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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Wyoming Teacher Policy Institute
Donna Daniels, Thermopolis Middle School, Hot Springs School Dist. #1 WY


MEETING THE TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS THROUGH INTEGRATION: WITHIN THE CONTENT AREA CLASSROOM OR COMPUTER CLASSES?

Problem  State standards for the content areas have imbedded within them a technology component. As educators, how can we address these technology standards without taking instructional time away from the content standards? Currently at the middle school we have a computer class that teaches necessary skills. However, with continued budget cuts and reduction in staff, is it necessary or imperative that we continue with a computer class, or can the technology standards be met adequately by integrating them within the regular classroom?
Research Question Are technology standards met more effectively through integration in content area classrooms or through required computer classes?
Methods  Two surveys were administered. One was given to the staff at the middle school and one to high school staff about their levels of experience and comfort level with technology, technology standards, and integrating technology in their content areas.
Findings 
  • 75% of the staff surveyed asked students to use the Internet for research. 
  •  Fifty percent of the staff surveyed required students to use word processing for writing reports.
  • 50% of the staff surveyed required students to prepare Power Point Presentations.
  • 10% of the staff had students use spreadsheet programs such as Excel.
  • Staff generally felt that it would require quite a lot of time to teach the technology skills as well as teach their content areas standards.
  • High school staff felt that students had the necessary skills needed to complete assigned projects, with the exception of those students who had not taken the middle school computer classes.
  • The middle school currently assigns every student to a computer class. In these classes, students learn technology skills while integrating projects with core area teachers.
Policy Recommendations
  1. Continue providing computer classes at the middle school to teach computer skills and provide time and opportunity for integration of technology standards with content area standards. This will prevent loss of class time from content standards. This will also insure that all students have at least some computer background before entering high school.
  2. Require students to take computer classes either at the middle school level or make sure they at least have basic skills required to use word, power point, internet, and spreadsheets.
  3. Develop curricula that provide for integration of content standards and technology standards.4. Provide training and time for teachers to experiment with the use of technology in the classroom. 

 

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