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Promising Practices in Technology

Recognizing and Supporting Teaching with Technology

The Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) research project was both exploratory and open-ended.  The project was initiated in 1985 by Apple Computer, Inc. to answer the question: What happens to students and teachers when they have access to computers whenever they need it?  Over the following four years, sites were selected, computers were provided for ACOT classrooms, and training was provided for teachers.  In 1990, the first reports were published, and ACOT project staff began making presentations at conferences and educational meetings.  By 1995, the message was clear: the conversation should be about learning, not computers.

During the decade of study from 1985 to 1995, the ACOT teachers used technology as a motivator for change.  They enriched their lessons with technology and turned the assignments into collaborative learning activities.  The ACOT study determined that teachers progress through certain stages as they incorporate technology into teaching and learning in their classrooms.  These stages can be described as shown in the chart below. 

Stage      Examples of What Teachers Do
Learn the basics of using technology
Use new technology to support traditional instruction
Integrate new technology into traditional classroom practice (Here, they often focus on increased student productivity and engagement by using word processors, spreadsheets, and graphic tools.)
Focus on cooperative, project-based, and interdisciplinary work-incorporating the technology as needed and as one of many tools
Discover new uses for technology tools, for example, developing spreadsheets macros for teaching algebra or designing projects that combine multiple technologies.

From Changing the Conversation About Teaching, Learning, & Technology: A Report 10 Years of ACOT Research.  Apple Computer, Inc.

For more information about the ACOT stages, view a video clip,  filmed at Andrews Elementary School in South Carolina, in which teachers demonstrate each of the five stages.  

You will need RealPlayer to view this video clip. Download the  FREE RealPlayer Basic for your operating system at: http://www.real.com

Teachers experienced varied stages with different types of technology and teaching strategies.  As teachers advanced through the stages, they became guides, while the students took more ownership of their own learning, frequently doing so in cooperative groups.  The chart below shows the shift that occurred in the classrooms, from traditional instruction to extended knowledge construction.

   Traditional   Instruction


Extended Knowledge
Activity   Teacher-centered and didactic Learner-centered and interactive
Teacher role   Fact teller and expert Collaborator/sometimes learner
Student role   Listener and learner Collaborator/sometimes expert
Learning   emphasis   Facts and replication Relationships and inquiry
Concept of   knowledge   Accumulation Transformation
Demonstration of  success   Quantity Quality
Assessment   Norm-referenced and multiple guess Criterion-referenced and performance portfolios
Technology use   Seat work Communication, collaboration, information access and expression

From Changing the Conversation About Teaching, Learning, & Technology: A Report 10 Years of ACOT Research.  Apple Computer, Inc.

For more information on how teachers learn to use technology for effectively integrating technology into their teaching practices, go to the bibliography.

  Order the 25-minute video, Promising Practices in Technology: Recognizing and Supporting Teaching with Technology for an in-depth view of how educators can use technology within the context of the five Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) stages by calling the SERVE publications office at: (800) 352-6001.
  If you have questions or comments, contact