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Preface


Microcomputers were introduced into the K-12 classroom over 25 years ago. We have gone from the Altair, Commodore, and Apple I to the PC and Macintosh that individually have more memory and drive storage than a lab of the earliest computers. While we have observed large leaps in the technology and in the number of computers in the classroom, we have seen little change in the way teachers teach or the way students use computers.  Teachers, parents, principals, superintendents, and school boards are beginning to question their investments in computer technology. ûWhat do we have to show for all of these computers?ú Most students today are still educated the same way students were educated a generation or two ago. Students are no more likely to sit in front of a computer for all of their instruction than they would be to sit with one of Skinnerüs programmed learning machines. Why has the computer not revolutionized education as some scholars predicted?

 

A recent survey of computer applications used by K-12 students indicates that 78% of the students spend time playing games in school (Digest of Educational Statistics, 2000). Few if any elementary or middle school students reported using spreadsheets or databases and only 6% of the high school students reported using spreadsheets or databases. In contrast, we find that employees in the work place are using productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, databases, email, and personal information managers. Individuals in the workplace are using computers as a tool, whereas educators generally tend to think of computers as an instructional delivery device°something to replace the teacher, much like Skinnerüs teaching machine. This observation is interesting because if we asked why computers are being placed in the schools, the primary reason is to prepare students for the workforce°where, as mentioned earlier, computers are used as a tool. Yet, we have failed to find a single job for a computer whiz who can blast space aliens similar to those found in computer games!



Our Approach



This book is about students using computers as a tool to solve problems as part of the learning process. We provide a rationale and model for integrating computer technology into your curriculum by using it as a tool rather than as an instructional delivery device. This book presents an approach to creating an integrated inquiry lesson; however, we do not propose that it is the only way to teach. Instead, it is an approach that stresses the studentüs use of the computer to solve real-world problems while learning rather than the use of the computer as a delivery system. Our approach is easily adaptable to the standards or benchmarks of your district or state. We believe that we will only see the impact computers can make in the classroom when the teachers change the way they use computer technology in the classroom.

 

Hopefully, we have come a long way from the early fears that computers would replace teachers to a view of how teachers and students can take advantage of the computational power of the computer to learn in new ways. We realize that the technology changes almost daily and it seems nearly impossible for anyone under the age of 22 to keep abreast of all the changes. However, the teaching environment is changing. Before the introduction of the Internet to the classroom, the class was defined by a textbook and the four walls. Today, there are no boundaries as the World Wide Web is massive data base of information that students can access faster than most teachers can redirect a question. Ten years ago, the teacher was the expert in the classroom. Today, an expert around the world is readily available to your students. The role of the successful teacher changes from that of expert to one who is wise. The wise teacher realizes that he or she is not the expert, but knows how to capitalize on the resources that are readily available. These include not only the scholarly expertise available on the Web, but also the technological expertise of the students. Our goal in this textbook is to create wise teachers who can facilitate learning by managing the resources and classroom.

 

The type of computer you have does not matter. All your students need is access to integrated software such as AppleWorks, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office, or individual applications for spreadsheets, databases, word processing, drawing, presentations, and Internet browsing. We have observed teachers who have collected the older Macintoshes and PCs that were discarded by other teachers, parents, or businesses . They were able to provide almost large number of computers in their classrooms that worked well with this approach. How many of us really need a computer with a 2.2 gigahertz processor when we can barely type 50 words a minute! This book is written for the pre-service and practicing teacher who has very basic computer skills such as using a mouse; opening, creating, and saving documents; and using menus. The software is not as important as learning how to use the tool in a productive manner to learn core content and skills. The type and capability of the software you use in your classroom will most likely change, and some programs will be replaced by more powerful software in a year or two. Because you and your students will know how to use word processing, databases, spreadsheets, and the Internet, the brand name and version will no longer matter.

 

Recently, we were visiting a sixth-grade classroom with a colleague, and the teacher was implementing an integrated lesson she had developed with the NTeQ (iNtegrating Technology for inQuiry) model. The students in each of her five science classes were testing various paper products. One student suddenly stopped his work and asked the teacher why they couldnüt create an index to determine which products were the best across all five of her classes. We stared at one another in amazement thinking that it would be great to hear a graduate student make such a leap in knowledge when analyzing research data!



Organization of This Text



In this third edition, we have made additions and revisions that provide a description and discussion of developing NTeQ lesson plans, implementing a lesson plan, assessing learning in an open-ended learning environment, and integrating educational software in a meaningful way. The 10-step NTeQ model remains the same in this edition, but we have refined the concepts and increased our emphasis on the role of Teacher as Designer. The following is a brief summary of the chapters.

Chapter 1 introduces the NTeQ model and provides a basis for using computer technology as tool for solving problems.

Chapter 2 presents a rationale for rethinking the use of computers in the classroom and establishes the foundational research base of the NTeQ Model.

Chapter 3, the first Teacher as Designer chapter, describes a set of tools to help teachers plan effective lessons: e.g., topic and task analysis, writing objectives, learner analysis, and assessment.

Chapter 4, the second Teacher as Designer chapter, focuses on how to use the 10-step NTeQ model to develop technology integration lessons.

Chapters 5, 6, and 7 describe how to integrate student use of word processing, spreadsheets, and databases into inquiry-based lesson plans.

Chapter 8 focuses on how students can use different computer tools to publish/present the results of the problem-solving activities.

Chapter 9 presents ideas for how to integrate a wide variety of Internet resources into the classroom.

Chapter 10 describes how to assess and meaningfully integrate both traditional and inquiry-based educational software into an NTeQ lesson plan.

Chapter 11 presents easy-to-follow guidelines for implementing a lesson in which students use computers in a problem-solving context.

Chapters 12 and 13 describe how to facilitate and manage a classroom that has students using computers.

Chapter 14 presents guidelines and approaches for assessing student learning with the use of traditional and alternative methods such as task lists and rubrics.

Special Features of This Book

Features in the third edition of Integrating Computer Technology Into the Classroom include the following:

Key Topics at the beginning of each chapter provide a quick outline of the chapter contents.

An Introduction at the beginning of each chapter orients the student to information and ideas presented in the chapter.

Screen shots and graphics are used throughout each chapter to illustrate lesson ideas.

Power Tips provide ideas for using specific software or computer features and often include a listing of valuable resources.

Tool chapters (i.e., 5-7) include instructions on how to write lesson plans in which students use specific functions of basic software applications to enhance learning.

Classroom examples highlight successful computer integration lessons that have been implemented by KŸ12 teachers.

Teacherüs Diaries provide practical tips, suggestions, and encouragement from KŸ12 teachers who are integrating computers into their classrooms.

URLs for accessing Internet resources support chapter content; however, these sites often change locations or suddenly drop from cyberspace. We have tried to identify locations that are resistant to ûcyber rust.ú

Companion Website and www.NTeQ.com website provide links to resources and a variety of lesson plans that span key content areas and KŸ12 grade levels.

At the Classroomüs Doorstep includes Questions Teachers Ask about the chapter and answers to those questions.

NTeQ Lesson Plans are provided at the end of selected chapters to illustrate how to use the NTeQ model at different grade levels and in different disciplines.

Lesson Bytes at the end of selected chapters provide possible topics for developing integrated lessons.

New to This Edition

What do I need to know is a series of focus questions at the beginning of each chapter to stimulate interest and focus learning.

A Classroom snapshot is presented prior to the chapter content to illustrate the key concepts of the chapter in an authentic context.

An NTeQ Portfolio task is provided at the end of each chapter.  The task includes reflection of the chapter content and various hands-on activities to reinforce learning.

Check It Out activities are web-based and directly related to examples given in the text.  Some allow you to actually work with and manipulate referenced data and information while others provide URLs to sites with relevant information.



Using This Book



It is important to note that our goal is not to have teachers integrate computers into every lesson but rather to teach them how to determine if computers should be used and how best to use them. In addition, please note that the primary focus in this book is not on developing basic computer literacy skills (although skill levels will increase as new functions are introduced and utilized); it is on developing new methods for using computers in the classrooms.

 




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