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Constructing learning communities in Yukon schools : a pedagogical approach for technology integration Davidson, Jo Ann Christine 2000

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CONSTRUCTING L E A R N I N G C O M M U N I T I E S IN YUKON SCHOOLS: A PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH FOR TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION  by  JO A N N C H R I S T I N E D A V I D S O N B . E d . , The University o f N e w Brunswick, 1979  A M A J O R PAPER SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS F O R THE D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF E D U C A T I O N  in  T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department o f Curriculum Studies) We accept this paper as conforming tqjije-required^fapflard:  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A M a y , 2000 © Jo A n n Christine Davidson, 2000  In presenting this thesis degree  at the  in partial fulfilment  of the  requirements  University of British Columbia, I agree that the  for an advanced  Library shall make it  freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  may be granted It  is  by the  understood  that  head of my copying  or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  ,  11  ABSTRACT  The importance of integrating technology across the curriculum has been prominent in educational literature for the past decade.  Numerous obstacles have been  identified and documented surrounding the successful integration of technology in public schools. Access to hardware, appropriate software, professional training for educators, technical and financial support to sustain meaningful uses of technology in schools are the primary areas to be addressed when designing a comprehensive information technology implementation strategy for educational environments. The obstacles are clear, but many educational leaders have failed to develop a model which successfully addresses the challenge of integrating the use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning and as a means of constructing new knowledge for and by students. This paper w i l l explore how technology facilitates learning through inquiry and how inquiry supports a constructivist/constructionist approach to teaching and learning for students and professional staff. This w i l l lead to an examination of how inquiry and constructivism advance the integration of technology in education and how it provides a venue for developing communities of inquiry in schools. A framework for two initiatives developed for Y u k o n schools w i l l be presented which address many of the challenges common to the successful integration of technology in public schools today. Both initiatives, the Computer Resource Teacher M o d e l ( C R T M ) and Technology Learning Communities ( T L C ) , promote integrative and constructive uses o f technology through an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning with computers.  ii  T A B L E OF CONTENTS  Abstract Acknowledgements  ii v  Chapter 1 Introduction: Technology and Education Technology and Education Purpose of Paper: Developing Technology Learning Communities in Schools Historical Influences on Technology Integration i n Schools Lack of Implementation Strategy Lack of Teacher Training Lack of Shift in Pedagogy Lack of Dynamic Curriculum The Missing L i n k : Technology Integration  1 2 3 7 10 11 13 15  Chapter 2 Constructivism, Constructionism and Inquiry What is Inquiry Learning Constructivism / Constructionism's Role in Inquiry Learning Evaluation Methods in a Constructionist Learning Environment Establishing Criteria for Evaluation in Constructionist Learning Role of Technology in Inquiry Learning Inquiry Learning: A Classroom Experience  20 23 27 28 29 31  Chapter 3 Communities of Inquiry Characteristics of a Community of Inquiry A Distinct Goal Sense of Direction Promotes Rational, Critical and Creative Thinking Y u k o n Technology Learning Communities Overview of Y u k o n School Demographics Computer Resource Teacher M o d e l ( C R T M ) : A School-wide Community of Inquiry Technology Learning Communities ( T L C )  34 35 36 36 37 38 44  iii  T A B L E OF CONTENTS  Chapter 4 Implications and Future Direction Implications of Developing Technology Learning Communities ( T L C ) Future Implications of Technology in Education  49 50  Appendices Self-Evaluation Rubrics for Teacher Computer Use Sample Data Collection Results (Rubrics for Teacher Computer Use)  52 56  References  57  iv  V  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have been instrumental i n supporting me during my program of studies. They are: Dr. R i c k i Goldman-Segall: my graduate advisor and gifted ethnographer. Y o u r expertise, creative spirit, enthusiasm, guidance and unyielding support has shaped this journey for me and made it a most enjoyable and rewarding experience. Dr. L i n d a Farr-Darling: my second reader. M y experience i n your class, an exemplary model of a community of learners, extended and reshaped my educational philosophy. Frank Davidson: my partner and friend of twenty-four years. Thank you for your support, love understanding and encouragement over time. M a r c i a Davidson: my daughter and the light of my life. Y o u are a special gift everything and more a mother could wish for in a daughter and a friend. Loretta Webb: my mother and a woman whom I truly admire. Thank you for continuing to encourage and support me in all of my life's endeavors. A n d to my son, Bryce Ryan Davidson, who in his six short years on this earth taught me more about life and living than I could have ever hoped to glean i n a lifetime.  V  Chapter 1 Technology and Education The emergence o f powerful new information technologies over the past five years has impacted how we work, how we conduct business and how we communicate. Pressures o f our global market w i l l require a workforce where every potential employee can be both a producer as well as a consumer of information. A n educated person in our knowledge-based society w i l l be someone who has learned how to learn and w i l l continue to do so throughout his or her lifetime. Citizens o f tomorrow must possess the skills to continue to learn, grow and respond to the dynamic patterns o f learning and employment emerging this century. Scores o f educational institutions refer to 'life-long learning' in their mission statements and policy documents. Improving technology education is frequently earmarked as a primary goal in school accreditation reports. School districts, colleges and universities are making their programs o f study accessible to students, world-wide, through the development o f distributed learning networks. It is obvious that information technology literacy w i l l be the gateway to life-long learning in the twenty-first century. Information technology, one o f the most powerful tools available for students and teachers to transform our teaching and learning environment in public schools, has largely remained an untapped resource in promoting life-long learning among our students and educators. M a n y schools have yet to implement the use o f technology beyond a very basic level, even though technology education is perceived to be a core subject o f the curriculum o f tomorrow (Richie, 1996; Starkweather 1996). The importance o f integrating technology across the curriculum has been prominent in educational literature for the past decade.  Numerous obstacles have been  identified and documented surrounding the successful integration o f technology in public schools. Access to hardware, appropriate software, professional training for educators,  1  technical and financial support to sustain meaningful uses o f technology in schools are the primary areas to be addressed when designing a comprehensive information technology implementation strategy for educational environments. The obstacles are clear, but many educational leaders have failed to develop a model which successfully addresses the challenge o f integrating the use o f technology as a tool for teaching and learning and as a means o f constructing new knowledge for and by students. Although a good start, furnishing schools with the most up-to-date hardware and software, building state-of-the-art infrastructures to support telecommunications and writing and mandating scores o f information technology learning outcomes, does little to produce a 'computer literate' student population equipped with the skills to thrive in the twenty-first century. If educational technology is to be integrated as a tool for instruction across the curriculum, teachers w i l l have to make it happen!  Intelligent use o f technology occurs only  when teachers understand and experience the benefits it can bring to the classroom. The potential o f these powerful learning tools w i l l be unleashed when educators modify their teaching practices and integrate the use o f technology as a means to build, enhance and extend constructive learning environments for students (Becker, 1992). Purpose of Paper: Developing Technology Learning Communities in Schools This paper w i l l present two initiatives developed for Y u k o n schools which address many o f the challenges common to the successful integration o f technology in public schools today. Both initiatives, the Computer Resource Teacher M o d e l ( C R T M ) and Technology Learning Communities ( T L C ) , promote integrative and constructive uses of technology through an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning with computers. Before exploring these initiatives, I w i l l examine how technology facilitates learning through inquiry and how inquiry may support a constructivist approach to teaching and learning for students and professional staff. This w i l l lead to an examination  2  of how inquiry and constructivism advance the integration o f technology in education and how it provides a venue for developing communities o f inquiry in schools. I w i l l present the Computer Resource Teacher M o d e l ( C R T M ) and w i l l relate my experiences and observations as a computer resource teacher for three years at Riverdale Junior Secondary School in Whitehorse, Y u k o n . Following this, I w i l l present a framework for building and sustaining Technology Learning Communities ( T L C ) among professionals in schools. This discussion w i l l examine how technology is well situated as an overarching common goal for developing professional communities o f inquiry in schools and how T L C s may counter many o f the obstacles facing the successful integration o f technology across the curriculum. The compositional and operational requirements for the proposed model w i l l be presented, as well as how technology may expand the boundaries o f the school's learning community to include regional, national and international members as resource and/or community members. To understand why technology has not been effectively integrated in our schools' learning environments, it is necessary to examine some o f the historical influences o f educational computing which have prevented this adoption from occurring. In doing so, I will also describe recent experiences and observations I have had working with teachers and students as information technology consultant for Y u k o n public schools over the past three years. I w i l l relate these experiences to my theory that the potential for these powerful tools to transform traditional learning cultures w i l l not be realized until educators re-evaluate and restructure their approach to using technology with students,. Historical Influences on Educational Computing in Public Schools When microcomputers were introduced into classrooms in the early 1980's, they were received with great expectations by some and with trepidation by others. Except for a few exemplary uses o f technology in education, such as M I T ' s Hennigan Project (Harel & Papert, 1991), the computer was viewed as a means o f delivering instruction to students, much like the overhead projector, filmstrip or V C R . The role o f technology assumed was to teach students 3  through drill and practice or tutorial applications. M a n y educators projected it would aid students in learning more content, in a shorter period o f time. In the early days o f educational computing, software programs selected for educational purposes often limited the usefulness o f computers. Students, often in a lab setting, were taught the mechanics o f using software with 'impenetrable' user interfaces. Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) placed the learner in a passive role in this learning environment.  These tutorial-based programs delivered hierarchical activities which  included student feedback or evaluation components. C A I lacked the complexity which would make it relevant or compatible to the creation o f constructivist classrooms on a substantial scale (Becker, 1998). A s a result, computers were often used as teaching machines, and in some instances, took over part o f the teaching responsibilities o f the classroom teacher (Niederhauser, 1996). Computer aided instruction (CAI) was very consistent with traditional behaviorist teaching practices, did not cause a shift in pedagogy and did not alter the nature o f the learning process for students. (Harel & Papert, 1991). This made it very easy for teachers to incorporate the programs into the curricula without adjusting their teaching practices from the teacher-centered, didactic learning environment prevalent in schools at this time. While this method o f using computers did help some students through remediation, it was not the most effective way to use technology with students (Jonassen, 1998). A s early as the 1980's, there were educational reformers who were researching the impact o f using production-oriented software with students in the educational setting. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute o f Technology ( M I T ) were involved in a large, multi-dimensional study at Hennigan School, called Project Headlights. Using L E G O / l o g o , a software application developed by M I T ' s Seymour Papert, students constructed machines using L E G O building blocks, gears and motors and wrote the Logo  4  programming necessary to control and operate their machines (Harel & Papert, 1991). Such innovative uses o f computers with students at this time were rare. The introduction o f computers to schools did not lead to any fundamental shift in how teachers were teaching or how their students were learning. Educational computing was not, for the most part, focusing students' attention and effort on intellectual challenges and questions (Becker, 1992). Intelligent use o f computers facilitate learning environments where students are challenged to utilize high-level thinking and problem solving skills. They are the skills which prepare students to continue to learn, grow and respond to the dynamic patterns o f change in our global society. During the early years o f computing, educational leaders, administrators and schools districts invested millions o f dollars on equipment, but teachers were provided with little direction or support to construct meaningful learning environments for their students using this technology. In time, many teachers and principals began to view computers as electronic notebooks or workbooks. They began to question the investment associated with the acquisition o f these tools. Skepticism among supporters grew and serious questions were raised as the value o f technology in our schools (Willis, 1997). This may have caused many educators and administrators to become reluctant to invest scarce capital dollars on a medium that did not appear to be making a huge impact on student learning. This situation is compounded by some educational theorists, such as N e i l Postman, who believe that technology and our so called 'information age' is a hindrance, not only to education but possibly to humankind. In a presentation Postman delivered entitled Informing Ourselves to Death, he describes the impact he believes technologies have on our culture. "Through the computer, the heralds say, we w i l l make education better, religion better, politics better, our minds better - best o f all, ourselves better. This is, or course, nonsense, and only the young or the ignorant or the foolish could believe it... .The message is that through more and more 5  information, more conveniently packaged, more swiftly delivered, we w i l l find solutions to our problems. A n d so all the brilliant young men and women, believing this, create ingenious things for the computer to do, hoping that in this way, we w i l l become wiser and more decent and more noble" (Postman, 1990). Postman believes the talent used to develop technologies for the assimilation o f information is a monumental and dangerous waste o f talent and time. H e asserts that i f the energy and talent used in advancing the use o f information technology was directed towards philosophy, the arts, literature or education, society would possibly learn and understand why there are wars, hunger, homelessness, mental illness or anger (Postman, 1991). Public critics have also surfaced to question the value o f educational computing and its contribution to a student's education. V o c a l parents often view technology as an infringement on 'the arts' programs in public schools, which were being cut as cost saving measures.  It is not surprising that numerous articles have appeared in the press recently  questioning the value technology is playing in the education o f our students and the increasing financial cost for educational institutes to stay current with the emerging technologies. Virginia Gait, education reporter for the Globe and M a i l , reported on the results of a recent Angus Reid poll which headlined, "Too M u c h Time Spent on Computers in Schools, Canadians Say." The article went on to conclude that the majority o f Canadians believe that too much emphasis is being placed on computers at the expense o f teaching the basics (Gait, 1999). This is a most interesting summation and potentially very damaging given that most educational institutes are struggling to acquire the hardware and resources needed to provide students with opportunities to use technology in schools. It  6  also reveals another issue worth investigating: What is the public's perception as to the role o f technology in education today? In their book, The Child and the Machine, Allison Armstrong and Charles Casement not only question the effectiveness o f computers in educating our children, but go so far as to question whether we should be exposing children to technology at all in their formative years (Armstrong & Casement, 1998). The authors focus their arguments on the link between computers and improved academic performance and they leave the reader with the underlying impression that computers are being used in the school system to 'teach' children. " W e cannot rely on a single technology tool to do the job o f educating our children", wrote the authors in the concluding chapter o f their book (Armstrong & Casemont, 1998). Clearly, educational leaders have to make an effort communicate and educate the public about the role information technology plays in the education o f our students today.  It is essential the critics o f using technology in education understand computers  are one o f many tools used to enhance and extend learning across the curriculum and that their use in the educational arena is not at the expense o f traditional curriculum content. Four key areas can be identified in educational computing which I believe are the underlying reasons why schools have not been successful in implementing and integrating the use o f technology with students. Twenty years later many o f these issues continue to be challenges for educators who are attempting incorporate and integrate its use across the curriculum. They are: 1. Lack o f implementation strategy 2.  Lack of teacher training  7  3. Lack o f shift in pedagogy 4. Lack o f a relevant curriculum  1. Lack of Implementation Strategy The relatively short history o f technology planning by schools has demonstrated that dropping computers on desktops and periodically dipping teachers into technology workshops does not result in teachers and students using technology effectively (Hoffman, 1996). This was the extent o f most technology plans during the early introduction o f microcomputers to schools in the 1980s. In retrospect, it appears that there was a belief that the need for technology in schools would sell itself and the innovation would be accepted and adopted due to its obvious benefits. This symbiotic adoption did not occur. Innovations such as the introduction o f a new technology diffuse at a very slow rate in organizations (Rogers, 1983). This is evidenced by the fact that two decades after the introduction o f computers to public schools, many educational leaders are still struggling to have teachers use technology in a meaningful, constructive manner with their students (Johnson, 1997; W i l l i s , 1997). Given the complexity o f issues surrounding implementation o f information technology (IT), it is understandable that a comprehensive, curriculum implementation strategy is needed as part o f a larger information technology plan for a school district. Curriculum should be the driving force behind such a plan and should incorporate the hardware, software and support resources needed to achieve the learning outcomes o f the curriculum (Hoffman, 1996). Specifically, an effective information technology plan should include the following: 1. Dynamic curriculum - integrated across the curriculum 2. Implementation plan for the curriculum - updated yearly ( 3 - 5 year plan) 3. Teacher training - operational and pedagogical 4. Hardware standards/network specifications for schools 5. Software which supports curriculum objectives 6. Technical support/network support for the classroom teacher and school 7. Adequate resource funding for the life o f the plan 8  8. Classroom support for teachers - technology or school computer coordinator Schools seldom had implementation strategies to guide them during the early introduction of computers in public schools. Detailed planning is essential for the successful integration o f IT in schools (Uebbing, 1995). This is particularly true in the educational arena where reforms are slow to be adopted, employees are known to be resistant to change and where individuals and units often work in isolation o f each other (Bossart, 1996). When implementing a significant change in an educational system, a top-down, bottom-up strategy has been found to be successful (Fullen, 1994). Research has demonstrated when top-down (district offices) and bottom-up (teachers) strategies mesh, change is likely to occur and be successful. Mandating change from the school district level w i l l not be successful; what is most important when implementing change at the school level is the classroom teacher. (Fullen, 1994). Schools are not known for initiating change, so a bottom-up approach is likely not to work without some direction from a central authority. Due to the complexity surrounding the adoption o f technological innovations in educational institutions, there is a need to involve all stakeholders (top-down, bottom-up strategy) in the planning and implementation efforts o f the curriculum (Johnson, 1997). The range o f stakeholders involved in an information technology plan is far reaching and must be representative o f all who w i l l be directly involved in the implementation process and support o f the curriculum. Unfortunately, many o f the important stakeholders remain invisible in the planning process and this may account for the seemingly dismal results o f school districts to successfully implement technological change at the school level (Bossert, 1996). Teachers, parents, students, business community members, administrators, technology coordinators, curriculum consultants, network specialists and technicians should be involved in the plan's development (Uebbing, 1995). Only through a 9  comprehensive, coordinated effort by all stakeholders w i l l there be an understanding o f the complexity o f issues surrounding the implementation o f the IT curriculum and the technology infrastructure needed to support it in public schools. A n underlying element encompassing all facets o f a successful technology plan is adequate financial support to sustain the human, hardware and software resources needed to support the curriculum. When human resources (teacher training and technical support) are under-funded, it w i l l affect the delivery o f the curriculum. When a school does not have hardware, software and a network infrastructure in place, curriculum objectives may not be met. There exists an interdependency among all levels o f support for information technology. Parallel financial support for human and hardware support should be sustained throughout the life o f the plan.  2. Lack of Teacher Training It is well documented in literature that one o f the biggest hurdles to overcome for implementation o f information technology in schools today is the need to address the 'technology skills gap' that exists in the teaching profession (Hope, 1997; Niederhauser, 1996; Maddux, 1997; Ritchie, 1996; Willis: 1997). Although there has been some progress in improving technology expertise among teachers over the past few years, there has also been a very rapid growth in sophistication o f hardware, software and network infrastructures over the same period o f time. A s a result, the gap between teacher skills and their ability to use today's hardware and software is growing. It is important to theorize and i f possible, understand why teachers have lagged behind industry in acquiring and maintaining an adequate level o f computer literacy. Understanding this phenomenon, why and how it occurred, is an important issue to consider when developing IT plans for school districts. The primary human resource issue surrounding technology implementation in schools is the need to provide the resources to train teachers (Hope, 1997; W i l l i s , 1997). Although it is possible to cite scores o f literature on the need for technology training 10  among teachers, none so poignantly describes the underlying problem surrounding this phenomena than Johnson's (1997) findings comparing private industry and public education's training o f employees. She found that in one year business spent well over $2 billion on training their employees on the use o f technology, but 90% o f teachers in America report that they were 100% self taught (Johnson, 1997). Private industry does not operate on the pretense that they can just sit an employee in front o f a new piece o f technology and hope that he/she w i l l learn how to use it efficiently and effectively. Industry knows that this would be ineffective, inefficient and counter-productive to do so. Educational leaders appear to expect teachers to attain their technology skills by osmosis; furnish them with the technology and they w i l l learn to use it effectively with students. The past twenty years have proven this w i l l not happen. Administrators and curriculum leaders must acknowledge that training opportunities and resources must be allocated for professional development i f they hope for present teaching practices in technology to change (Meltzer & Sherman, 1997).  3. Lack of Shift in Pedagogy N e w computer applications and sophisticated hardware and network infrastructures have left many teachers unfamiliar and fearful of technology. Teacher training can no longer be limited to learning how to operate the hardware and software. A far more critical issue for IT integration in schools is the need for a shift in teaching practices, from teacher directed learning, to student-centered learning (Niederhauser, 1996). It is time for teachers, as a profession, to critically examine their pedagogy. The traditional role o f the classroom teachers as the 'expert' transmitting information, knowledge and facts to the 'empty learner' does little to support the global educational vision of life-long learning (Goldman Segall, 1998; Richie, 1997; Wilberg, 1997). Our traditional foundation and approach to learning assumes that students w i l l learn on demand and in doing so, it places the learner in a passive role in his or her own education. 11  It assumes the student w i l l embrace the scope and sequence o f the course o f study. Students' success or failure is determined through formal and informal assessment instruments. In this environment students learn the same concepts at the same time, but each student takes away his or her own unique meaning and understanding through their own unique cognitive processes. Didactic learning environments and formal assessment do not assess or appreciate the different life experiences students bring to the classroom or how students perceptions or suppositions o f their world have been challenged, modified or newly constructed during the course o f study. In her book, Points of Viewing Children's Thinking, R i c k i Goldman-Segall (1998) explores the discourse facing teachers in our current educational climate. Educators today are struggling to find a balance between: instruction and construction, routine and spontaneous learning, work and play (Goldman-Segal, 1998, p. 68). A significant number of cognitive scientists now view learning as a process o f constructing one's cognition, or thinking/understanding. Theorists suggest that learning occurs not by recording information, but by interpreting it. In an information age where the knowledge base is growing exponentially, it is logical that teaching practices must shift to adopt a more student-centered learning environment. Educational reformers are encouraging teachers to modify their teaching practices, teaching styles, along with their underlying beliefs as to what constitutes 'good teaching'. Most reformers are encouraging teachers to adopt teaching practices that are more consistent with a constructivist model o f learning (Becker, 1998). Constructivist teachers recognize that students all have unique experiences which they bring to each classroom activity and they connect lessons to student experiences. Curriculum serves as a foundation for what to teach; a constructivist approach to teaching addresses how students learn and how to make the learning relevant and meaningful to the student (Brooks & Brooks, 1999).  12  M a n y integrated technology programs in schools support a constructivist approach to student learning where the emphasis is placed on using the computer as a tool in a student's knowledge constructions (Machines & Kissoon-Singh 1996; Feng, 1996; Papert, 1980, Willis, 1997). Citizens o f tomorrow require the skills to collect, examine, evaluate, critique, defend and to construct new knowledge. Production-oriented software applications such as spreadsheets, databases, word processors and multimedia tools, coupled with telecommunications, all aid in facilitating students' constructions o f knowledge. Information technologies possess enormous potential to support constructivist learning environments. Technology is also playing a new role in resource-based learning in our schools. The Internet provides students with rich data through electronic journal and research articles and through collaboration with experts willing to share their expertise with students on the net. Students are no longer limited to participating in intercollegiate projects within the confines o f their schools or city. Technology has redefined the wallless classroom and has made it is possible for students to participate in national and international collaborative projects from a desktop-computer terminal. Goldman-Segall asserts this globalization of the learning environment further challenges the traditional role of the classroom teacher as the bearer o f all knowledge. She believes that the days o f teachers being the gatekeepers o f knowledge are gone and that teachers can no longer confine learning within the walls o f their classroom (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p.81). "What I suggest is that teachers give up trying to keep the barn doors closed. I suggest they take a look at what's on the outside o f the barn first. Then they need to find ways to explore, with those children with whom they live throughout the day. They need to navigate new territories, learning how to construct larger groupings o f human experience from the plethora o f possibilities and points o f viewing" (Goldman-Segall, 1998, p. 81). It is no longer merely desirable to learn for life; it is a necessity i f one wants to be a productive, participating member o f society. This is true for both student and teacher.  13  4. Lack of a Dynamic Curriculum When introducing a new curriculum, it is vital that professional expectations for teachers and the learning outcomes for students are clearly articulated and supported with relevant resources. Computers w i l l be underutilized unless there is a strong curriculum tied to well designed teaching strategies (Wilberg, 1997). The first educational computing curriculum for British Columbia and Yukon, Computers into the Classroom, was introduced in 1984 ( B . C . Ministry o f Education, 1984). It was issued to schools as a resource and was not a mandated curriculum. Insufficient or inadequate hardware and software resources, along with staff lacking technology skills, provided an avenue for schools to ignore the curriculum and they were able to do so without repercussions or much attention from curriculum leaders. The level to which technology education was ignored in British Columbia is evidenced by the fact that a new information technology (IT) curriculum was not introduced until September 1997; a full thirteen years after the last computer resource document. B y this time, the original computer curriculum was not only dated, but irrelevant. Several generations o f new technologies had evolved during this time and schools had little direction or mandate to upgrade their hardware and networking infrastructures. The gap in relevant IT curricula furthered the perception that the teaching of information technology was o f little importance in schools. In response to the need to formalize and standardize the teaching o f information technology in British Columbia's schools, the Ministry o f Education produced the Information Technology Integrated Resource Packages (IRPs) targeting students from kindergarten to grade ten. The aim o f this curriculum is to integrate the use and teaching of technology skills across the curriculum, by classroom teachers ( B . C . Ministry o f Education, 1995). For most teachers the implementation o f IT in schools is markedly different from other innovations they may have experienced in their teaching careers. M a n y teachers are struggling to learn the skills needed to effectively utilize this medium 14  with their students and most have yet to recognize implement the use o f technology be an effective tool in promoting inquiry learning in their classrooms. Examining and understanding the obstacles underlying the successful integration o f technology in public schools is the basis for exploring the role professional communities of inquiry can play in addressing the 'technology skills gap' that exists among educators. It w i l l also serve a venue for them to experience inquiry learning as a member o f a community o f inquiry. School and technology-based communities o f inquiry provide a means to address and counter many o f the challenges facing districts which lack global IT plans and/or funding for adequate operational and pedagogical professional development for staff. Before examining what constitutes inquiry learning, a community o f inquiry and how these communities promote a constructivist approach to teaching and learning, I w i l l share my observations and experience an information technology consultant who has worked closely with educators and departmental officials in their attempt to build technology learning environments for students and teachers. In doing so I w i l l present arguments and evidence as to why I believe fundamental changes must occur at the school level before we can hope to realize our goal o f integrating the use o f technology in a meaningful way with students. The Missing Link - Technology Integration M y three years as Information Technology Consultant for the Y u k o n Department of Education have provided me the opportunity to be intimately involved in the long-term planning for resourcing and integrating the use o f technology across the curriculum. During this time, we have invested in the human and financial resources to build school infrastructures, acquire hardware and software tools and have provided professional development opportunities for educators. The groundwork had been well established to promote and facilitate the successful integration o f information technology among students and staff. Seemingly, everything was in place for schools for educators to 15  embrace technology resources and integrate their use to enhance and extend student's learning experiences. A s I traveled throughout the territory, my observations proved otherwise. With very few exceptions, no fundamental change had occurred in how teachers used technology with their students. Classes are still scheduled into the computer lab for a predetermined number o f minutes per week, teachers are still seeking subject-oriented software, most o f which holds little educational value for the students and participation in collaborative and online projects is rare in schools. A t the outset, I was perplexed as to why teachers were continuing to use technology as they had decades ago. The elements which were lacking in the days o f early educational computing had certainly been addressed. W e had a new curriculum which specified the role technology should play in a student's learning. Teachers had been furnished with the hardware and the 'production oriented software' to promote and complement a constructivist learning environment. Inservicing highlighted the need to integrate the use o f technology into the curriculum, not onto existing programming. A s I explored this issue further I found it was not an isolated to one or two schools — it was a system-wide phenomena. What had we missed? What we overlooked was the most critical element when implementing an innovation o f this magnitude — the classroom teacher. W e were not only requesting teachers to change how they used technology with students, but most importantly, we were asking them to change how they taught. A n d we did so without considering the structural changes which would have to occur at both the school level and in teacher education programs to implement such a shift in practice. In theory, it was a rational approach; in practice, it was impossible to implement. It was a classic 'top-down' strategy which failed because the plan did not include all the stakeholders needed to implement such an innovative pedagogical approach to teaching and learning with technology.  16  Traditionally schools have scheduled the use o f their computer labs in much the same fashion as libraries did before adopting an open scheduling model to facilitate resource based learning. Classes are scheduled into the computer lab for a particular block of time to 'use' the computers. I knew this to be the case in most schools, but what I emphasized with teachers on my regular visits to their schools, was to refocus how they used the technology with students. To promote a more integrated approach to using computers with students I asked teachers to guide their use o f it by asking the questions: " H o w are my students using technology to enrich their learning environment and how is it tied to what we are studying in the classroom?" While these might have been guiding principles on the approach to using technology tools, it did little to facilitate integration. Once all the classes have been 'booked' into the computer lab there is seldom any remaining time for flexible scheduling for student use. This does not facilitate a teacher's need to block additional time in the lab when planning for long-term projects. When a student's access to technology or online resources is limited to thirty minutes, Tuesday mornings and Friday afternoons, it does little to facilitate spontaneous access to technology that often arise in learning environments. For that matter, 'computer labs' do little to promote true integration o f technology in student learning. Four critical areas have to be addressed at the school level to facilitate the integrative use o f technology with students. 1. Inservicing o f principals on the aim o f technology integration in schools 2. Re-evaluate 'timetabling' and distribution o f computer hardware 3. Professional development for teachers on the pedagogical approach for technology integration with students. 4. Parents and the community involvement/advisement on educational reforms Inservicing principals on the aim o f technology's role in education w i l l provide administrators with an understanding o f the changes needed at the school level to support technology integration. Administrative support is important, i f not essential, i f changes at 17  the school level are to be successfully adopted (Conyers, Kappel & Rooney, 1999; Hoffman, 1996; Richie, 1996). In conjunction with the staff, administrators should play a significant role in reviewing and restructuring student access to computer technology by adopting an open-ended timetabling schedule for the lab. This, along with moving toward a more distributed network o f computers throughout the school, w i l l facilitate integration. Pods o f computers in individual classrooms promotes 'just in time' learning with technology and augments an integrated approach to their use. ( M c C r a w , Meyer & Tompkins, 1995). L i k e principals, teachers would benefit from further inservicing on the aim o f technology integration across the curriculum. It is an innovative approach to using computers and requires educators to re-think their basic pedagogical teaching approach, adjust their craft and to re-conceptualize their goals for students. (Becker, 1997). The above issues could be addressed through traditional inservicing o f professional staff, but for it to be meaningful and successful at the school level, the discussion and implementation must come from within (Booth & Wells, 1993). School based communities o f inquiry provide a venue for educators to explore, examine and implement the fundamental structural and pedagogical changes necessary at the school level for technology integration. Historically, educational reforms are slow to be adopted in educational systems and are often met with resistance by traditionalists who are reluctant to adjust steadfast practices and procedures (Harel & Papert, 1991; Fullen, 1994). The public is often the last to learn o f transformations in the educational system and understandably, are not always supportive o f newly adopted practices with which they have had little input. Inviting parents and the public to be active participants in the reconceptualization o f technology's role in education provides an avenue to involve and inform these stakeholders about the important role computers are now assuming in a student's learning environment.  18  It is easy to see why the early introduction o f microcomputers was not universally adopted by the educational system. This innovation lacked an implementation plan, mandated curriculum, trained teachers, (technically and pedagogically) and relevant software and hardware resources to be widely adopted and accepted as a valuable teaching tool. Today, many o f the elements necessary for the successful integration o f technology in education are in place for educators to embrace. Sophisticated hardware and software, new applications for the Internet and development o f distributed learning networks are continuing to evolve. The challenge remaining for educators is to adopt the teaching practices which capitalize on the potential for technology to transform how we teach and learn in the next century.  19  Chapter 2 What is inquiry learning?  It is without question that the most important 'resource' in our educational system is the classroom teacher, but the role o f this primary resource in 'educating' the citizen o f tomorrow is in a dramatic state o f transition. Historically, the model within which educators have worked has been one o f isolation. Teachers learned the content o f their area o f 'expertise' and then were charged with the duty o f transmitting the information, content and skills to their students, evaluating them for proficiency and moving them along to the next teacher, to do the same. Schools are structured in such a way that they afford little time for interaction, collaboration or professional growth among their experts. Preparing the knowledge constructors for our new economy w i l l require a model in education which promotes inquiry and provides an environment where inquiry learning can be learned and practiced by both students and teachers. The old schools' model o f a teacher's role as an educator requires change, along with the perception o f what w i l l constitute an 'educated' person in the next century. Educators are caught between the well-entrenched traditional model o f teachers as the transmitters and the authority o f knowledge and the demands o f our new economy where citizens must be able to respond to complex issues by working collaboratively with others in the construction o f new knowledge. I f follows, epistemologically, that educational reformers w i l l be subjected to review and redefine what w i l l constitute knowledge in our new economy. In a world that is becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated, educational constructs, such as learning communities, may serve as an appropriate venue to facilitate our newly constructed theories o f knowledge. A s such, the educational system should accept, respond and adopt teaching and learning practices which move away from the belief that any one individual can possess the expertise, knowledge and understanding needed to respond to the complexity o f issues in a society where the exponential growth of knowledge is easily shared from a desktop computer. 20  Fluid learning communities are schools where teachers are students, students are teachers and teachers and students are comfortable co-learning a topic o f inquiry. If we hope to cause an effective shift in the paradigm o f what an educated person must be in our world community, we have no choice but to think differently about what we teach, how we teach and the new role educators must adopt in our schools to achieve these goals. The concept o f communities o f inquiry is based on the premise that we learn differently and more effectively thorough inquiry. Traditional learning communities rely heavily on dialogic interchange between teacher and student. Inquiry learning, on the other hand, relies on the communal acquisition o f knowledge (Collins, 1997). 'Learning how to learn' is the fundamental core o f inquiry learning and is at the heart o f many o f the curricular and pedagogical reforms in education today. Inquiry learning can be traced back to the writings o f Dewey nearly one-hundred years ago (Lipman, 1997). It is a pedagogy that has not been universally embraced nor completely understood by most professional educators who were 'trained' in a more conservative, behaviorist manner. What has changed is the urgency with which it now assumes as we enter a new century (Sampson, 1998). Matthew Lipman (1991) describes inquiry learning as an environment where learners listen to one another with respect, build on one another's ideas, challenge one another to supply reasons for an otherwise unsupported opinion, assist each other in drawing inferences from what has been said and seek to identify one another's assumptions. The inquiry approach to learning promotes problem solving in authentic settings, collaboration among students, classrooms, teachers, scientists and community. Robust learning and genuine understanding are achieved through these communities only when students are active and thoughtful participants in their learning. There is no question that creating 'communities o f inquiry' in schools is about change. It promotes an environment in the school where teaching, and learning about 21  teaching, becomes seamless (Wells, 1994). It w i l l require participants to acquire a new set of mind skills and 'habits o f learning' that become embedded in the day-to-day practices of the learner. Teachers who are members o f learning communities w i l l experience, first hand, a learning environment that is based on conceptual understanding and the ability to apply this knowledge in a variety o f contexts. In an inquiry based learning environment students do not sit and simply absorb information. They are engaged in activities that help them building understanding. Children pose questions, seek answers to questions they care about, develop, discuss and defend theories and share ideas with others. When inquiry is encouraged in the classroom, students may start asking questions teachers may not be able to answer. This may be very threatening to educators who are accustomed to being the expert and central figure o f authority in the classroom. Teachers facilitating inquiry learning respond to students' queries by guiding them to the resources or tools which may help them find an answer to their question. A s a co-investigator, the teacher models and practices the role o f inquirer and life-long learner for his/her students. Teachers cannot be expected to create an environment in their classrooms for students to develop, experience and practice inquiry dispositions i f they themselves do not have similar formative experiences (Booth & Wells, 1993). Most teacher educators joined preservice programs before inquiry was adopted as an approach to learning with students or before advanced technologies were available for use in schools. A s a result, they likely have not experienced how technology can enhance student learning or how to incorporate it effectively in an inquiry learning environment (McLaughlin, 1998). Becoming a member o f a professional community o f inquiry may provide veteran teachers with an opportunity to experience inquiry learning and to incorporate inquiry practices in their classrooms. Unfortunately, many o f our newly graduated teachers have not had inquiry learning modeled for them; nor have they experienced inquiry learning during their recently completed programs. Current teaching methodologies must be  22  incorporated and modeled in pre-service training o f new teachers.  If teachers are  expected to practice and promote inquiry in their classrooms, then they should have it demonstrated and practiced for them by their teacher educators. I f they are expected to use technology with their classes, then teacher educators should model integrated uses o f technology in their methodology and content courses (Hancock, 1997; W i l l i s , 1997). Preparing teachers for the 'computer cultures' o f this century must include more than having them learn content and follow curriculum guidelines (Goldman Segall, 1998). Adequate pre-service training o f teachers using technology was addressed in the Report to the President on the Use of Technology to Strengthen K-12 Education in the United States (1997). The report recommended that U S schools o f education incorporate the use o f technology into their pre-service curricula so the next generation o f teachers are capable o f making effective use o f it with their students (President's Committee o f Advisors on Science and Technology, 1997). Until these issues are addressed in Canadian preservice programs, the public school system w i l l have to assume the responsibility o f inservicing new teachers and existing professional staff, on current and relevant teaching methodologies for using technology with students in public schools. Inquiry learning results in new learning opportunities teachers and for their students. It is a learning environment where they can experience and learn the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to be productive, responsible citizens in our increasingly complex, global economy (Booth & Wells, 1993). Constructivism/Constructionism's role in inquiry learning. Constructivism is a learning theory describing the process o f knowledge construction. Constructivism is central to inquiry learning. It is the application o f what are often referred to as 'constructivist practices' in the classroom and elsewhere, which provide support to the knowledge construction process (Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde, 1993).  23  Constructionism is not a better form o f instruction; it is a different kind o f knowledge where students are involved in constructing things, rather than banking knowledge (Harel & Papert, 1991). In this environment the learner works collaboratively with peers, teachers, community members or online specialists by engaging in problem solving, critical thinking and inquiry as the central focus to their learning. Seymour Papert (1991) extends Piaget's interpretation o f constructivism to constructionism, where the emphasis is placed on the particular constructions or artifacts created and shared by the learner. Constructionism - the N word as opposed to the V word - shares constructivism's connotation o f learning as 'building knowledge structure' irrespective o f the learning circumstances o f the learning. It then adds that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it's a sand castle on the beach or a theory o f the universe (Harel & Papert, 1991, p. 1). Papert believes that our traditional curriculum centered, teacher driven forms o f instruction do little to contribute to the intellectual growth o f students. In curriculum centered forms o f instruction he sees teachers as technicians charged with delivering prescriptions o f curriculum to passive students who are afforded little opportunity to participate or experience the verbally-expressed, formal knowledge transmitted to them. Since the early 1980's educational reformers have been exploring approaches to make learning more meaningful for students. They have sought to provide an environment where students can construct their own understandings o f knowledge and make the connection between 'schoolwork' and the world beyond the classroom (Frye, 1999). Papert contends that moving to a constructionist approach o f learning challenges our long held, deeply rooted ways o f thinking about education and knowledge. It requires a restructuring o f our education system, its learning environment and a reshaping o f the structure o f knowledge itself (Harel & Papert, 1991). Applications o f constructionist practices in the classroom present additional challenges and benefits to the classroom teachers and the student. The challenge is for the 24  teacher to provide a framework where the student can construct knowledge and understanding. Constructionist-based classroom environments require longer interdisciplinary content models. This permits in-depth exploration o f a topic for the student, making the intellectual issues meaningful and substantively more engaging for the student (Becker, 1998). The focus in a constructionist classroom is on process rather than product, along with the adoption o f open-ended questioning techniques which require contemplation and assimilation o f information (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). Students in this learning environment engage in different activities, take initiative for their learning, and work more independently. It is important that teachers understand the conditions under which a constructionist pedagogy arises. Becker (1998) outlines the three types o f resources as essential elements to enable teachers to institute these practices: 1. Information resources for teachers: 2. Social support resources 3. Educational resources for students Information resources for teachers constitute the opinions, arguments and knowledge that enable teachers to absorb and internalize a rationale for why these changes are necessary to facilitate this mode o f learning. They also provide a means to reflect and resolve issues surrounding competing pedagogical goals and objectives in the educational system. Social support resources refer to the school's environment and its ability to provide a structure and climate that w i l l promote a constructionist approach to learning. Becker encourages teachers to form professional networks among themselves as a means of engaging themselves as learners. (See chapter 4) He emphasizes the need for teachers to model teaching practices for each other and to share experiences and advice on how to accomplish the changes needed to facilitate this pedagogy so it becomes a normal day-today practice in the classroom. 25  Educational resources for students include an array o f materials, equipment and information and communication resources (both hardware and human) that students need in order to engage in this learning environment. Becker believes that successful implementation o f constructionist instructional reforms requires the presence o f all three types o f resources (Becker, 1998). Evaluation in this type o f learning environment must be re-conceptualized to compensate for the expanded knowledge base the student is developing in a particular subject area (Goldman-Segall, 1999). Testing solely for the presence or absence o f 'chunks' o f information the student may be able to recall is irrelevant in this type o f learning environment. Teachers must adopt alternate means o f assessing where they can determine whether students have organized, structured and used information in context to solve the complex problems which they are studying and/or the knowledge construction which resulted through the process (Herman, Aschbacher & Winters, 1992). Educational institutes are driven by a behaviorist teaching model where 'recall, memorization and multiple choice testing' procedures remain in place (Jonassen, 1993). B y clinging to traditional evaluation (testing) methods, students very quickly 'get it,' and they realize the constructionist process that is being emphasized in the classroom is really unimportant and what has been learned ' i n the process' o f producing the product, w i l l not count.  Students respond quickly by assuming their well-enshrined behaviorist model o f  learning. What w i l l be presented to be evaluated w i l l be a product they believe the teacher wants to see; not a creation from their 'mind's eye.' The fact remains that quantitative measures for evaluation are still required in our system. Acceptable methods o f evaluation must produce marks which are justifiable and understandable to students and parents and they must incorporate methods that meet the 'evaluation criteria' o f the school and educational administration. There has to be a balance between the weight assigned to the process and weight assigned to the product, based on the criteria developed for evaluating a student's product. 26  When working in a constructionist classroom environment, the process, or how a student arrives at his/her end-product, should be considered in evaluation. I f we are promoting independent thinkers, problem solvers and critical thinkers, then we should evaluate these criteria. If we hope to make the student's learning situations more realistic and meaningful, real-world experiences through constructionist teaching environments, then we should adjust our evaluation process to reflect the goals o f the learning experience. The method o f evaluating student's work should be based on the overall objectives o f the project, the product and the processes involved to achieve end-product. Evaluation Methods in a Constructionist Learning Environment The ideal evaluation method should include a combination o f methods, which facilitate 'ongoing evaluation' throughout the duration o f the project. There are any number o f alternative evaluation processes which can be adapted or adopted for inquiry based learning environments. I have outlined five methods below. 1. Portfolio. A l l students should be required to maintain a portfolio o f their work throughout the school year. Included in this portfolio should be a copy o f their skills inventory, which they can update as new skills, tools and technologies are learned through the completion o f specific pieces o f work. The portfolio should also include a copy o f the student's 'goals' for the semester, along with project goals for specific pieces o f work they may be presently engaged in studying. This provides a means for students to keep an inventory o f the goals they have achieved and it provides a visual representation as to how well they are proceeding along 'their' skills continuum. 2. Journal  The journal as a method o f evaluation can be a very effective evaluative tool  for both the teacher and the student. It is particularly useful when students are engaged in long-term projects as it provides a medium for them to reflect on how well they are progressing through their project. It also serves as a record o f their troubleshooting methods, and their critical thinking processes. Teachers can use the journal to monitor  27  student progress and to respond to specific problems students may be encountering with a particular aspect o f the exercise. 3. Self-Evaluation  A l l students should be provided an opportunity to reflect on their  learning through a method o f self-evaluation. We cannot 'get into the heads o f others;' this method o f evaluation offers insight into exactly what the student gleaned from the process of completing the product submitted for evaluation. It is very effective in causing the student to reflect on what they have accomplished, what they might strive to improve in later projects and what they could have done differently during the learning process they recently experienced. 4. Teaching/Exhibits In my experience one o f the most powerful, yet underutilized, evaluative tools is the 'student as teacher' model. Students who present and share the knowledge they have learned and the process involved to collect and present the knowledge, is a powerful learning and evaluative process. 5. Peer Evaluation  When students are involved in a similar learning experience and  have an appreciation for the process that results in the end product, then peer evaluation is useful.  When using peer evaluation to reflect on other student's work, the evaluators  must have a clear understanding o f the criteria and goal o f the product presented for them to evaluate. If criteria are not clearly communicated, there is danger that the peer evaluation process may lead to the students evaluating the product exclusively. Establishing Criteria for Evaluation in Constructionist Learning The criteria for the evaluation should be negotiated between the student and the teacher so both have a very clear understanding as to the goal o f the exercise or project. The criteria for any given product should incorporate as many, but should not be limited to, the items outlined below. Students are often very clever and insightful in identifying criteria for evaluation. They should be encouraged to develop and negotiate their own criteria as part o f the evaluation process.  28  1. Effective Communication.  D i d the student effectively communicate her message  using her chosen medium? Was the medium an appropriate choice for the topic, story or information to be communicated?  Was the story told? Were new or novel methods used  to communicate their knowledge? 2.  Originality/Creativity. D i d the student 'construct' knowledge in the process o f  completing the task? Is it presented in a creative, original format? D i d the student seek conventional and non-conventional sources o f information to support their research? 3. Movement Along Their Skills Continuum. D i d the student achieve one or more o f their goals outlined in their growth plan? D i d the student achieve and identify unexpected learning outcomes as a result o f the project? D i d the student keep an accurate record o f outcomes in his/her portfolio? 4. Collaboration/Peer Tutoring.  D i d the student work well with his/her classmates  and contribute to a 'team building' effort in their learning environment? D i d he/she seek out help from others and was he/she willing to share knowledge and skills with others? 5. Reflection. Is the student able to identify situations where he/she used problem solving or trouble shooting techniques during their learning process? Was the student able to work independently to solve problems?  What were the student's overall impressions  o f this process? This is far from an exhaustive list o f criteria for evaluating in a constructivist learning environment. The most important goal o f establishing criteria for evaluation is that it must be put in context with the intended goals o f the process/product identified by the student. Role of Technology in Inquiry Learning Technology can be an enabler o f inquiry. Current technologies support the constructivist movement by encouraging exploration and inquiry and supporting information management skills in all subject areas. Teachers and students learn to be learners by combining inquiry practices and technology to develop the skills the future 29  economy demands. Technology provides the means by which students can research, record, observe, synthesize, present, argue and defend their knowledge constructions. In a constructivist learning environment, technology functions less like books, journals and films, and more like workshops, laboratories or studios, where students can immerse themselves within contexts that challenge and extend their understandings (Barab, Hay, & Duffy, 1998). In this environment, learning is not a product delivered to the student, but a situated activity or process that is easily supported by the use o f technology tools. Providing teachers with technology, software and training w i l l not necessarily lead them to use technology in a 'constructive' manner. There exists two fundamental gaps between theory (constructivism) and practice (classrooms o f inquiry), which must be addressed i f educators are to adopt a constructivist approach to teaching and learning with technology. First, teachers must be motivated to incorporate a constructionist teaching methodology as an integral component o f their teaching practice. This represents a major shift in pedagogy for most teachers. They must experience a constructionist learning environment or have it modeled for them i f they are to appreciate the powerful impact it can have on student learning. M a n y educational reformers believe that technology may provide the impetus and means for educators to move from their technical role o f transmitters o f information to one where they are facilitators and co-constructors o f new knowledge. Second, inquiry and critical thinking are fundamental to a constructionist approach to teaching and learning. Teachers must become 'inquirers' themselves to experience and appreciate an inquiry method of learning and the critical thinking skills that are inherent to the process. Only then w i l l they understand this learning process and in doing so, model the importance o f being a life-long learner for their students. I w i l l describe a classroom  30  experience I had with students that exemplifies the above situations; a classroom o f inquiry where both the teacher and the students became co-learners and inquirers.  Inquiry Learning - A Classroom Experience The situation I am about to describe was a transformational experience for me as a teacher. It was not anticipated or planned. It resulted from the activities o f a several classes o f students who were eager, excited and motivated to learn more about a particular topic then I had set as parameters for the unit o f study. The classroom became a 'community o f inquiry,' where the students and teacher became co-inquirers and colearners. After returning from a hypertext mark up language ( H T M L ) workshop, I developed an activity for my grade seven classes where they were to use basic tags to simulate the creation o f web pages. M y instructions to the students were limited to a description o f the language, how H T M L was read and interpreted by the web browsers, the parts o f an H T M L document and basic scripting o f text and graphics. Students were then asked the students to incorporate several specific tags to create their own web pages. In following days I witnessed students who were excited and actively engaged in their learning. They displayed a level o f cooperation and collaboration that I had seldom witnessed in my classroom. Only ten o f the computers in the class were connected to the Internet, so students had to share the stations to download pictures and to view their pages on a color monitor. They were not only excited to see their product, but displayed an equal level of pride and enthusiasm in viewing each other's creations. Soon, I noticed that students were adding their own features to their pages. Through their own inquiry, students discovered and incorporated the scripting needed to add background color, links to other web sites, sound, text color and email links for their web pages. What I found most intriguing was their willingness to share and teach each other, (including me) the discoveries they made while exploring the source code o f web pages on the Internet. 31  I adapted the classroom procedures to incorporate an information sharing session. A t the beginning o f each class, I allotted time for students to share their new creations with classmates. We compiled their discoveries and I watched, in amazement, as these resourceful students initiated and extended their own learning. Lunch hours became a time to 'debug' pages and evolved into an informal extension o f the class's learning environment. Three to four students would clamor around a station helping each other to edit H T M L scripting when a tag did not work. A two-week unit extended to last for over five weeks and would have continued, had it not been the end o f the school year. The results were web pages which were far more elaborate and sophisticated than I had ever anticipated the students were capable o f creating. The confirming evidence as to the power o f this community o f inquiry was that every student submitted a product - one hundred and forty students had created their own web pages. The enthusiastic, productive, cooperative and meaningful co-learning that took place in these classes was transformational for me as an instructor and caused a shift in my strongly held pedagogical beliefs. M y willingness to expose my 'vulnerability,' as not being the bearer o f all knowledge, was emancipating and positively accepted by the students as we became co-learners in a very engaging learning environment. W e had, by happen chance, created our own 'community o f inquiry.' Whether this experience would have the same impact on other educators is unknown, but I suspect most would be deeply affected by such an experience. The question remains, " C a n we simulate or create these experiences for other teachers?" A l l teachers are now faced with developing a level o f technology literacy that w i l l enable them to implement the information technology curriculum. It is evident that offering one or two day inservices to teachers is not affecting any dramatic change in who is using technology in their classroom, or how they are using it. A n alternate model, one that promotes continued exploration and growth o f teachers is needed. Developing 32  'Technology Learning Communities' ( T L C ) in schools may provide an avenue to introduce teachers to an environment where they can experience a community o f inquiry and as participants, learn the technology skills needed to successfully integrate the use o f technology in a meaningful way with their students.  33  Chapter 3 What is a community of inquiry? A common thread among the literature written on building communities or communities o f learners is that the participants must have a common interest or a common goal (Nicholson, 1991; Sergiovanni; 1993; Thomas, 1990; Wells, 1997). The curriculum has mandated that all teachers must acquire a level o f technology literacy, but this common need or goal w i l l not insure participation by teachers in a community o f inquiry. There must be desire on the part o f the teachers to want to learn the skills needed to operate the technology tools and to use it in a meaningful manner with their students. Central to the development o f any healthy community or community o f inquiry, is trust. Trust is the foundational element i f the community is to move forward in a productive manner. Members must feel secure in joining the community and must feel safe in expressing their reservations about professional skills and abilities. It must provide an opportunity for educators to investigate together and to contribute to one another's inquiries though open discussion and dialogue. Characteristics of a Community of Inquiry A community o f inquiry differs from other communities which are bound together through common tradition or practice. A n intrinsic characteristic o f a community o f inquiry is self-critical practice, which is exploratory and inquisitive by nature (Lipman, 1997). In his article, Thinking in Community, Lipman (1997) argues that a community o f inquiry unites both the communal and social nature o f a community, with self-critical practice. He specifies characteristics which distinguish them from other communities in our society as: 1. Having a distinct goal 2. Having a sense o f direction, 3. Being rational and critical by nature 34  I w i l l examine the compositional elements o f a community o f inquiry and relate them to the 'Technology Learning Communities,' model I am proposing for Y u k o n schools.  1. A Distinct Goal A community o f inquiry works through a process toward a set goal. This common interest or goal may produce a product or lead to a settlement or judgement. (Lipman, 1997). M y initiative to build'Technology Learning Communities' ( T L C s ) in schools w i l l promote two fundamental goals but they should not be limited to these primary objectives. First, T L C s w i l l provide an venue for teachers to engage in 'dialogue' about using technology in the classroom and integrating it across the curriculum. Lipman (1997) differentiates between conversation and dialogue when describing communities o f learning. He describes conversation as an exchange o f feelings, thoughts, information or understanding, which aims at establishing equilibrium. Dialogue, on the other hand, is collaborative inquiry which explores or investigates an idea, concept, problem or issue and is foundational to a community o f inquiry (Lipman, 1997). The aim of communities o f inquiry is disequilibrium, where each argument evokes a counterargument that moves it forward and pushes the other beyond itself. Through dialogue, teachers w i l l inquire, explore, investigate, and examine issues surrounding the use o f technology in the classroom and with their students. It is my position that communities o f inquiry must engage in both conversation and dialogue. The differentiation o f the two concepts is an interesting one, but the social and communal nature o f communities o f inquiry are such that I think it is impossible to limit discourse to Lipman's definition o f dialogue. Conversation may lead to dialogue on an issue and dialogue may lapse to conversation; both contribute to inquiry. Second, the T L C s w i l l provide an avenue for teachers to explore and to learn new and emerging technologies. Teachers w i l l have an opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge and understanding of the medium with others. These communities w i l l provide an arena where educators can openly acknowledge and discuss their struggles to learn and  35  integrate the use o f technology with their classes. It w i l l provide a security to those who are reluctant to expose their 'vulnerabilities' as educators faced with a curriculum with which they may be i l l prepared to deliver. 2. Sense of Direction A community o f inquiry has a sense o f direction and permits arguments to lead this sense o f direction. A s new needs or discussions unravel, the community o f inquiry follows the direction o f that argument providing it leads the participants toward their common goal. The T L C must maintain a sense o f direction, and be open to take on a new direction, as needs dictate. N e w technologies, new software or a new member o f the community may redirect the focus o f the community for a period-of-time, but should do so within the context o f the common objectives o f the community. 3. Promotes rational, critical and creative thinking. Immersion into a discipline studied in a community o f inquiry should promote rational, critical thinking among its members. The T L C w i l l provide educators an opportunity to critically examine their practices and the need to practice and adjust their approach to using technology with students. Instead o f thinking about how we can use the computer in the classroom, we should be examining how the computer can be used as an extension of the existing curricula. In the early 1980s, educators felt it was important that students learn 'about' computers or they used them as 'teaching machines' as they took over part o f the teaching responsibilities o f the classroom. The shift in emphasis from computer aided instruction, to students using computers to create knowledge, has led to a shift in the software applications promoted by the new curriculum. This software, which I w i l l refer to as 'global software,' are applications such databases, spreadsheets, multimedia, hypermedia, computer programming and conferencing software that can be used across disciplines and grade levels. The universality o f the software, and the fact that teachers from all grade levels w i l l eventually have to learn the applications, makes a community o f  36  inquiry a perfect venue for teachers to co-learn these new applications and to investigate how technology can facilitate and foster the development o f communities o f inquiry in their classrooms. The new information technology curriculum promotes a constructivist approach to teaching technology where the emphasis is placed on using the computer as a tool in student's knowledge constructions (Feng, 1996, Maclnnes & Kissoon-Sing, Papert, 1980, 1996, W i l l i s , 1997). A technology community o f inquiry w i l l provide an avenue for teachers to explore this pedagogy. It may be modeled by teachers within their communities o f inquiry, or by those who practice this approach as a teaching with their students.  Yukon Technology Learning Communities One o f the many challenges when implementing any innovation in Y u k o n schools is addressing the various multi-grade configurations found in our schools. Y u k o n has a student population o f approximately 5200 students and 700 professional and parprofessions, spread among 28 rural and urban schools throughout the territory. Individual school populations vary from less than ten students to over 900, in schools with K three, K - six, K - seven, K - nine, K - 12 and eight - 12 grade configurations. Few teaching 'specialists' have the opportunity to lead classes exclusively in their area o f expertise. M a n y must, simultaneously, assume multi-grade and/or multi-subject teaching assignments. In smaller rural schools, demands are placed on teachers to assume leadership roles within the community, along with a multitude o f extra-curricular responsibilities. There is a higher turnover rate o f rural teachers, which further challenges the ability to sustain a sense o f community among these professionals. This differs dramatically from the urban teaching population where staff turnover is low. Urban teachers also do not experience the level o f professional isolation o f their rural counterparts and they tend to have more homogeneous teaching assignments.  37  I w i l l present two initiatives which may be considered for developing communities of inquiry in Y u k o n Schools. The first, the Computer Resource Teacher initiative, is better situated for larger schools where economies o f scale permit flexibility in staffing assignments. The second, Technology Learning'Communities ( T L C ) , are a more formal model which could be adopted by a school o f any size where the staff has identified a desire to explore the integration o f technology and/or a need to develop technology skills among staff members. The Computer Resource Teacher Model - A School-Wide Community of Inquiry In September, 1993 the junior high school where I was teaching (Riverdale Junior Secondary School) was assigned a new principal. Chris Gonnet had come to us from a technologically innovative school and he was keen to implement some o f their successful practices at our school. He wanted to move away from teaching about computers and move toward a more inclusive model where all teachers would be given the opportunity to use technology with their classes in a supportive environment. To do so he believed we need to create an environment where staff members felt safe, supported and encouraged to integrate the use o f technology within their subject areas. H i s vision included the creation o f a position in the school for a computer resource teacher. This person would serve as a facilitator in the computer lab for teachers and students involved in technology based projects. It was made at the outset o f this project that the position would only exist for a period o f two to three years. Over this period o f time it was understood and expected that the teaching staff would develop their skills to a level where they could work independently using technology with their classes. Staff support for this initiative was imperative i f it was to unfold as planned. Creating the position required a restructuring o f teaching assignments to facilitate freeingup a staff member to assume the computer resource position for the school. A less formal community o f inquiry evolved as a result o f the creation o f a computer resource person for our school. It proved to be very successful in promoting 38  the integration o f technology across the curriculum, and in the process, it supported teachers in the development o f their technology skills. The model worked much like that o f a teacher-librarian, where through a collaborative effort, the classroom and the computer resource teacher co-planned a unit o f study incorporating the use o f technology. Teachers were required to join their students when they visited the lab and in the process, co-learn with their students i f they were unfamiliar with the application o f technology at hand. In the beginning teachers were slow to approach me, which left me with time to explore and learn about the Internet, a resource I began to see as a powerful tool for education. A t this time (1994) Y u k o n did not have an point o f presence for Internet access.  Through participation in a pilot program led by Community Learning Network  ( C L N ) in Victoria, B C , the school was provided with a telnet account for dial-in access to a hub in Fort St. John, B C .  I inquired about the possibility o f accessing the Internet via  the W o r l d Wide Web ( W W W ) , but was led to believe that it was not available in Yukon. I persevered and learned enough Unix code to access files on the net and navigate through the tedious menu lists associated with this interface.  Although I was excited about this  medium, I could not help but wonder whether teachers, many o f who were struggling with basic computer literacy, would share my enthusiasm. Nevertheless, I continued to introduce the medium to teachers and students. Both groups appreciated the potential o f this resource but were somewhat mesmerized by the skills that appeared to be needed to interface with the net. One teaching experience with a grade 8 humanities class proved to be the catalyst for showcasing the power o f this medium in transforming, extending and enhancing learning environments for students and teachers. This particularly high-energy group o f students was studying the novel, Waiting for the Rain, by Sheila Gordon. The story traced the lives o f two boys from South Africa, one black and the other white, who grew up together on the same farm. The students were moved by the story, but appalled at 39  the treatment o f black South Africans in their country during Apartheid. A t the time the students were studying the novel, Nelson Mandella had been released from prison and his presidential inauguration was only weeks away. The teacher approached me to give the class a demonstration o f the Internet and what ensued during and after that initial meeting was a powerful entity. Since they were studying human rights and South Africa, I thought it might be interesting to see i f we could find some resources on the internet which might be interesting to the group. Students watched on an overhead screen as we navigated through menu lists until we arrived at the University o f South Africa server. A s an extension o f their unit o f studies the students had been studying about constitutional rights and were most anxious to learn what changes South Africa's new constitution would mean for their people. One student asked i f it was possible to locate a copy o f their old constitution to see how it differed from Canada's act. looked, but could not find a site that offered this data.  W e looked and  I proposed to the class that we  could possibly find a person at university who may be able to point us in the right direction. W e found a faculty search engine and I took a risk and typed in my last name, Davidson.  Amazingly, there was someone at the university with that name and she  happened to be a librarian at the institute. That discovery brought a round o f applause from the students! A s a class, we constructed an email to M s Davidson and explained our quest to locate a copy o f the S A constitution. That afternoon and the next morning, students periodically popped into my room see i f we had received a response. Early the next afternoon I not only received a response from M s Davidson, but also received the location o f the document on the net. The class was able to j o i n me an hour later and we located the document, downloaded it, printed and copied it for the students to review. They clamored around in groups analyzing its contents. They were quick to identify and read sections o f the act that clearly were oppressive to black South 40  Africans and at the end o f the class packed the document with them to study further in class. A s an observer, watching this drama unfold in my classroom was a moving experience. The novelty o f using the Internet to retrieve this information quickly fell to the background as the students critically 'studied' and compared the constitutional 'rights' o f citizens o f South Africa, all the while commenting and comparing them to the freedoms they enjoy and take for granted living in Canada. It was a powerful learning experience for all involved but the inquiry into the topic did not end there. Less than two weeks later Mandella had been sworn into power and simultaneously, a new constitution was enacted. The students asked their teacher i f it would be possible to obtain a copy o f the new constitution to see just how it was going to impact the lives o f black South Africans. W e sent yet another email to M s . Davidson and she responded immediately, not only with the document but with a complete copy o f Mandella's inauguration speech which had been delivered the day before. Once again, we downloaded both documents.  In collaboration with the class, we decided to do a  comparative analysis o f the two constitutions. Over the next two days the students pulled the fundamental issues they found to be most oppressive in the o l d constitution and countered them with the sections o f the new act which they felt addressed the issues. A s educators, it was easy to appreciate the powerful learning experience which transpired among the students as a result o f this activity. Equally interesting was how the students reacted to their 'discoveries'. They were obviously motivated and enthused by this new learning environment and shared their experiences with other students and teachers. M o r e teachers inquired about learning about this medium. W o r d spread to the school council and to department o f education officials and they requested more information. For the first time this medium was receiving the support needed to adopt it as a means to extend students learning beyond the conventional resources available to them in the school and community. Skeptics who had previously viewed the Internet as a 41  passing fad became less vocal and in some cases, more supportive, o f adopting this innovation as a tool for research and communication in and among our schools. It did not take long for other teachers to begin approaching me to learn more about this medium. A chance visit to my classroom by a computer consultant visiting Whitehorse from Vancouver moved our use o f this medium ahead by quantum leaps. H e casually asked why I was not using the W W W as it was a more user-friendly interface to conduct research and to connect with other classes around the world. A t his suggestion I made one phone-call to C L N and requested that they change our account from a telnet to a slip connection. The rest is history - we had a browser interface which the most novice user could easily learn and navigate. We also had a new enthusiasm among staff members to become 'surfers' o f the information highway. Our school began to participate in collaborative online projects. The interest in using and integrating the use o f technology into mainstream courses grew by leaps and bounds. Teachers were excited to explore this new medium themselves and with their students. The requests for workshops increased, not only from our staff members, but from colleagues and administrators in other schools and the demand for inservcing was not limited to the use o f the Internet. Teachers explored the use o f spreadsheets, databases, drawing tools and desktop publishing applications o f how they could use computers with their students. The computer resource centre became a hub o f activity and it was not uncommon for the lab to be fully booked for three to four consecutive weeks by teachers wanting to integrate the use o f technology with their students. In time art classes, outdoor education, science, math, French, humanities and industrial arts classes were incorporating the use o f technology with their classes. The interest generated by this one initial activity blossomed into a school-wide level o f inquiry and interest for using technology with students. Teachers became very proactive in the desire to become more skilled in using computers. Our staff became infinitely more proficient when using the lab and were becoming skillful in 42  troubleshooting technical problems that arose with their classes. Their confidence to do so countered one o f the major inhibitors educators often cite as a drawback to using technology in schools - technical glitches. Teachers began integrating the use o f computers with their classes with less assistance from me. Our collaborative time together became less o f "how I thought' we could use computers with the students to the teachers telling me "how they wanted' the use o f computers to unfold in their students learning environment. Teachers began using computers more frequently for administrative purposes and were becoming increasingly more familiar with the tools and software applications they could use with their students. After two years as the computer resource teacher I accepted a new position and was not replaced at the school. Whenever I visited my former school I would examine the computer lab 'sign-up' schedule to see whether the facility was being used to the level it was when teachers had a full-time resource person. It was clear that by the level o f participation and the scope o f projects undertaken by the staff that they no longer had a need for a computer resource person. They tapped into the various skills they had developed over the past two years and used them to further the professional development o f the staff. The year after I left, one staff member who was one year from retirement, took on an enormous project with seventy-six students from her three grade eight humanities classes. The classes were studying the renaissance and she developed a project required the students research, write, design and script a web resource on renaissance personalities. A t the launch o f the site the class staged a short skit for community members and parents who were invited to catch a sneak-preview o f their work. Some students took on the role of the renaissance personalities (in period costumes) who observed and commented in the background on what they thought about how they were being portrayed by 1990's students. Others played themselves and their conversations focused on working through the process o f deciding what content and graphics they were going present for renaissance  43  personality and the scripting and 'debugging' o f the H T M L code for the website. It was a wonderfully creative way to share the hard work, collaborative planning and the critical thinking strategies which were employed to produce the final product with their invited guests. Three years later this teacher continues to receive email messages from around the world congratulating her and her classes on the comprehensive resource they created. Five years later I still use this project as an example o f an innovative way to integrate the use o f technology across the curriculum. (http://www.yesnet.yk.ca/schools/projects/renaissance.html)  Although the Computer Resource Teacher model is not a formal community o f inquiry as we might envision them developing in a school, the impact in promoting inquiry among staff members was evident. This experience highlights the need for administrative understanding and support i f technology in schools i f real change and support for innovation is to occur (Brunner, 1992; Meltzer & Sherman, 1997). Riverdale Junior Secondary School became the lead school for technological innovations in Yukon schools and still serves as a model for other schools to explore when technology integration is targeted as a primary goal o f their school's growth plan. Technology Learning Communities (TLCs) While it is impossible to prescribe a stead-fast model for developing technology learning communities for schools in such a diverse environment, it is necessary to provide a conceptual framework from which a professional community o f inquiry can develop their learning environments to meet the specific needs o f their professional staff. The individual school communities w i l l determine how the model unfolds, but as a starting point, the framework outlined below w i l l provide a foundation for the initiating professionals to come together as inquirers. 1. Overview to school administrators and invitation to join pilot program. Administrative support for introducing an innovation in a school is essential (Meltzer & Sherman, 1997; Uebbing, 1995). Schools administrators who are well 44  informed as to the overall objectives and expected outcomes o f an inovation are more apt to support and promote it in their schools. Introducing the concept o f building a Technology Learning Communities ( T L C ) in schools also provides a venue to explore and discuss the aim o f technology integration in schools and the structural reforms which may have to be considered to support an constructivist approach to using technology with students and staff. 2. Presentation to schools expressing interest. Once an administrator expresses an interest in forming a T L C in his/her school, arrangements are made to present the initiative to the staff. Staff members w i l l be introduced to the model, the rationale behind exploring forming this learning community and how constructive teaching practices facilitate technology integration in schools. Highlighting the collaborative and supportive nature o f the T L C may encourage reluctant staff members to become involved in this innovation. The operational framework for building a learning community in their schools w i l l also be included in this presentation. Emphasis on the element o f trust must be highlighted and the operational procedures for promoting a community based on trust must be earmarked as the foundational element o f the community i f it is to move forward in a positive and productive manner. It is necessary that staff members understand that involvement in the T L C is voluntary and any staff member can j o i n the community regardless o f their skill level. It should be stipulated that new members can join the community at anytime. 3. Skills inventory - Identification of community leaders To aid in providing the community with a sense o f direction, the first task o f the T L C should be to survey its members to identify the needs and areas o f competence among its members. This should not be limited to the technical abilities o f the staff, but also their understanding o f the pedagogical approach to inquiry learning. Rubrics may provide a means by which members o f the community can evaluate their technology skills 45  and their approach to teaching and learning with computers (Appendix A ) . Rubrics may also help teachers to identify and inventory their strengths and weaknesses when using technology with students. Compiling the results o f rubrics on a spreadsheet and charting them on a bar graph provides community members with a very visual snapshot o f the areas o f growth which may exist among its members and aid in targeting common goals o f the community members (Appendix B). Similar rubrics could be developed to examine community member's perceptions and practices in other skill areas and pedagogical practices. A s part o f the skills inventory o f the staff, the T L C should identify who w i l l lead various areas o f inquiry and/or identify community members or colleagues be willing to lead a topic o f inquiry. 4. Identification of primary and secondary goals of the T L C The first task o f the community o f inquiry must be to establish short and longterm goals for its members. While the primary goal o f the T L C w i l l be to create an inquiry learning environment and improve technology skills among its members, identifying the secondary goals to achieve this primary objective must be undertaken at the outset o f the formation o f the community. The members must identify the areas they would like to see addressed over the short term (three to five months). It is important that all are reasonable and achievable. Secondary goals of the community may change in time as a result of their experiences in the community and new goals may be identified as they explore various topics o f inquiry, but the fundamental impetus for coming together must remain intact. 5. Assessment of Resources One o f the most beneficial elements o f this community w i l l be to explore and identify the hardware, software and human resources available to the staff and students. Many educators do not have a clear enough understanding o f technology to set reasonable goals for their community or their classes. Taking the time to investigate and learn about the capabilities and limitations of the tools they have at hand w i l l aid them in planning 46  how to make the most productive use o f the computers and infrastructure and w i l l aid in planning for future acquisitions. A T L C provides a wonderful opportunity for teachers to share their experiences, both successes and frustrations, with other staff members. It is a perfect forum to tap into the rich experiential base educators bring to their schools. 6. Building of school technology plan. A s a follow-up to the previous item, school communities o f inquiry should build a technology plan for their school by identifying both the pedagogical skills and resources needed to integrate the use of technology across the curriculum. Given the dynamic nature of technology, it is doubtful that anything over a two-year plan would be viable when planning for hardware/software resources. Over time community members w i l l learn to appreciate how one technology innovation may alter the acquisitions identified in the plan and/or the short term goals o f the T L C . This is a perfect venue to examine which model o f distributing and accessing computers in the schools w i l l be most beneficial to attaining their long-term goals. 7. Examine tools to facilitate onsite and online collaboration to meet goals A n underused and potentially very powerful tool which educators can use for collaboration is the Internet. Educators should become well versed to the many online resources which may be tapped into for their own personal development and as resources they can use in their classrooms. Overtime, all members o f the community should become fluent in using email, web browsers and other online collaborative and communicative tools which facilitate inquiry among educators and students. Doing so opens opportunities for other professionals to contribute to the community, facilitates communication among educators who may be geographically isolated and opens opportunities for regional, national or international collaborative projects among classes. 8. Evaluation.  47  Evaluation o f the T L C must be ongoing. To sustain a community o f inquiry members must feel they are benefiting from the time invested. D o the members feel they are achieving their goals? Have the members o f the community been able to apply what they have learned in their community o f inquiry in the classroom? Have they begun to more a more constructivist approach to learning with their students? A r e they using a more integrated approach to teaching and learning with technology? Frequent and regular evaluation o f the community's practices w i l l help it remain focused and w i l l aid in identifying new goals for the community as it evolves. The rubrics which were completed early in the development o f the community could be re-issued and compared to earlier results to assess whether members are benefiting from participation in the T L C or i f the community is achieving its goals.  48  Chapter 4 Implications of Developing Technology Learning Communities The positive implications o f the introducing technology communities o f inquiry in schools are numerous. T L C s w i l l provide an arena for cross discipline and grade interaction among teachers. This promotes collaborative learning among staff members, strengthens the school community and lessens the professional isolation teachers often experience in their own schools. Forming T L C s in schools, using technology as the common goal, may provide the impetus for teachers to critically examine their teaching practices and to explore alternate, more effective methods o f engaging their students in meaningful learning environments. It provides an opportunity for educators to develop a professional trust among themselves, provides 'on going' professional development for those participating in the T L C and provides a model for students of teachers as being life-long learners. T L C s should promote open communication with staff, administration and students about issues concerning technology in the school. Members o f the community should make it a practice o f reporting the work they are doing in their community with staff members. Monthly staff meetings or newsletters could aid in their effort o f encouraging others to join their T L C . A s technology leaders in the school, the T L C participants could also be used as an avenue for communicating technology information, goals or successes with parents, colleagues, department or education officials. T L C s could serve as a reliable, informed school resource for teachers using technology in schools. Because each Y u k o n school has a slightly different computer hardware and network configuration, T L C s are well situated to research the parameters o f the technology capabilities o f the school and should report their findings to the staff. Teachers could be kept well informed o f new technologies in the school and how they could be incorporated into the curriculum.  49  Showcasing technology successes to other staff members provides further exposure to the teachers 'constructive' uses o f technology with students. A s successes are celebrated, it is likely the enthusiasm w i l l 'influence' other staff members and draw more people into the community. Examples o f 'good practices' could be submitted to the Y u k o n Education Student Network (YESNet) web server and via email to share with T L C s in other schools. The webserver could be used to establish an online technology discussion group among teachers in all schools. Equally valuable to showcasing successful practices is the importance o f discussing the challenges technology presents in the educational environment when 'things do not go as planned'. There is a security in knowing that i f something goes astray, as it often does in this medium, that you are not alone in experiencing these challenges. Sharing troubleshooting methods which have worked for other staff members provides additional security to educators who may be less comfortable with computers. Through their participation in T L C they w i l l certainly learn who to turn for support should they run into a 'glitch' with their class. A s teachers become more comfortable exploring technology and becoming inquirers themselves, they are likely to become more comfortable promoting communities of inquiry within their own classrooms (Becker, 1998). Teachers and students should be encouraged to co-learn, and students should be encouraged to assume the role o f the teacher when their experiences and skills will benefit those in their learning community. Future Implications of Technology in Education Over the past ten years we have learned much about the challenges involved in successfully integrating technology in our schools. It has proven to be one o f the most complex, system-wide innovations education has experienced this past century. M a n y of the challenges could not have been predicted. Some o f the problems were a result o f poor planning, resourcing and training o f professional staff. A s new technologies  50  emerged, the role of technology evolved from a subject area to be taught, to a tool for learning and it is this transition with which we are now struggling to understand. We must continue to explore the role technology w i l l play in the education o f our citizens today, with a close eye on tomorrow, as schools and districts embark on developing distributed distance learning networks as a method o f delivering instruction and enabling construction for students and staff. There is no doubt distance learning w i l l present a new set o f challenges for schools. Hopefully, we have learned valuable lessons from past experiences and w i l l be better prepared to understand and address the complexities o f introducing technological innovations to our school systems in the future.  51  Appendices  Appendix A Self-Evaluation Rubrics for Teacher Computer Use Check the level which best describes your current level of skill in each area.  Level 1: Pre-awareness Level 3: Mastery  Level 2: Awareness Level 4: Advanced  I. Basic computer operation  > > > >  II.  > > > >  III.  > > > >  Level 1 I do not use a computer. Level 2 I can use the computer to run a few specific preloaded programs. It has little effect on either my work or home life. I am somewhat anxious I might damage the machine or its programs. Level 3 I can set-up my computer and peripheral devices, load software, print, and use most of the operating system tools like the scrapbook, stationary, clock, note pad, find command, and trash can. I can format a data disk. Level 4 I can run two programs simultaneously, and have several windows open at the same time. I can customize the look and sounds of my computer. I use techniques like shift-clicking to work with multiple files. I look for programs and techniques to maximize my operating system. I feel confident enough to teach others some basic operations. File management  Level 11 do not save any documents I create using the computer.  Level 2 I save documents I've created but I cannot choose where they are saved. I do not back-up  my files. Level 3 I have a filing system for organizing my files, and can locate files quickly and reliably. I back-up my files tofloppydisk or other storage device on a regular basis. Level 4 I regularly run a disk-optimizer on my hard drive, and use a back-up program to make copies of my files on a weekly basis. I have a system for archiving files which I do not need on a regular basis to conserve my computer's hard drive space. Word processing  Level 11 do not use a word processor, nor can I identify any uses or features it might have which  would benefit the way I work. Level 2 I occasionally use the word processor for simple documents, which I know I will modify and use again. I generally find it easier to hand write or type most written work I do. Level 3 I use the word processor for nearly all my written professional work: memos, tests, worksheets, and home communication. I can edit, spell check, and change the format, of a document. I can paginate, preview and print my work. I feel my work looks professional. Level 4 I use the word processor not only for my work, but have used it with students to help them improve their own communication skills.  52  IV. Spreadsheet use > > >  >  Level 11 do not use a spreadsheet, nor can I identify any uses or features it might have which would benefit the way I work. Level 2 I understand the use of a spreadsheet and can navigate within one. I can create a simple spreadsheet, which adds a column of numbers. Level 3 I use a spreadsheet for several applications. These spreadsheets use labels, formulas and cell references. I can change the format of the spreadsheets by changing column widths and text style. I can use the spreadsheet to make a simple graph or chart. Level 4 I use the spreadsheet not only for my work, but have used it with students to help them improve their own data keeping and analysis skills.  V. Database use •> > > >  Level 11 do not use a database, nor can I identify any uses or features it might have which would benefit the way I work. Level 2 I understand the use of a database and can locate information within one, that has been premade. I can add or delete data in a database. Level 3 I use databases for personal applications. I can create an original database - defining fields and creating layouts. I can find, sort and print information in layouts which are clear and useful to me. Level 4 I can use formulas with my database to create summaries of numerical data. I can use database information to mail merge in a word processing document. I use the database not only for my work, but have used it with students to help them improve their own data keeping and analysis skills.  VI. Graphics use > > >  >  Level 11 do not use graphics in my word processing or presentations, nor can I identify any uses or features they might have which would benefit the way I work. Level 2 I can open and create simple pictures with the painting and drawing programs. I can use programs like KidPix or MacPaint. Level 3 I use both pre-made clip art and simple original graphics in my word processer documents and presentation. I can edit clip art, change its size, and place it on a page. I can purposefully use most of the drawing tools, and can group and un-group objects. I can use the clipboard to take graphics from one application for use in another. The use of graphics in my work helps clarify or amplify my message. Level 4 I use graphics not only for my work, but have used it with students to help them improve their own communications. I can use graphics and the word processor to create a professional looking newsletter.  VII. Hypermedia use > > >  >  Level 11 do not use hypermedia (HyperStudio), nor can I identify any uses or features it might have which would benefit the way I work. Level 2 I can navigate through a pre-made hypermedia program. Level 3 I can create my own hypermedia stacks for information presentation. These stacks use navigation buttons, sounds, dissolves, graphics, and text fields. I can use an LCD projection device to display the presentation to a class. Level 4 I use hypermedia with students who are making their own stacks for information keeping and presentation.  53  VIII. Internet basics >  >  >  >  Level 11 do not understand how networks work, nor can I identify any personal or professional uses for networks, including the Internet. I do not have an account on any network nor would I know how to get one. Level 2 I can identify some personal or professional uses for networks, and understand they have a value to my students and me. I've read some articles about the Internet in the popular press. I can directly use network access to a library catalog or CD-ROM. Level 3 I can describe what a computer network does and how it can be useful personally and professionally. I can distinguish between a local area network, a wide area network, and the Internet and can describe educational uses for each. I can describe the history of the Internet, recognize its international character, and know to a degree the extent of its resources. I have personal access to the Internet that allows me to receive and send email, download files, and access the World Wide Web. I know that I must protect my password, and should restrict access by others to my account Level 4 I use networks on a daily basis to access and communicate information. I can serve as an active participant in a school or organizational planning group, giving advice and providing information about networks. I can recommend several ways of obtaining Internet access to others.  IX. Student > >  >  >  Assessment  Level 11 do not use the computer for student assessment. Level 2 I understand that there are ways I can keep track of student progress using the computer. I keep some student produced materials on the computer, and write evaluations of student work and notes to parents with the word processor. Level 3 I effectively use an electronic grade book to keep track of student data and/or I keep portfolios of student produced materials on the computer. I use the electronic data during parent/teacher conferences. Level 4 I rely on the computer to keep track of outcomes and objectives individual students have mastered. I use that information in determining assignments, teaching strategies, and groupings.  X. Ethical use understanding > > >  >  Level 11 am not aware of any ethical issues surrounding computer use. Level 2 I know that some copyright restrictions apply to computer software. Level 3 I clearly understand the difference between freeware, shareware, and commercial software and the fees involved in the use of each. I know the programs for which the district or my building holds a site license. I understand the policy on the use of copyrighted materials. I demonstrate ethical usage of all software and let my students know my personal stand on legal and moral issues involving technology. I know and enforce the school's technology policies and guidelines, including its Internet Acceptable Use Policy. I have a personal philosophy I can articulate regarding the use of technology in education. Level 41 am aware of other controversial aspects of technology use including data privacy, equitable access, andfreespeech issues. I can speak to a variety of technology issues at my professional association meetings, to parent groups, and to the general community.  54  XI. Professional growth and communication > > >  >  Level 11 do not use electronic resources for professional growth or communication. Level 2 I can find lesson plans and some research in on-line data-bases. I correspond with parents and other teachers using e-mail. Level 3 I use the Internet and other on-line resources to obtain research findings, teaching materials and information related to the content of my classes. I read electronic newsletters and journals to keep current on educational practices. I participate in electronic discussion groups and chat rooms, which are related to my area of education, and both contribute to and use the best practices discussed there. I use a computerized presentation program when giving workshops or speaking at conferences. I use technology to take part in distance learning opportunities for my own professional development. Level 41 organize professional growth opportunities for other teachers and feel comfortable teaching other staff members about the use of technology.  55  Appendices Appendix B Sample Data Collection Results  (Rubrics for Teacher Computer Use)  Check the level which best describes your current level of skill in each area.  Level 1: Pre-awareness Level 3: Mastery  Level 2: Awareness Level 4: Advanced  56  References  Armstrong, D . , Davis, R., & Young, G . (1996). Technology integration at the middle and high schools levels: A model for staff development. Bulletin, 8 1 81-87. Armstrong, A . , & Casement, C . (1998). 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(1996) Managing the information revolution: Planning the integration o f school technology. Bulletin. October. 1996. 8 9 - 9 8 . Hope, W . C . (1997). Resolving teachers' concerns about microcomputer technology. Computers in the Schools. 13, 147 - 160. Johnson, D . L . (1997). Integrating technology in the classroom: The time has come. Computers in the Schools. 13, 1 - 5 . Jonassen, D . , Carr, C , & Yueh, H . (1998). Computers as mindtools for engaging learners in critical thinking. Techtrends. 43. 15 - 2 3 .  58  Lipman, M . (1997). Thinking in community. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across Disciplines. 16:4. 6 - 2 1 Maclnnes, J., & Kissoon-Singh, S. (1996). Integrating computer technology into instruction. Orbit. 27, 30-32. Maddux, C . D . (1997). The newest technology crisis: Teacher expertise and how to foster it. Computers in Schools. 13. 5-12. M c C r a w , P., Meyer, J., & Tompkins, R. (1995). Technology interation and thematic instruction in a school/univeristy partnership. Journal o f Computing in Childhood Education. 6:1. 43-57. McLaughlin, R. (1998) Infusing technology into teacher education. T E R C : Hands O n ! 21:2. 16-18. Meltzer, J., & Sherman, T. M . (1997) Ten commandments for successful technology implementation and staff development. Bulletin. January. 1997. 23-32. Ministry o f Education (1995). Information Technology K - 7. Victoria, B C : Province o f British Columbia. Ministry o f Education (1984). Computers into the classroom. Victoria, B C : Province o f British Columbia. Niederhauser, D . (1996). Using computers in an information age classroom: What teachers need to know. Bulletin. 81,71 - 79. Nicholson, Carol. (1991). Teaching on uncommon ground: The ideal o f community in the postmodern era. Education and Society, 9:1, 47 - 53. Papert, Seymour. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas. N e w Y o r k : Basic Books Inc. Postman, N e i l . (1990). Informing ourselves to death. Stuttgart: German Informatics Society. 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