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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Technology Integration

Technology Integration

Related Tags: Classroom Technology
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So, I'm wondering, do you think that technology has truly made a difference in the quality of teaching and learning within the core subject areas? How often do non-technology teachers really use technology in their classrooms to benefit learning? In what ways do they do this? I'm feeling pessimistic and I hope that I'm wrong.

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India Hester's picture
India Hester
India Hester is a dedicated 4th grade teacher from Selma, Alabama.

I am an elementary school teacher. I have the pleasure of having a variety of technology within my classroom. I try to use technology everyday in at least 3-4 subject areas. I have several IMAC computers, clickers, MOBI systems, promethean board, etc. I integrate technology to spark students interests in whatever I am teaching. I have noticed, regardless of how interesting or not intersting the subject, using technology is fascinating and helps students to grasp certain concepts. I think technology is the wave of the future.

Claudia Prada's picture
Claudia Prada
SPANISH TEACHER College

[quote]I am an elementary school teacher. I have the pleasure of having a variety of technology within my classroom. I try to use technology everyday in at least 3-4 subject areas. I have several IMAC computers, clickers, MOBI systems, promethean board, etc. I integrate technology to spark students interests in whatever I am teaching. I have noticed, regardless of how interesting or not intersting the subject, using technology is fascinating and helps students to grasp certain concepts. I think technology is the wave of the future.[/quote]

Claudia Prada's picture
Claudia Prada
SPANISH TEACHER College

I teach Spanish at all levels and without technology I not convey the messages and structures that are part of a complex language structure. It has made my life easier and has helped me a lot with class management. I use PowerPoint and my clicker and I can test anyone from any part of the classroom. A language lab would be great to have, but nonetheless technology is wonderful.

Claudia Prada's picture
Claudia Prada
SPANISH TEACHER College

I think so if is well used and well planned. if you have a lot of text on a slide, then it is boring, but if you combine different tools (images, video, animated text) I believe it will be very engaging. I teach Spanish, and my classes are well received at all levels.

Julie Alexander's picture

A school's committment to technology is necessary! I try to incorporate technology in my gifted ss middle school classes. I was able to get 8 old G3 Macs - while I was excited at first, I found the operating systems are so outdated, and can't be upgraded to the level necessary for interactive use on current websites.
This week I decided to do podcast of recent African lessons - then I found out all the macs in the school have no garageband - it has been removed!! We have several labs available, which is nice, so I am now trying to find out if I can download Audacity on those computers - my guess is no! I feel like I'm trying to incorporate technology with my hands tied behind my back!

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia
Facilitator

Hi Andrew and all,
I hear you! I, too, have been really excited at the prospect of technology, but also I've been incredibly frustrated by the actual application of that technology. As a bit of background, I've worked at 2 schools that have had a 1:1 laptop program, and the results, to be honest have been mixed.

My biggest problem has been the reliability of the machines and the network supporting it. In the first school, where we used Windows machines, it was not uncommon to find that, out of a class set of 30 machines, only 15 would actually load. Then, if we navigated to the Learning Platform, the drain on the wireless network would cause the whole network across the school to crash.

Added to that, I've been reading a lot of the evidence regarding learning and technology, especially the work of Dr Alan Bain, from Charles Sturt University, Australia. As I understand it, he argues that despite the increasing level of technology in the classrooms, educational achievement has stayed the same.

I personally think that we need a different approach to technology - we need to consider very carefully both how we want to use them and what educational outcomes we want to see from this use - and then define different ways of assessing those outcomes.

I feel education and technology have a lot to offer, but there are clear obstacles to be overcome first.

Dr. Joan Bradley's picture

I've worked in different schools (as elementary Principal, as Museum Director) where technology is integrated and used to enhance student learning and it has been extremely successful.

The key to using technology successfully is proper teacher training and support, immediate availability of technology expertise to keep the computers functioning well, and including the use of technology in the lesson plan -- in other words, the objective to be achieved should be clearly communicated to the students.

Be aware though -- that computers in the classrooms change the dynamics of classroom learning in a positive way. Be prepared for lots of collaboration, since the children who eager to share what they know with each other, so it's wise to teach collaboration skills and what the new expectations are for performance and self discipline.

Another important consideration is how to assess work differently since teaching dynamics have changed.

Have you heard the saying, the students are digital natives and adults are digital immigrants! I believe this is true

Claudia Prada's picture
Claudia Prada
SPANISH TEACHER College

Once it gets working the students are engaged and interested. if the scores do not show improvement, at least the students learned. They are wired, we have to be wired too.

Susan Walker's picture
Susan Walker
Elementary English teacher at a bilingual School in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hello everybody!

Last year our ten year old pupils(they learn English as a second language) were exposed to a totally new learning environment, a Virtual Campus which was used as a tool for "Blended Learning" in different subjects. Every student was given a username and a password to enter the virtual campus.
One of the courses was a unit on Nutrition. It involved e-learning (electronic learning) in the computer laboratory, from a site specially designed by their teachers. The campus included videos, links, games, polls, forums, tests and surveys, chat and e-mail, a glossary and a section for frequently asked questions. Among the numerous advantages of this method, we would specially like to mention that students were highly motivated and they acquired autonomy in the learning process. They became the protagonists of their learning experience, while the teacher was only a facilitator. Furthermore, they worked at their own pace, according to individual learning styles: visual learners could read while auditory ones could listen to the text recorded by the teachers in mp3 format or else use both methods and even enlarge the text in case of special difficulties. Moreover, students were involved in a continuous, on-going self-assessment process through several multiple choice tests. Other advantages included the possibility to log on from any place as the Campus is online, and the teacher's permanent access to view all statistics and follow each students` progress.
Other class activities, including individual, pair and team work, were carried out through differentiated instruction catering for the students' learning styles.

It was absolutely great so that`s why I wanted to share it with you!

Thanks

Andrew Pass's picture

I'm really enjoying reading these contributions. Thank you everybody for sharing.

I'm wondering if anybody can provide a link to a successful classroom project so that others can actually take a look at something that was done.

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