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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
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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Lisa's picture
Lisa
4th Grade Teacher Setauket, NY

I have seen why it is even more important to integrate technology into my everyday lessons. Most teachers do not think "integrating technology into the 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 many ways." Most elementary teachers think if they visit the computer lab every other week to teach keyboarding lessons, during the school year, they have done their job to integrate technology. We need to use technology to support our curriculum and goals. We need to use technology to get students engaged in what they are learning by using Smart Boards, Proximas, Document Cameras, showing videos, etc. We know how engaged they are when they are playing video games or watching T.V. so why not use technology to enhance our curriculum?

Claudia C.'s picture

This article was very insightful. Technology is definitely the future of the classroom. Teaching teachers how to use it creatively within their classrooms will benefit students in their learning. It will keep the students engaged ultimately the teachers will be more inclined to continue to use technology from the positive results they see. I do agree that integrating technology means more than just teaching the basic computer skills and software to the students. There are so many different resources that technology can provide to take an ordinary lesson and make it into an extraordinary lesson.

Sandi's picture

It is really important to continue to engage students with the use of technology.Most students come into the classroom with more experience then me in some cases and it is my job to keep them engaged. In today's society children are on the computer, listening to ipods, and playing computer games regularly. The article states "Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy." The students of today are living in a technology based world and need to be prepared earlier then in the past. Technology can be used very effectivly if it is a part a well thought out lesson. There are certain things that technology can not replace but many areas of the curriculum that it can enhance.

Brianna's picture
Brianna
Elementary Teacher, Setauket, NY

The best way to prepare our students for their future careers is to provide them with as many hands on, engaging experiences as possible. Technology gives students the opportunity to experience "the four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experiences" from a first hand perspective. Teachers who make the effort to enhance their lessons with technology foster the learning process, differentiate for students who learn by multiple intelligences, and make the experience meaningful and fun.

Jayne M's picture
Jayne M
Kindergarten

I agree that there are many reasons to integrate technology in the classroom. One important reason is how the use of technology is able to reach out to different learners. I have found, as commented in this article, that students are more likely to stay engaged and on task when technology is integrated in the curriculum. It makes sense that in turn, behavioral problems in the classroom are greatly reduced.
The article also points out four "key components of learning": active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. While reading these four components, I reflected on my own experience with the use of the SmartBoard and interactive websites in the classroom and agree with each point. As a teacher, I have found teaching to be exciting and enriching for myself as well.

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.

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