|How To Integrate Technology
Students often become engaged learners when technology is a seamless part of their curriculum. Technology integration changes classroom dynamics, encouraging project-based learning and constructivist thought.
Think about what you are doing in the classroom with your students: What projects are they working on? What resources are they using? What tools are being used? Is technology use transparent and varied?
If your answer is 'No,' then how does technology integration begin? It begins when teachers and students use technology because it is the right tool to use. It is students using the Internet to do research. It is students creating Web sites to teach others about earthquakes and disaster readiness. It is students creating multimedia presentations and presenting them to their classmates, parents, and community.
Technology integration begins when a teacher has her students illustrate a Kindergarten alphabet book using a paint program. The students publish their work. They print out their pages and create a class book that is sent home for parents to view. Technology integration is students making slideshows using their alphabet drawings. It is the students recording their voices and saying the letters of the alphabet and the names of objects they drew.
Technology integration happens when second grade students use the computer to look up information on the Internet that will answer the question: "What did dinosaurs eat?" They download pictures of dinosaurs and create shadow boxes showing how dinosaurs lived. Technology integration promotes collaboration among students in several classes. Older students create digital stories about dinosaurs, sharing information or inventing tales. In Dinosaurs Before Dark, students created a claymation movie for their language arts project.
Technology integration is fourth-grade students creating slideshow presentations about the latest books they have read. In their presentations they include hyperlinks to Internet sites reviewing the books. Technology integration is fifth-grade students making movies about the Oregon Trail and westward expansion. It is when sixth-grade students at Echo Horizon School participate in the Mars Millennium Project and discuss what it might be like to live on Mars. Read how it is done when you visit Legends of Mars 2030. See how technology facilitates their exploration. Technology integration is using digital cameras to make movies explaining scientific principles, such as the Flight of the Painted Ladies.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has established national technology standards for teachers. These standards have two competency skill areas: operational and integration. The standards encourage teachers to use technology for their professional and personal uses. The standards recommend that teachers access and exchange information using the Internet. Teachers who embrace technology and recognize its use can integrate it into their teaching practices. However, recognizing when and where technology fits into a lesson, project, or curriculum is really the first step. Too often, a teacher shies away from using technology because he/she doesn't know how to use certain applications or devices. When this is the case, turn to the 'expert': the student. In "Turning the Tables -- Students Teach Teachers," elementary, middle, and high school students help veteran and prospective teachers integrate technology into their lessons to enhance student learning. Technology allows for the student/teacher roles to be interchangeable. Students love to teach teachers how to use technology!