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How technology is infused into curriculum

How technology is infused into curriculum and instruction effectively Teresa Froehlke Boise State University ED-TECH 571 Dr. Jeremy Tutty August 1, 2008

Abstract Research into classrooms in the United States has shown that the most effective use of technology occurs when the content of the technology application to aligns with curriculum content standards. Hong Kong educators have a different approach to technology instruction; they have developed a curriculum for computer studies. Both approaches have integrated technology effectively in the classroom. As new technologies continue to emerge, the approach used by Hong Kong educators may prove to be more far-sighted.

How technology is infused into curriculum and instruction effectively. In the United States the use of technology is integrated into curriculum in alignment with curriculum content standards. In contrast, the educators in Hong Kong have designed a curriculum of information technology in education that evolves as technology evolves. These two approaches to curriculum and instruction utilizing educational technology integration are presented in this paper. Role of teachers In the United States educators have found that technology is most effectively integrated into instruction when the content of the technology application is determined to align with curriculum content standards. They have found that technology is most effectively integrated into instruction when educators enable students to acquire proficiency with the technology application prior to the onset of the content standards based lesson (Means & Olson, 1997). In the Means & Olson study, they described the role of teachers as curriculum developers. They stated that integration of technology requires teachers to analyze and redevelop their curriculum. The questions that they recommended teachers need to examine before applying technology to their curricula include: What does the technology offer students in terms of developing concepts and content? How does it help students to carry out inquiry processes? How will students work together collaboratively or cooperatively? What is the relationship between technology and other instructional materials? What new knowledge of my content or discipline, of teaching, or of technology do I need in order to foster new learning in my students? What knowledge processes, and skills do students need before using the technology? (Means & Olson, 1997). Cradler & Beuthel, 2001 indicated in their research that an online resource that profiles electronic learning resources with the specific skills that align with content standards would facilitate curriculum integration with technology. Successful technology projects (Zhao et al., 2001), found that the most successful technology projects were those where teachers relied on resources that were within their reach. The results of studying 118 recipients of technology innovation grants (Zhao et al., 2001) found that the conditions for successful implementation of innovations with technology suggest that teachers need include the following:

To know whether the technology application they wish to use requires additional equipment, Internet and network connections, and software in order to work effectively To know how to use and have access to the additional resources as well as to the application they have selected Awareness of and access to timely technical guidance To use technology applications that are consistent with their own teaching practice and pedagogy, the social dynamics of the school, the school culture (collaborative or individualistic), and the curricular goals of the school and district Colleagues who will support and mentor them through the implementation of their innovative efforts. (Zhao et al., 2001).

Means & Olson, 1997 recommend that teachers need time to design, experiment and contemplate complex lessons involving technology. They need time to observe each other

implementing new technology. Innovative staffing and scheduling options at one school included: using one of the prep blocks of the day to meet with the technology coordinator for collaborative lesson planning, co-teaching strategies or demonstrations of new technology. Another school paid teachers during breaks or vacations to develop class materials to integrate technology into their classrooms. Acquire Proficiency Another key component in aligning instruction with core curriculum is that Technology is most effectively integrated into instruction when educators and education decision makers enable students to acquire proficiency with the technology application prior to the content standards based lesson. In McCoys study in 1996 he found that students most familiar with Logo programming learned the most mathematics. His research showed that practice with software improves student understanding of concepts. In the study are examples of strategies that address the significance of student familiarity and skill level with the Logo software. Harel, 1990 found that fourth grade students who learned to write software to teach fractions to younger students learned more about Logo and fractions than the Logo control group that did not design software and a control group that did not learn Logo. Hong Kong Curriculum Development In the United States technology is most effectively integrated into instruction when educators and education decision makers review and analyze the content of technology applications and determine if the introduced skills and knowledge align with curriculum content standards. In contrast the schools in Hong Kong have a specific curriculum designed and implemented for information technology. In Hong Kong the increased usage of microcomputers in the late 1970s and the early 1980s inspired some teachers who were interested in computer education to design computer curricula and activities. Their work provided the foundation for the curriculum development of computer education from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s in Hong Kong school education ([Leung, 1980] and [Summers, 1979]). In 1979, a working group for the design of a curriculum for Computer Studies for senior secondary education was established (Summers & Willett, 1980). The trial curriculum for Computer Studies was launched in 1982. At that time, the key learning areas of this subject included using the programming language BASIC for programming, acquiring knowledge of the organization and operation of computer software and hardware, and learning the development history of computers (Moon & Tung, 1983). In 1986, Computer Literacy was introduced for the junior secondary curriculum for Computer Studies (Leung, 1988). In 1990, Computer Studies was brought into the matriculation curriculum. The subjects that were designed for the secondary education curriculum also served to encourage secondary school students to obtain additional knowledge about information technology (IT) applications (Kong, 2003). During the last two decades, most secondary schools in Hong Kong have made considerable headway in computer education, which is in line with the global spread and growth information technology. Today, almost every secondary school in Hong Kong offers Computer Literacy for students from Secondary 1 to Secondary 3 (Education & Manpower Bureau, 2005). The digital culture as well as the trend towards economic globalization has lead to a development of a curriculum of information technology in education.

The Computer Awareness Program The Chief Executive of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in 1997, promised to invest hugely in Information technology education (ITED). In 1998, the government announced that it would provide the infrastructure for ITED in its first strategic document on ITED, Information Technology for Learning in a New Era: Five-year Strategy 1998/99 to 2002/03 (Education & Manpower Bureau, 1998). Information Technology Learning Targets was issued in 2000 and gave the blueprint for the development of the governments ITED strategy. It stipulated the IT learning targets for students at different learning stages and suggested guidelines for primary and secondary schools for the integration of IT in school education (Curriculum Development Council, 2000). Because primary schools in Hong Kong had no formal IT learning targets before 2000, a set of guidelines that were specifically designed for primary schools, the Computer Awareness Program, was included in the document (Curriculum Development Council, 2000) to ensure that students could achieve the IT learning targets at the stage of primary education. In 2000, some primary schools were chosen as pilot schools for the introduction of the Computer Awareness Program (Kong & Pun, 2000). Changes in Curriculum Development The demand for learners who possess skills and attitude towards utilizing online resources in the resource-rich digital environment with the use of IT has driven the changes in curriculum content and curriculum aims of the Hong Kong IT curriculum (Kong, 2003). With regard to changes in curriculum content, the continuous and rapid development of computer science has required the designers of IT curricula to keep up with the latest developments in computer technology. The IT curriculum for the new senior secondary education, for example, has changed from being content-based to being application-based. Table 1 lists the curriculum aims for Computer Studies as they are stated in the curriculum documents on secondary education in Hong Kong. Conclusion In conclusion, the shift in the curriculum in Hong Kong has shifted from computer studies to the development of knowledge about and attitudes towards information processing. The curriculum is moving from IT to information literacy. Previously, the role of the IT curriculum was to provide students with the opportunity to learn the operation of IT tools. Now, its role is to equip students with information literacy (IL) competence, which encompasses the necessary knowledge about information processing and learning ability, and proper attitudes towards information processing with the use of IT. In the United States the use of technology is integrated into curriculum in alignment with curriculum content standards. This has been accomplished by teachers who take on the role of curriculum developers. The different strategies that both countries have used to develop IT curriculums have been successful. However, the new direction of the Hong Kong curriculum may be more successful in ensuring Hong Kong students are prepared for the new global technologies, while leaving the United States students still matching technology to content standards.

Table 1. The curriculum aims for Computer Studies that are stated in the curriculum documents on secondary education in Hong Kong Syllabus for Computer Curriculum for Information and Communication Studies (implemented since Technology (Drafted in 2006; to be implemented in 2009) 1999)

This syllabus aims to provide students with the opportunity to: 1. Study modern methods of information processing, their applications and implications 2. Understand the basic organization of a computer 3. Develop problem-solving skills and programming techniques.

This curriculum aims to: 1. Provide students with a body of essential knowledge, concepts and applications of information, communication and computer systems 2. Equip students with problem-solving and communication skills, and encourage them to think critically and creatively 3. Develop students into competent, effective, discriminating, ethical and confident users of information and communication technologies, so as to support their lifelong learning 4. Provide students with opportunities to appreciate the impact of information and communication technologies on our knowledge-based society, so as to nurture in them positive values and attitudes to this area.

(Kong, 2008)

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