Why Do We Need Technology Integration? | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why Do We Need Technology Integration?

The myriad benefits of integrating technology into the classroom.
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Technology is a ubiquitous part of children's lives. It is transparent. Most homes have connected computers or Internet-enabled devices. As prices of technology drop, computers and digital devices may replace television as we know it. When pioneering educational technology advocate Jan Hawkins wrote an essay for Edutopia in 1997, "The World at Your Fingertips: Education Technology Opens Doors," about how technology brings the tools of empowerment into the hands and minds of those who use them, she couldn't have known her words would be even more relevant today.

Now, walk into a classroom. Are there computers and if so, how are they being used? Are they being used at all? Technology has revolutionized the way we think, work, and play. Technology, when integrated into the curriculum, revolutionizes the learning process. More and more studies show that technology integration in the curriculum improves students' learning processes and outcomes. Teachers who recognize computers as problem-solving tools change the way they teach. They move from a behavioral approach to a more constructivist approach. Technology and interactive multimedia are more conducive to project-based learning. Students are engaged in their learning using these powerful tools, and can become creators and critics instead of just consumers.

NatureMapping brings real science to the classroom with hand-held data collection devices.

Another reason for technology integration is the necessity of today's students to have 21st century skills.

These 21st century skills include

  • personal and social responsibility
  • planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity
  • strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
  • cross-cultural understanding
  • visualizing and decision making
  • knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task

A great starting point for more information about 21st century skills is the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website.

The Edutopia article "Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many" offers this summary: "Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts."

Technology helps change the student/teacher roles and relationships: students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators. Technology lends itself as the multidimensional tool that assists that process. For economically disadvantaged students, the school may be the only place where they will have the opportunity to use a computer and integrate technology into their learning (for more about equity, access, and digital inclusion, check out our Digital Divide Resource Roundup.)

There is a growing body of evidence that technology integration positively affects student achievement and academic performance. The Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) found that, when used in collaborative learning methods and leadership that is aimed at improving the school through technology planning, technology impacts achievement in content area learning, promotes higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, and prepares students for the workforce. Look at the research findings on student learning in CARET's Questions & Answers for the question: "How can technology influence student academic performance?"

You will find more links to research and resources in the Resources for Tech Integration section of this guide.

Continue to the next section of the guide, What Is Tech Integration?

Comments (32)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Mary's picture

I would just like to say thank you. I found this article very useul. I used this for an English project where we had to talk about the advancement of technology. So again thank you!
Thank you,

kim smetzer's picture

I thought it had good information. I have witnessed the use of technology in my school district. It starts from preschool and continues through high school. The applications are good in this district, but I agree that all applications are not properly set upfor the age or grade level and build upon each others learning.

Beth Moore's picture

Can anyone tell me how to access, The study "The Future of Children: Children and Computer Technology" by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation? I tried clicking on the title, but it would not take me to the study.


Keromang Mathibeli's picture

This article has been so helpful for me because I used it to complete my information system assignment concerning technology integration.

Emilia olvera's picture
Emilia olvera
V.I. Houston Texas

I think Technology is limitless to what we can do in our classrooms.
we As immigrants of technologies we need be the facilitator and a guide about technology for the students. We have to much to learn

Charles Nyakito's picture

I thank very much the author of this article and all those who have contributed their comments. I started integrating technology in my teaching recently and it's working miracles for me. My students have become very active in class and they request me to ask other teachers who have not started embracing technology in their teaching to also come on board.

Teachindamonkeys's picture

While I agree that technology must be integrated into today's classrooms, I am worried that our students will lose their ability to demonstrate interpersonal skills as has happened in the on-line gaming community. Students playing these games do interact with each other but only in the electronic worlds they play in. Perhaps it is the lack of face-to-face interaction and the anonymity game play provides. I see technology integration as a must have for our students but in doing so, we must watch their blog postings closely to insure our students do not abuse the freedom they have been given. What are your thoughts on this?

Teachindamonkeys's picture

Iam trying to revive this discussion. Is technology integration the way to go or should we explore other, more effective methods. What are your thoughts?

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