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Technology Rich Classrooms August 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — swumccrary @ 4:14 pm

Title of Article: Differentiated Instruction: Getting Personal with Technology
Author: Grace Rubenstein
Link: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-differentiated-instruction-technology-elementary
Summary: This article was especially interesting to me because it is about a school in my hometown and it is the school where one of my friends is employed. Forest Lake Elementary School is a technology magnet school that keeps students thoroughly engaged in learning through technological resources. Each classroom has an interactive white board, eight computers, and access to other technological tools. The teachers have learned how to use the resources to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of every student. The principal agrees that the teachers are phenomenal but maintains that this is because of their relationship with their students and not just their performance with technology. The teachers know their students well enough to know what activity and technology tool is best suited for a particular child’s academic success. Because of this, all of the students in a second grade class are able to work in different areas and with different materials independently. A fourth grade teacher at the school has a computer for every child in his class. He says he has never been able to reach all of his students in such a way as he can now that each child is engaged in meaningful learning on their own computer.  The students in this class are working on an interactive PowerPoint, using software to make cartoons, and engaging in other activities. They are all succeeding because they are enjoying the process of learning that has been catered to their interests. They are all able to work on one skill but at the level that is appropriately challenging for them at the time. Although these students may not be excelling on standardized testing, rubrics, tests, and assessments show that they are constantly growing and progressing. Differentiation, procedures, and personalization are key to making this school a successful place of learning for students. Although it took a lot of time, patience, and risk taking, Forest Lake Elementary school has overcome all of their obstacles and created an incredible technology rich environment that is engaging and challenging for all students.
I like that this article address “technophobic teachers”. I feel like that is one of the main reasons that teachers today are so against adding technology to daily instruction. They are scared of messing up, breaking the equipment, or failing in front of their students. By reading this article, we are able to see the benefits of taking those risks and how engaged the students are in a technology based school or classroom. I am hoping ot challenge myself to take more of these risks this year and take advantage of all the technology and resources available to me through my school and my school district.

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