Teaching for Understanding with Technology,
Martha Stone Wiske is lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she co-directed the Educational Technology Center. Her research is concerned with the integration of new technologies and the incorporation of learner-centered teaching for understanding. She is coeditor of Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice . Kristi Rennebohm Franz is an award-winning Washington State teacher who is known for her innovative use of new technologies in the classroom. Her classroom teaching has been filmed and featured in the PBS documentary Digital Divide . Lisa Breit develops professional development programs to help K-12 teachers design and implement curriculum with new technologies, and consults with school leaders on how to cultivate leadership and provide institutional support as teachers and students gain proficiency.
Teaching for Understanding with Technology,
The need for good public education has never been greater than in today's complex, interdependent, and rapidly changing world. At the same time, pressures on schoolteachers and administrators have rarely been as intense. Educators need ways to specify clear goals and to coordinate their efforts coherently to help all students succeed. New information and communication technologies can be valuable resources in developing effective strategies for promoting ambitious learning in public education. This book presents a detailed language and a practical structure - the Teaching for Understanding framework - for guiding educators through the maelstrom of competing pressures toward effective teaching and learning with new technologies.
Background of the Problem
Policymakers and politicians, business leaders and parents, educational researchers and developers - all have their own particular and often competing expectations for educators and schools. They expect schools to
Provide access to opportunity for every student to develop his or her full potential
Differentiate instruction to meet all students' needs, with extra help for those who have fallen behind and special enrichment for students who are already advanced beyond their peers
Transmit the legacies of multiple cultures
Cover a required curriculum that encompasses vast amounts of information
Prepare all students to pass standardized tests (whose items may not correlate with the endorsed curriculum standards)
Develop students' ability to think critically, apply their knowledge in the world, and be continuing learners
Enable students to succeed in the modern workplace 1
Produce citizens who will sustain local and global communities
All these stakeholders ply the schools with often incoherent and incompatible combinations of requirements, resources, constraints, and complaints.
Addressing these multiple agendas has always challenged and frustrated educators. During periods of rapid change, like the present, both the imperatives and the difficulties for providing excellent public education become even more intense. Astonishing technological developments during the past century have transformed the nature of knowledge and work, the speed of travel and communication, modes of warfare, and humanity's impact on the planet. All of these conditions make access to high-quality learning essential for all people. Economic development, international peace, democratic government, and preservation of the global environment all depend on universal education. Furthermore, traditional basic education in the three R's of reading, writing, and 'rithmetic is nowhere near adequate for modern conditions. Nor is traditional instruction, with teachers leading rows of students through standard curriculum materials, sufficient to prepare today's students to succeed as stewards of tomorrow's world. Teachers must be supported in their efforts to teach new curricula, using new methods and new technologies, to a newly diverse range of students.
In the face of competing agendas and mounting pressures, how can teachers make responsible choices as they design lessons and orchestrate learning with their students? How should school administrators establish priorities, design structures, and foster an organizational culture that galvanizes all members of a school community in a focused and sustained pursuit of coherent goals? How might policymakers, business leaders, and supporters of public education make contributions that truly help school people meet the challenges and serve the purposes of public education in these complex times? How can new technologies support these processes? Educators do not agree on the answers to these questions. They don&rsqu