Elementary Integration Scenarios

Read the first scenario below, and discuss it with your colleagues. Is this a good use of technology? What could be better? What would you do (be specific) to help raise the quality of integration? When you've completed scenario one, read scenario two and discuss the same questions.

Scenario One
When Mr. Smith starts a geography unit with his students on the “Continents & Oceans of the World”, he uses the CD ROM Trudy’s Time & Place House. Throughout the course of the unit, he has students work at various stations. At one of the computer stations, he allows two students at a time to work with Trudy’s Time & Place House. Mr. Smith knows that his students have been using the computer since kindergarten and that many of them have developed proficiency at home, so he trusts that they will be able to figure out how the program works on their own. The fact that they are working in pairs seals his decision that there is no need to introduce the software prior to the children using it independently. He sets no parameters on which activities the children do and there is no system of accountability; students simply go to the computer when their turn comes up and use the program. He figures that at least he is using software that is relevant to what the students are studying, so that’s enough integration. Unbeknownst to Mr. Smith, many children spend their computer time playing the clock game or working with the calendars when their focus is supposed to be geography.
Is this a good use of technology? What could be better? What would you do (be specific) to help raise the quality of integration? When you've completed scenario one, read scenario two and discuss the same questions.


Scenario Two
To reinforce her students’ knowledge of the parts of speech and to give them a chance to practice some database skills they had just learned, Ms. Lindy decided to create some mad lib stories for her students. She adapted a story from an old “Mad Lib” book and then created a database with a field for each missing word. She took the class to the lab and modeled for her students how to fill in the fields of the database and mail merge them into the word processed story. As she expected, the students found the results hilarious!! So Ms. Lindy created several more databases with corresponding stories and allowed her students to take turns using them during their Writers Workshop time in Language Arts class. Sharing the funny stories from the Author’s Chair became a favorite activity in her class, even enticing some of the more reluctant writers to come forward. To extend the enthusiasm for practicing their grammar skills, Ms. Lindy took her class to the lab and introduced them to the “Wacky Web Tales” section of the web site called Eduplace. Once again, students were allowed to take turns using this site to fill in parts of speech and create wacky tales during class. Some even wanted to take the url home so they could share the fun with their families.
Is this a good use of technology? What could be better? What would you do (be specific) to help raise the quality of integration? When you've completed scenario one, read scenario two and discuss the same questions.