia literacy skills, engages students
and teachers, promotes 21st century skills and uses digital media software.
Digital storytelling can be powerful tool in the classroom it incorporates learning ideas
from the Constructionist theory. In other words student learn by constructing
items. Using research, analysis of data and then arranging and placing that
data into a presentation.


Teachers also have the duty to creating a progressive, positive, and safe learning
environment in the technology enhanced classroom. Creating policies that strive to develop
respect for the individual, security protocols that teach the students best practice in securing their
work as well as their identity is very important. Signing off the computer when leaving, saving
work in a secured network area, or on an external device are all important practices to master.
Teachers must have a backup plan for the classroom when technology fails so that valuable
learning time is not discarded is a large part of classroom management. Classroom policies need
to be fair and implement across the board. Students need to know that the policies are there to
protect and guide them in the use of technology.



Larson, L. C. & Miller, T. N. (2011). 21st century skills: Prepare students for the future.
Kappa Delta Pi Record. Spring 2011. p 121-123.
Lattuca, L. R. & Stark, J. S. (2009). Shaping the college curriculum: Academic plans in context
(2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Robin, B.R. (2008).Digital storytelling: A powerful technology tool for the 21st century. Theory
Into Practice, 47 p220-228
Schrum, L., Galizio, L.M., Ledesma, P. (2011). Educational leadership and technology
integration: An Investigation into preparation, experiences, and roles. Journal of School
Leadership v21. p241-262
Walsh, K. (2012). Pros and cons of digital devices in the hands of young students. Retrieved
Webach,K. (2013). Gamification. Retreived from


Short Paper Information and Rubric

Purpose: Develop a philosophy of Instructional Technology use for teaching and learning in the 21st Century in your
classroom, district and professionally as a technology leader
Clearly developed philosophy of instructional technology use in the classroom
Examine own teaching philosophy based on TPACK
Explain use of 21st century technology tools for teaching and learning
Demonstrate understanding of the ethical uses of technology in the classroom



Clearly developed
philosophy of
technology use in
the classroom and
as a technology
Integration of
TPACK concept into
understanding of
use and
importance of 21st
century tools for
21st century
Demonstration of
understanding of
social, ethical
technology use
Proper APA Style
followed with at
least 5 citations
and references






As new technology leaders in your classrooms and districts, it is important to have a

well-developed philosophy of instructional technology use. This can be continuing to
develop as you learn more through this program, but this will serve as a baseline to show
you where you started. You will include this in your reflective wiki also and it will become a
part of your ePortfolio. This paper also serves as a way to hone your writing and APA
formatting skills as masters students. Use the APA Module in the course for a reference if
you need help with this style of paper construction. In terms of references and citations, you
probably will cite the TPACK book in your text as you refer to it and then post it as a
reference. This is one example of something you might cite and use as a reference. You
also might cite some of the 21st century resources, or you may find your own readings that


have inspired your developing philosophy of instructional technology.

Exploring your ideas, beliefs and values in terms of instructional technology needs to
blend with your existing teaching philosophy. Are you a constructivist? If so, discuss this
and how instructional technology supports this philosophy. So this paper must reflect your
personal teaching philosophy AND the role that instructional technology plays in your
classroom, your professional life, your district and with your students. You are a developing
technology leader and your degree will enable you to be a technology facilitator, what does
this mean in terms of your philosophy of instructional technology. This might be something
you have never really thought about too much before, but now is the time to begin to
develop this thinking!
This is a formal paper where you will discuss instructional technology as it relates to
21st Century teaching and learning. Formal papers are written in 3rd personno I, me , my,
first person type discussion. We should be able to determine your philosophy of educational
technology by what and how you write this formal paper. You should cite the resources you
use and ideas you share if they are not your own. Perfectly fine to do this because you are
developing your ideas based on what the research shows about 21st century learning and
teaching as it relates to technology.