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
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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jeditech's picture

We have to begin to think outside of the box. Students are more and more involved with technology than the normal paper and pencil method. It's not the lack of funding, it's how the school/board/ distributes it's finances and willing to take the risk to see technology improve students retention and increase their creativity in a secure environment.

I have seen schools in Canada using Vengeo that has been incorporated within the curriculum and as a teaching tool. A Publishing & Communication tool that I have never seen before that enabled student success in creativity, retention, and provided that Web 2.0 that's missing! Hopefully we'll see Vengeo all over the education system soon.

Ms. Evans's picture
Ms. Evans
Founder of EVS Orlando Tutor

A lovely piece. I find that integrating technology is a powerful tool and can be used effectively integrated into curriculums and outside curriculums, maybe for enrichment or to extend lessons. It also works well as an alternative teaching tool for students with learning or physical disabilities. I want to say that there are and should be distinctions made between how technology is used for curriculum outcomes by age groups verses how the same technology can be used alternatively. I live in a community where technology is an intricate part of elementary school daily learning, students are blogging, and presenting powerpoint presentation. This level of integration however is a decade ahead of many other schools in the area. And in fact, at times it may be too much. How much homework should a child be given on moodle or on blog pages is a question that should be raised. For instance, should forth graders be given blog assignments in three different subjects in addition to regular homework? Perhaps core standards should be made for integrating technology on the elementary level. Any comments?
Another point I might add that may be worth talking about is the growing number of virtual classes offered to high school students as a way of not having to sit through the classroom experience at school. While this is a way for students to avoid having to sit through "crowded" classes or classes taught by undesirable teachers, it is not teaching a child how to handle their social concerns and at times students' claims may not be valid. The class may not be over crowded or the teacher may be a very good teacher.
Technology is a bit of a novelty and shouldn't overshadow curriculum content or enabling students to really emerge themselves in learning what's core. Some teachers definitely get very caught up in the novelty and are not teaching content as well as perhaps they should because of it. Over integrating technology can negatively effect grading and an assortment of other key components in the classroom.

Shelley's picture
4th Grade Classroom Teacher

I feel as educators we would be doing our students an injustice is we taught without the integration of technology. We have a responsibility to expose students and to challenge them. Some students grow up knowing all the latest tech "toys" while others have nothing at home. It is our job to expose students so that they have a well rounded education and in this century that means they must be exposed and have frequent use with technology. That being said, I understand the reluctance of some educators. It is very frustrating to even make sense of all that is out there. We cannot possibly be masters of all the educational technological tools available. It's also very frustrating to rely so heavily on something that is often times not reliable. I've had many instances when our server was done and my lesson called for tools on the internet or some other incident like this. And let's not forget the time that is so rare. If we are expected to teach with technology then teachers MUST be given time to explore, plan, and reflect with other teachers concerning the technology integration.

sushma sharma's picture
sushma sharma
Ninth - welfth grade english teacher Govt girls school Jabalpur India

I would like to put an imagery to explain my point.As we have become more comfortable by using latest technology in different walks of life for example while cooking we use different timings and temperatures for different cereals or while travelling we use different speeds and routes to reach the destination in the same way we should use a proper amount of technology in teaching also.Proper has a very wide range which differs with each student in amount,time and space.so great attention is neede before we use it.

John's picture
6th, 7th, & 8th grade teacher

Nice piece, I agree. Technology should be slowly integrated in the classroom for all the right reasons. Not simply because it is available. And there are a million good reasons. Our students are tomorrow's work force and we should invest in them for a bright future.

Lisa's picture
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
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

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.

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