Summary of “An online course to help teachers “use technology to enhance learning”: successes and limitations

The final article I read in regards to technology and learning explained how teachers need to find help in the area of integrating technology into their classrooms.  This is a topic for which teachers need frequent access to new techniques.  This day and age, teacher education programs are mandated to integrate technology into their curriculum (Marra, 2004).  How can these teachers receive the help they need to make them prepared to effectively integrate technology in their own curriculum? 

The article looked into the effectiveness of an online course whose goal was to provide new teachers with the skills necessary to integrate technology into their teaching.  They stressed that technology is also important to get into the hands of the students.  Constructivism is a popular teaching strategy and technology is a tool that supports this learning style. 

They also stated that many preservice technology courses teach beneficial skills, but teachers walk away learning about spreadsheets and work processors, not how to actively use computers in constructivist ways or how to amplify and increase engagement in learning experiences (Marra, 2004). 

A study they conducted examined first year teachers who enrolled in an online course with the goal of meaningfully integrating constructivist uses of technology into their classroom teaching.  What they found was that learners ended up focusing on the mechanics of learning the new technologies not how to apply the technology in a classroom setting.  The online course was predominantly ineffective in achieving its goal. 

This is an area which I would love to learn more about.  Integrating technology into classrooms and instruction is a tool I want to be able to effectively utilize.  Whether I learn about it online or I attend a face to face class, the goal is to successfully integrate technology to enrich student learning. 

Marra, R. (2004).  An online course to help teachers “use technology to enhance learning”: success and limitations. Journal of Technology and Teacher Eduction. 12.3 p. 411

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