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ERIC Number: EJ1073134
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1940-5847
The Importance of Technology Usage in the Classroom, Does Gender Gaps Exist
Mims-Word, Marsha
Contemporary Issues in Education Research, v5 n4 p271-278 2012
A decade ago, access to technology was limited and wiring schools was one of the nation's highest education priorities (NCREL, 2005). Ten years of substantial investments have vastly improved this picture. According to the Secretary's Fourth Annual Report on Teacher Quality, virtually every school with access to computers has Internet access (99%), compared to only 35 percent of schools in 1994, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (Parsad & Jones, 2005). The Office of Technology Assessment report to Congress in 1995 stated that "Technology is not central to the teacher preparation experience in most colleges of education. …most new teachers graduate from teacher preparation institutions with limited knowledge of the ways technology can be used in their professional practice" (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995). The report, in which this statement appeared, titled Teachers and Technology: Making the Connection, was a wake-up call, and over the past years, much remunerative progress has been made. Many states are attempting to address educators' technology skills through the creation of teacher or administrator standards that include technology; as of 2003, 40 states and the District of Columbia have such standards (Ansell & Park, 2003). A number of states have adopted technology requirements for initial licensure. For example, 13 states require teachers and/or administrators to complete technology-related coursework, and nine require them to pass technology-related assessments. In addition, a number of states have implemented policies to improve veteran teachers' technological skills (Ansell &Park, 2003). Addressing the issues of technology integration into the curriculum, the Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDE) PT3 consortium infused technology into the state's teacher education programs in three ways. First, the consortium used the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards to redesign both arts and sciences and education courses so they incorporate technology-related knowledge and skills. The Maryland Teacher Technology Standards included learning outcomes and, core learning goals and skills for success; it also specifies what students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade need to know and be able to do in English/Language Arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The Maryland State Department of Education (1999) provided expectations for how technology can and should be used to support student learning and instruction. Second, the group developed performance assessments in order to measure the technological competence of teacher candidates. Third, the consortium developed a system for electronic portfolios that incorporates a student teacher's technology performance assessment. These portfolios can be made available to future employers to demonstrate technology-related proficiency. The consortium is statewide and diverse, including several public universities and two communities. According to a report titled, Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (AAUW, 2000), Washington, DC; as violent electronic games and dull programming classes turn off increasing numbers of adolescent girls, the way information technology is used, applied, and taught in the nation's classrooms must change. Furthermore, commensurate with rapid changes in technology, a remarkably consistent picture emerges: more boys than girls experience an early, passionate attachment to computers, whereas for most girls attachment is subdued. Margolis and Fisher (2002) reported that computing is claimed as "male territory" very early in life: from early childhood through college, computing is both actively claimed as "guy stuff" by boys and men and passively ceded by girls and women. Society and culture have linked interest and success with computers to boys and men. In the words of Margolis and Fisher (2002), "curriculum, teachers' expectations, and culture reflect boys' pathways into computing, accepting both assumptions of male excellence and women's deficiencies in the field" (p. 4). Social expectations towards educational leadership in academic and economics terms depend on the integration of technology in every facet of society. The American family survival depends on the abilities and incomes of all adults. The type of technical skills needed to be creative and to survive in the job market escalates daily. Educational leaders must be aware that gender equity among middle school students with respect to the use of computer technology should be grounded in the development of programs that not only address the educational aspect of schools, but also allow students to develop their appreciation for, and understanding of the interrelationship among computer usage, careers, and values. With the implementation of such programs, schools could operate as equalizers for the sexes regarding computer competency and attitudes. Educational leaders have the ability to direct resources to show how computer technology may release the creative impulse in children and allow them to think and learn. Educators need to link the curriculum and technology with student interests. Both male and female students use computer applications that can be linked to the educational setting, such as word processing, Internet, completing homework, reports, and projects, as well as communication through email, self-expression, and personal interest. Educators who are developing these programs must understand how girls lose interest in technology and recognize the different learning styles of each gender. The role of training district school teachers to effectively utilize computer technology within the classroom is important if strides are to be made in supporting girls and women in choosing computer-related careers and using computers as a medium of expression. Institutions of higher education would provide opportunities and hold the responsibility of reviewing the technical construction of each teacher's plan. Educational leaders will meet frequently with university representatives to review, discuss, record experiences, develop, modify, and evaluate plans and performances to ensure that teachers receive the training necessary to instruct all students utilizing appropriate computer technology. Degree attainment, certification, and re-certification should be linked to the variation of experiences, the structure, depth, detail, and impact of the program developed by the practitioner in consultation with representatives from higher education and the school district. Partnerships with local school districts and institutions of higher learner should be established to develop programs, which incorporate many of the tenets discussed above.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A