Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many

There's a place for tech in every classroom.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
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VIDEO: An Introduction to Technology Integration
Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes. Yet most schools lag far behind when it comes to integrating technology into classroom learning. Many are just beginning to explore the true potential tech offers for teaching and learning. Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy.
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. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.

Many people believe that technology-enabled project learning is the ne plus ultra of classroom instruction. Learning through projects while equipped with technology tools allows students to be intellectually challenged while providing them with a realistic snapshot of what the modern office looks like. Through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesize information they've found online.

The myriad resources of the online world also provide each classroom with more interesting, diverse, and current learning materials. The Web connects students to experts in the real world and provides numerous opportunities for expressing understanding through images, sound, and text.

New tech tools for visualizing and modeling, especially in the sciences, offer students ways to experiment and observe phenomenon and to view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding. And, as an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom.

Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun. Return to our Technology Integration page to learn more.

Technology Integration Overview

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Toalua Taisau's picture
Toalua Taisau
Early Childhood Education Teacher

I agree 100% on integrating technology that will help students learning and to explore new things on internet. The hands-on-activity which I believe that will develop more understanding for students to visualize on different objects to solve any problems skills in the classroom. Early childhood Education we write integration lesson plan to teach our three and four year old children, and technology is one of our great integration lessons for children to go on youtube.com and select any songs or poems for young children...to sing along with some actions to add on.

Carly R.'s picture

I fully agree with this article. Technology is such a big part of society; most kids, even at a young age, have smart phones, laptops and iPods. Integrating technology into the classroom will teach kids skills they will need in the "real world" as well as keeping them engaged in learning. Most kids love watching TV and playing video games, so why not integrate something they like into the classroom? As the article said, this will lower classroom shenanigans and behavior problems, as well as teaching kids skills they can take with them as they move on in life.

tiffanieg's picture

As I have had the experience to work in different classrooms, I have enjoyed those classes where technology is a part of the learning of the class. The best teachers understand that to open the world to their students they have to provide a way for their students to get out of the classroom. In these classes, I have observed the use of smart boards, video editing, blogging with other classes in other countries, etc. This equipment was not only used by the teachers, but also the students.

I agree that the role of teachers has changed to be a more advisory role. With the use of technology, students have resources from all over the world and the classroom teacher no longer has to be the only expert, but becomes the expert facilitator to specialists from all over the world.

Rachelle(Nickie)A.'s picture

This is my first semester as an education major, so I am in the mist of learning a lot about the classroom setting. I never really thought of having a lot of technology in the classroom, until this article. I see how technology affects our community and the world and it makes since that we would start the use of it at an early age. I think that technology is something that would and could keep the classroom interesting for children. Technology seems to keep their attention and they always want to play with some kind of device, whether is be a computer or a phone. With children being exposed to things such as the Ipads, phones, the internet and much more at an early age it seems to make sense to continue that into the classroom. There is so much that technology can bring to the classroom. Technology allows kids to explore the world without stepping one foot out of a classroom. It amazes me what all technology can bring to the table. I think it's a great idea to integrate!

mvaldez's picture

It seems like we are at a stage in education where the students are more adept to using technology than the teachers. I personally attended a very rural school in which I obtained little to no technology experience. Currently almost everything is technology and our world as we know it is evolving rapidly to become dependent on technology alone. As the article stated, technology does contribute greatly to the 4 components of learning and I agree that this could be beneficial for students. The article also claimed that increased technology reduces behavioral problems in students and I'm not so sure that technology would have that effect. Technology is a bit of a privilege and might increase behavioral issues as well depending on the county. With mature and responsible students, I believe we could advance our rank in global education. The United States is not at the top in education anymore by any means. Last time I checked we are 18th out of 36 countries. If 18 out of 36 was a score on a test it would be an "F". More education involving technology could be a factor that separates us from other countries and increases overall knowledge as a country.

Chad's picture

Information and knowledge are a gift, and the internet and other multimedia outlets allow that gift to be shared with such a wide range of people, including todays students. I feel that technology is essential in the classroom in our ever changing world. Children today are already more adept with technology than previous generations so the future classroom will need to be filled with technology to satisfy the thirst that up and coming generations will have for a constant stream of up to date information.

Charlotte IRIS Connect's picture

Technology definitely adds an extra dimension to the classroom, giving teachers more ways to inspire and capture the imaginations of their pupils. It's important to make sure however, that teachers are given the training to ensure that they are comfortable with this integrated technology, and are able to harness it's potential effectively.

Samantha Rivers's picture

As a third grade teacher, I am trying to expose my students to more and more technology within the classroom. They are going to be exposed to it outside of the classroom, so I want them to know how to use it appropriately. I also feel that it would be a great communication tool to use with parents. My goal this year is to have a class blog where students will post discussions regarding what we are learning, and have parents and other teachers respond to their posts. Through technology, I hope students will be more engaged in their learning, and that the learning will be more meaningful to them. Great post to help educators realize the effect technology can have on students' learning.

Kayla S.'s picture

I teach at a charter school where it is very difficult for us to get funds for new technology. I am glad to report that we just received Smart Boards this year with the help of our parents who spent a lot of time fundraising. My school district subscribes to a site that some of you may be familiar with, Gizmo. It is a website that has interactive activities for all subject areas and topics. It is great! Before I received my Smart Board I would have to schedule a time for the students to go to the media center to use the computers. Although it was great that the students had their own computers, many were old and did not work. We spent half the time trying to fix computers or internet connections. Now that I have my Smart Board I do not have to try and schedule to get all my classes in the media center and I do not have to worry about failing computers. The Gizmos are great and are aligned to the state standards. Also the Gizmos come with teacher instructions and student discussion questions. When we finish the Gizmo, I either assign the questions as homework or students work in pairs to answer them. There is a free trial on the website so you can try out the Gizmos yourself and see if you like it or not.

Jessica Morgan's picture
Jessica Morgan
First grade teacher from Maryland

I am a first grade teacher at a title 1 school and I can't tell you how grateful I am for the technology I have at hand, now more then ever using my technology instead of the consumable materials that were cut from the budget has been a life savor. Without these tools I feel my teaching practices would really be suffering. Technology resources range from computers, software programs, and the Internet to digital cameras, camcorders, and voice recorders. Technology isn't a teaching substitute, but a valuable aid that introduces children to new ways of thinking and working. Plus, it's a great introduction to resources that the child's likely to use in the future. To get the maximum benefit from technology, the best classrooms implement technology into regular lessons that develop students' higher order thinking skills, promote creativity, and facilitate academic learning. I also use technology to evaluate students' progress.
First-graders work in word-processing programs to practice writing, editing, design, and keyboarding skills. The children may type words that rhyme; write a thank-you letter and add an image; or type words, changing the font, color, and size of the text. After reading stories by an author, my class may visit the author's website, and send an email to ask a question about the book. The children may also learn to use an online dictionary. They also keep a dictionary of words that he can read and spell in a word document. First-graders may learn the proper terminology to communicate about technology, such as the parts of a computer system and software terms such as menu, file, save, and quit. The children will make labels for the different parts of the computer, such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, and speakers. If these lessons are integrated with the traditional subjects of reading, writing, math, social studies, science, and art, the children will learn how technology can help them find out what they want to know and communicate their thoughts.

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