Technology Integration Curriculum Framework for Effective Program Evaluation

Technology Integration Curriculum Framework for Effective Program Evaluation

Biljana Belamaric Wilsey (North Carolina State University, USA) and Jared Keengwe (University of North Dakota, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2012010102
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This article explores whether and to what extent a doctoral program in Instructional Technology in the College of Education at a public Midwestern university reflects technology integration curricular framework principles, including those about the nature of the Net Generation learners and their learning process. This evaluation model is grounded on the constructivist and social knowledge construction theoretical framework. By outlining a systematic approach and procedures for conducting this evaluation, the researchers provide the groundwork for similar evaluations at other institutions. This framework could be used by potential students to determine whether specific academic programs provided by different academic institutions are well suited to their learning needs as digital natives.
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Proponents of the Net Generation or Digital Natives (Tapscott, 1999, Prensky, 2001a, 2001b; Papert, 2005, Dede, 2008) have argued that, because of their immersion in computer technology, this group of students has special needs that old pedagogies and epistemologies cannot meet. These proponents call for integration of technology into the curriculum in order to meet new pedagogical needs and learning expectations. Considine, Horton, and Moorman (2009) suggest that effective teachers should therefore, “help all students to analyze and evaluate each media message for text, context, and impact to produce more knowledgeable, creative, and cooperative citizens for the Global Village” (p. 10).

Tapscott and Williams (2010) argue that the Internet and other digital technologies present unique opportunities to tap the benefits of constructivist and collaborative pedagogies in modern technology-rich classrooms. Constructivism assumes that effective learning requires active engagement with subject content; collaborative learning environments; and opportunities for problem solving. Thus, constructivist pedagogical paradigm views learning as a process of conceptual change whereby learners construct new understandings of reality and is consistent with collaborative learning contexts (Miller & Miller, 1999; Tam, 2000).

The use of technology in education has introduced new ways for social interaction to take place in classroom environments. While interactive and open-ended authentic type of learning could benefit the digital natives, using new educational technologies includes not only a change in tools (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009) but also a seismic shift in assumptions about the nature of learners, the roles of teachers and educational institutions, implications for the curriculum and the answer to the famous rhetorical question, ‘what knowledge is of most worth?’ (Dede, 2008; Prensky, 2001a).

According to Dede (2008), the knowledge that used to be of most worth included “accurate interrelationships among facts, based on unbiased research that produces compelling evidence about systemic causes” (p. 80). In the current framework, knowledge incorporated not only facts, but also “other dimensions of human experience, such as opinions, values, and spiritual beliefs” (Dede, 2008, p. 80). Further, the knowledge that is of most worth is no longer just factual but also procedural: knowing how to learn how to navigate information, and how to evaluate it and be a critical consumer (Duhaney, 2005).

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