Findings from Phase I and Phase II (198991) of the Middle School
Technology Integration Project
Teacher Knowledge and Practice
- In order to improve the way technology is used with diverse learners
in the mainstream, teachers need to gradually acquire, draw on, and
integrate knowledge about:
- the developmental needs of adolescents
- special needs students' strengths and needs
- how inquiry-based learning can meet the needs of developing adolescents,
taking into account their diverse learning needs
- the potential contribution technology can make to the learning
of all students within inquiry-based instruction
- instructional strategies that support inquiry-based learning
- assessment strategies
- hardware and software
- An inquiry-based curriculum unit, such as an I-Search Unit, can serve
as a vehicle for using a variety of technology applications that help
students become exposed to information, explore a topic of their own
choosing, gather information, organize and analyze information, and
express what they know.
- In order to promote successful technology integration with all students
who have diverse needs, it is critical for the teacher to employ active
teaching practices. This includes being actively involved with students'
use of technology applications, regardless of the type of technology.
- When teachers engage with others in ongoing reflection about the curriculum,
instructional methods, technology, and student progress, they are more
likely to critically evaluate their practice and redesign instruction
to better meet student needs and curriculum goals.
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- Someone needs to be responsible for ensuring that hardware is kept
in good working condition and that technical problems are solved as
- When teachers consider their curriculum goals, they have a context
for reviewing and narrowing down choices of software that will meet
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- When novice computer users have someone to whom they can turn for
knowledge about computers as well as emotional support and reassurance,
they are more likely to begin integrating technology into instruction
to meet curriculum goals and student needs.
- In-service workshops can contribute to teachers' acquisition of this
knowledge, but are insufficient in helping teachers use this knowledge
in their work with students. Teachers best learn to successfully design
and redesign curriculum and integrate technology through ongoing school-based
support and structures for collaboration and communication.
- Teachers benefit from receiving ongoing technical assistance from
those who have expertise in the areas of inquiry-based learning, curriculum
design, and technology use.
- By engaging with colleagues in designing, implementing, and evaluating
an inquiry-based curriculum unit, teachers develop and expand their
knowledge and skills.
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Collaboration and Communication
- When two people work together collaboratively to try out software
within a curriculum unit that meets students' needs, technology use
tends to be more successful.
- Regular, ongoing communication between regular and special educators
who teach the same students often facilitates designing and implementing
successful curriculum units that integrate technology if the focus of
the communication is on curriculum goals, instructional strategies,
and student needs.
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- When decisions about hardware acquisitions, hardware allocations,
and scheduling focus primarily on curriculum goals and teacher experience
and expertise, they are more likely to lead to using technology to support
learning and teaching within a strong curriculum.
- Once a curriculum decision is made, it is unlikely to be implemented
unless someone who is committed to the decision determines what steps
must be taken and ensures that the next step happens at each point in
the implementation process.
- Once a curriculum decision is made, administrators and teachers need
to communicate with each other during implementation to determine whether
the decision is working or needs to be revised.
- In order to support teacher's efforts to design, implement, and evaluate
curriculum, administrators must put structures in place so teachers
can communicate and collaborate on a regular basis.
- When administrators vary expectations according to teachers' individual
needs, interests, and abilities, and give teachers choices about how
and when to implement inquiry-based curricula, successful technology
integration across classrooms is more likely to occur.
- In order for successful technology integration to occur beyond individual
classrooms, administrators and teachers need to:
- understand that curriculum innovation is the starting point for
- have a vision of the value and potential of inquiry-based learning
- have a vision of how technology and other tools can enhance inquiry-based
- understand that organizational-level changes are needed to support
- When there are policies and procedures that promote links between
special and regular education programs, then it is more likely that
curriculum planning and implementation will meet the needs of diverse
learners in the mainstream.
- In order for teachers to feel comfortable about developing new curricula
that integrates technology, administrators need to give teachers permission
to vary or modify content, instructional processes, and the materials
they use in the classroom.
- Administrators need to find ways to provide teachers with technical
assistance, not only in terms of technology use, but also in terms of
understanding inquiry-based learning, curriculum design, and effective
- When technology use becomes the catalyst for simultaneous change at
the organizational, curriculum, and instructional levels, then it is
important for a school to have a facilitator who has:
- effective leadership abilities and the power to influence change
- expertise in inquiry-based learning, curriculum design, and technology
- a schedule that allows for providing support to teachers on both
an ongoing and as-needed basis
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