What have others learned about my question?
In the cycle of action research, it is time to look at data that has already been collected. Data collection always needs to point back at the research question.
My original research question: Will a new “Alaska standards tech tools” web site help others with technology and the new AK standards?
My collaborateur’s, Tracie Weisz, research question: What are the primary needs of classroom teachers for technology integration based on the tech-specific New Alaska Standards?
I think the second research question works better for this project because findings can be reached in the timeframe that we have allowed within this MOOC. After the literature review and feedback from potential users, we could build a useful tool to support the primary technology needs required by the tech-specific New Alaska Standards.
As Tracie’s research showed, the foundation of a forward thinking school or district is visionary leadership who incorporates technology into their mission and supporting teacher development. Outside of this support, we currently see teachers opting in to the integration of technology based on individual comfort level and interest.
Earle, R. (2002). The integration of instructional technology into public education: Promises and challenges. (Vol. 42, pp. 5-13). ET Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2013 from http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic87187.files/Earle02.pdf
This 10-year-old, but still timely, article outlines the critical need to integrate technology into education. “Too often our efforts to improve education have resulted in our unrealistic isolation of technological processes.” The obstacle of the separatist notion of technology instruction is still alive and well in our schools today. The Harvard article suggests, “Change starts with the individual teacher, who, upon catching the vision, is willing to take risks, to experience Christopherian confrontations or encounters (Gardner, 1991) in rethinking teaching and learning, and to model for and be a mentor to peers.” I agree that this has been the way of thinking, because there is lack of vision in schools to strongly encourage and support teachers to integrate technology into content area instruction. At this point, teachers take it upon themselves to integrate technology. They opt in. For those who do want to opt in, we need a tool, a central resource, to help make it easy for teachers to find resources to integrate technology into the instruction of the new standards.
Mitchell, R. & Laski, E. (2013). Integration of Technology in Elementary Pre-Service Teacher Education: An Examination of Mathematics Methods Courses. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 21(3), 337-353. Chesapeake, VA: SITE. Retrieved September 26, 2013 from http://www.editlib.org/p/41345.
Survey results published in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education sadly show the lack of integration of technology specifically in preservice instruction to math teachers. The new Alaska standards specifically include technology in instruction, especially in higher level math where technology makes the study of statistics much more efficient. This journal article demonstrates that the need for an institutional vision extends outside a district and into a need in our teacher preparation programs. Again, I see this as a cry for a central source for information for integrating technology into both math and English language arts instruction of the new standards.
Crosswalk the common core & educational technology standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.k12.wa.us/EdTech/Standards/edtechcoresubjects/CCSS-Crosswalk.aspx
Until teacher preparation programs produce teachers who are highly skilled at integrating technology or districts integrate technology into their vision statements and support teachers with professional development, it is up to the teaching community to support each other in doing what’s right for students. Washington State’s office of the superintendent of instruction has created an interactive website to suggest technology sources aligned with the common core standards. This is a useful model for our project. Part of the next steps of this project will be to contact this source and see what type of response they are receiving for this website. This may help us fine tune the tool we would like to build for the state of Alaska.