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By: Professor Jim Nichols
The Nichols Technology Instruction Model attempts both to define the "computer literate" teacher and to demonstrate the two major philosophies underlying the use of technology in schools. One I have identified as "Teaching Technology." This is usually done by a computer specialist who teaches it as a subject called "Computers". He teaches the same eight requisite skills as the classroom teacher. However, his goal is to train students to use hardware and software properly. As such, his instruction is "curriculum neutral"; that is, his content need not be related or linked directly to any classroom learning. His objective is mastery of technology alone.
However, this contrasts with the classroom teacher who is using technology as a tool. The requisite skills are the same as his/her computer teacher colleague. Depending on the subject and level being taught by the classroom teacher, some or all of the eight requisite skills will be needed. However, the curriculum goal is dramatically different. The classroom teacher's responsibility is to teach subject content, which is bound to a board of education approved curriculum. Integrating technology into his/her subject instruction as appropriate or creating a "technology-rich" classroom environment and "infusing" it throughout most classroom activities achieves this aim. As contrasted with his/her computer specialist colleague, the classroom teacher's responsibility is to achieve mastery of content. Therefore, the measurement of success will not be how well students use computers or a piece of software but how well they have learned subject matter.
Many classroom teachers are insecure about using technology, because they lack a philosophy for its use. Often they incorrectly compare themselves to the technology "guru" in the technology lab. This is an inappropriate comparison. The technology instructor would not be expected to be a master of classroom subject matter. Similarly the classroom teacher is not expected to be a technology hardware/software expert, but to use technology as a effective tool for curricular instruction .I believe this model provides a viable context and philosophy for teacher technology use.
About the Author:
Professor Jim Nichols
Chairman, Nyack College Dept of Ed
Nyack, NY 10960
© Professor Jim Nichols, All rights reserved.