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Raven McCrory

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TEAM: Teacher Education and Mathematics Collaboration

PhD Program in Curriculum Teaching and Educational Policy

PRIME: Program in Mathematics Education

Introduction to Inquiry CEP930

CEP953 Teachers and Technology

What impact does technology have on teachers and their teaching?   That question drives this course, which will take different perspectives to help you understand and perhaps answer the question for yourself.   The course title includes the word "teachers" rather than the word "teaching" to emphasize that we are not focusing on student learning in this course.   It has become commonplace in discussions of technology to use the term "teaching" almost synonymously with "learning", implicitly using "teaching" to mean anything that helps students learn.   As a result, studies of "teaching with technology" are often about student interaction with technology, and, in many cases, the teacher is barely mentioned.

Yet we know that teachers matter when technology is used in schools.   Within the classroom setting, teachers decide which technology to use, how to use it, and for what purposes.   They mediate the implementation of technology through their interactions with students and with the technology itself.    Studies that focus on what students learn from a particular use of a particular technology without attention to the teacher leave a black hole in our understanding of both the potential and the reality of technology in schools.  

Our driving question begs a step back to a more fundamental problem: What do we mean by technology? Although we use the term routinely, defining it is not simple.   In this course, we want to review how technologies have impacted teachers historically, looking back as far as slates and pencils, so it is not adequate to use the term "technology" to mean simply "computers."   In fact, recent advances in communication technologies and hand-held devices make such a definition obsolete. Looking to the past or to the future, technology must be more than computers.

Another question emerges that is fundamental to our study of teachers and technology:   Technology for what purposes?   In this course, we concentrate on technology for subject matter learning, not for classroom management and organization, or for learning about technology per se, or for any of the many other ways that technology might be used in schools.   We will read research related specifically to subject matters of interest to students in the course, to help you understand how technology has impacted teachers in your own subject area.   This may include mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, music, art, or other school subjects.


Required Texts

Cuban, Larry. 1986. Teachers and Machines:   The Classroom Use of Technology Since 1920 . New York: Teachers College Press.

Zhao, Y. (2003). What should teachers know about technology? Perspectives and practices . Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, Inc.



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