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Teachers, Not Technicians: Rethinking Technical Expectations for Teachers


by Judith Haymore Sandholtz & Brian Reilly — 2004

Despite many efforts at the national, state, and local levels to promote the use of computers in K-12 classrooms, over the past 20 years, the impact of the computer on teaching and learning has been minimal. In this article, we examine how one school district has advanced the use of computers in the classroom by focusing first on curriculum rather than on technology. While national and state technology standards for teachers, as well as educational technology textbooks, tend to start with computer hardware and how to troubleshoot it, teachers in the district described here spend very little time on hardware or troubleshooting. Instead, as a result of district choices with regard to technology, support, and training, teachers are able to bypass the hardware and troubleshooting and move quickly to more productive and inventive uses of technology in the classroom. Our research offers a paradox for furthering the use of computers in classroomsif we take away expectations for technical skills and allow teachers to focus on developing curriculum, evaluating learning materials, and thinking about how to provide better learning opportunities for their students, teachers are likely to use technology more effectively and creatively in their teaching.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 3, 2004, p. 487-512
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11525, Date Accessed: 3/27/2017 8:36:52 PM

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About the Author
  • Judith Sandholtz
    University of California, Riverside
    E-mail Author
    JUDITH HAYMORE SANDHOLTZ is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside where she formerly directed the Comprehensive Teacher Education Institute. Her research focuses on teacher professional development, teacher education, school/university partnerships, and technology in education. Recent publications include ‘‘Inservice Training or Professional Development: Contrasting Opportunities in a School/University Partnership’’ in Teaching and Teacher Education and ‘‘The Substantive and Symbolic Consequences of a District’s Standards-Based Curriculum’’ in the American Educational Research Journal.
  • Brian Reilly
    University of California, Riverside
    E-mail Author
    BRIAN REILLY is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. His areas of specialization are technology in K–12 schools and new literacies. His publications include ‘‘New Technologies, New Literacies, and New Problems,’’ in C. Fisher, D. Dwyer, and K. Yocam (Eds.), Education and Technology: Reflections on Computing in Classrooms (Jossey-Bass).
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