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Myths and Realities about Technology in Schools-Philippine Setting

Myths and Realities about Technology in Schools
Myth #1:  Putting computers into schools will directly improve learning; more computers will result in greater improvement.
Access to technology is an important issue for teachers and students. Although schools may have computers available, one factor that determines their use is where those computers are located. In our school, we had 15 computers. The problem was, we are not able to utilize it on a regular basis because of the electric power condition. In Batan National HS which belongs to the municipality of Rapu-Rapu, the electric power starts at 4:00 pm. Therefore, we can use the computers for 30 minutes only. That’s why, we used our laptop for movie viewing, virtual figures viewing in science and web quest using powerpoint. In this scenario, the numbers of computers does not mean that students will be more technologically advanced in terms of learning. It will depend on how the teacher and the students use it for learning. Even if you have 1:1 ratio of computers if the teacher don’t know how to use it to maximize learning, the technology will be useless.
In our contemporary setting in the Philippines I can say that not all schools on long island are technologically advanced. The lower income schools can’t afford the new technology or they might have it but the teachers don’t know how to use it. The lower income schools can’t afford to provide the teachers with the needed training to use the technology in the classroom. If teachers don’t know how to use something or don’t feel comfortable in using the technology, then they won’t use it. Technology training appears to focus mainly on technology knowledge and skills while overlooking the relationships between technology, pedagogy, and content. As a result, teachers learn about “cool” stuff, but they still have difficulty applying it for their students’ learning. At my school the teachers have workshops on all the technology in the school but they don’t know how to integrate it in the lesson. I had the advantage to have the new technology and be taught how to use it. I do agree with the main points in the article and agree strongly that schools need to focus on the long-term effect of the technology in improving education than the short term effect. In order to use technology effectively, educators like us need to be trained in using technology and we need to develop a good understanding of it. Technology is used to enhance learning; therefore it is important for us to be comfortable using it to ensure that students get the full advantages of educational technology.
Myths and Realities about Technology in Schools

Myth #2:  There are agreed-upon goals and "best practices" that define how computers should be used in K-12 classrooms.

In our educational system, the goals are stipulated already in the curriculum per learning area and the suggested practices that would help attain such goals. The problem was, it is not cleared to some educators especially on the use and implementation of technology. Diverging views were apparent which may lead to different approaches in reaching those goals. It was mentioned that some of the most common goals for using technology in schools were improving student’s acquisition of basic skills which leads to higher scores on standardized tests; motivate students; broaden curriculum objectives, enable teachers to strengthen their own preferred approaches; better prepare students for the workplace; and update education for the 21st century. Meeting this aim requires a fundamental change in how teachers are trained and in curriculum development approaches. I do believe that the quality of teachers is known to be a key predictor of student learning. Therefore teacher training is crucial. ICT can become a tool that on the one hand facilitates teacher training and on the other hand helps them to take full advantage of the potential of technology to enhance student learning.

For me, the usability and effectiveness of the use of computers will depend upon on how the teacher integrate it based on understanding the totality of the learner and other factors that would have effect on the transmission of knowledge or learning. In this scenario, the agreed-upon goals should be based on the needs, interest of the learners and availability of resources so that it can be achieved. And the location of computers should also be considered. Our School was located at far flung area where there are no 24 hour supplies of electricity and no internet connections. If possible, selected technologies will be utilized for teaching except the on-line and internet researches which may be done on weekends. But then, the accessibility of the learners would be the problem since most of them came from far barangay.

Myths and Realities about Technology in Schools
Myth #3: Once teachers learn the basics of using a computer they are ready to put the technology to effective use.

The teacher is a key variable in technology implementation and effectiveness. In our school, aside from me, my co-teachers demonstrate their support of technology use by developing their own skills, knowledge, and strategies necessary to model effective uses of technology. We learn and use effective ways to integrate technology into their curriculum and use technology in ways that enhance instructional opportunities and successes for all students. If we don’t have current, we used generator to run the computers especially on science and computer subject. In our school, out of 10 teachers, 60 percent knows how to operate and use computers. But on the integration of computers for classroom discussion, out of 10 teachers, only 2 percent are doing it. That’s why, as teachers we need to find ways or alternatives. In my subject, I do made Strategic Intervention Material, Web Quest using powerpoint especially on games which involves quizzes and also virtual video using my laptop.
It is said that the foundation of every country is the education of its youth, yes that’s right, but without the consideration of the key transformer of education, namely the teacher, we cannot achieve the objectives assigned by policy makers, planners and other educators. This is why new prospects are in the hand of the new generation of subject-teachers who are eager to apply ICT efficiently and effectively. And we also need to update ourselves on the use of technology. I’m so lucky to have Teaching with Technology as my cognate because it really helps me with the current trends in integrating technology in the classroom. And I want to learn more. Learning the new roles and ways of teaching that go hand-in-hand with technology integration requires that we have opportunities to participate in an extended process of professional development such as Master’s degree. We need time to acquire technology skills and develop new teaching strategies for integrating technology into the classroom. I want to clear this myth that once teachers learn the basics of using a computer they are ready to put the technology to effective use. This is not true, to use the technology effectively, he/she should know how to apply and integrate it in the instruction for students’ learning. In our school, almost 90% knows the basic skills of using computers but only 10% knows how to integrate it in the lesson.

Myths and Realities about Technology in Schools

Myth #4: The typical district technology plan is sufficient for putting technology to effective use.

Technologies have great potential for knowledge dissemination, effective learning, and efficient education services. Yet, if the educational policies and strategies are not right, and if the prerequisite conditions for using these technologies are not met concurrently, this potential will not be realized. For technology use to be successful in our schools it needed to be closely tied to school reform. Before technology can be used effectively for engaged learning, however, our school needs to ensure that the technology supports the educational goals for students. The school's initial task is to develop a clear set of goals, expectations, and criteria for student learning based on national and educational standards, a profile of the student population, and community concerns. Then the school can determine the types of technology that will support efforts to meet those goals. In other words, the learning goals should drive the technology use. Rather than using technology for technology's sake, the school can develop a vision of how technology can improve teaching and learning. So consensus is needed to have a unified plan.
The use of technology in our school and the way we use it was stipulated in SIP, AIP and a part of the School Based Management. In making our IPPD, we always include the ICT as one of our top priorities to be train on. But almost years had passed but there was no trainings were given to us especially on the integration of it in the instruction. Though we had trainings on how to operate it and know the basics of its application, still we need to be adept on how to use it in the teaching and learning. The typical district technology plan is sufficient for putting technology to effective use if all the factors will be considered, analyzed and evaluated.

Myths and Realities about Technology in Schools

Myth #5: Equity can be achieved by ensuring that schools in poor communities have the same student-to-computer ratios as schools in wealthier communities.

The key determinant of our success of integrating the use of ICT in classroom instruction will not be the number of computers purchased or cables installed, but rather how we define educational visions, prepare and support teachers, design curriculum, address issues of equity, and respond to the rapidly changing world. In this scenario, long term and carefully planned commitments are required. Does access to computers and the Internet give the education systems of rich communities an advantage over those in poor communities? For me, Yes. There is a “digital divide” between the two. Like for example in my current school where I was assigned. At Batan National High School at Rapu-rapu, Albay where there was no computer shops, internets and other technologies where students can have their hands on and minds-on activities on the net. They are left behind compared to the previous school where I was assigned in Aquinas University Science Oriented High School where students have access to ICT. They were able to do on-line blogs, presentations, videos, web quests, researches and the likes. Teacher also in private are well versed in using technologies compared to public school teachers. So there is a need to revolutionize the quality of trainings of the teachers.
In my opinion, still the numbers of computers do not mean that students will engage in learning effectively. It will still depend on the shared vision, equitable access, skilled personnel, student -centered learning, community supports, technical assistance and other external conditions that would help realize the goal.

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