Is it really that shocking? Technology and academics together

Earlier this year had to complete an assignment for my graduate class that proposed an action plan related to impacting student achievement.  I outlined the implementation of technology curriculum directly into the academic classrooms of our skill-based program from students with learning disabilities.  This plan laid out a interweaving of technology standards and direct instruction within the academic area standards to provide greater utilization of technology as a means of acquiring and demonstrating knowledge in the classroom.

“Media literacy is an important topic to be integrated throughout the curriculum so that every student has the opportunity to become actively engaged in learning about it multiple ways throughout each school year.” (Swaim, 2002)

The plan seemed so commonsensical.  The idea developed out of a series of conversations with the Director of Curriculum at my school, and seemed so logical in its development.  As academic technology coordinator, I would develop goals and objects based on state standards and then work with the other department heads to develop technology based projects for their academic areas to meet goals for both domains.  The ultimate goal to have greater technology instruction woven in to demonstrate purpose and provide dual direct instruction to benefit the acquisition of skills.

My plan followed the mission of my school, “ help children with learning disabilities develop a foundation of skills, gain an understanding of their abilities, and prepare for a more traditional program.” (Eagle Hill Southport), as well as the mission of the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), “To expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through research and development of innovative, technology-based educational resources and strategies.”

So much to my surprise, my professor felt this plan was of key importance and that I should publish an article based on my rationale.  I did not find my ideas, foundation of points, or thoughts to be so innovative, but just good practice.  Apparently, maybe good practice in my eyes is different as I teach in an ideal setting of being able to be create the optimal learning opportunities for my students without many restrictions.  My school does best practice on a daily basis to provide for our students, and I do think that what we do, while not innovative, is unique in its actual implementation.  So maybe after all my time there, my ideas are something outside the norm of traditional practice.  That saddens me for public education.  So now I explore the idea of submitting an article.

As Alan November (2011) says, “The whole capacity to pick a specific curricular area, such as reading, and building a plan around that makes sense to me.  Too often what I see is technology for technology’s sake…Whatever the technology du jour is, you know, we’ll have our next favorite technology.  So, extending beyond that, the vision absolutely comes first, then the technology.  It is not the other way around.”  

The ideas are out there, maybe I can join with those that have the same vision and bring it into practice.  How do you utilize technology in your school and classrooms? 

Alan November,, 2011

Telemedium, The Journal of Media Literacy, Vol. 48, No. 2, Fall 2002

About Sharon LePage Plante

Sharon Plante, an educator with 22 years teaching experience in special education, has been an educator at The Southport School for fourteen years, as well as currently serving as Director of Technology. She utilizes her educational training and love of technology to engage students with learning disabilities in building their skills and finding success. Sharon is the co-author of Using Technology to Engage Students with Learning Disabilities. She was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from George Mason University College of Education and Human Development. She has presented at Everyone Reading, EdRev, Edscape, ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association), Spotlight on Dyslexia, IDA (International Dyslexia Association) and New York Chapter of ALTA (Academic Language Trainers Association), as well as at several EdCamps, on using technology to empower the dyslexic learner. Sharon is a co-founder of #edtechchat, and co-organizer of EdCampSWCT.
This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, Academic Support, Steps for Technology, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is it really that shocking? Technology and academics together

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s