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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

Comments (382)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Amanda Ruddick's picture

I understand where some of you are coming from, especially for some of us, who have taught for many years, and have experienced many more things than these young children we teach. It is sad to me that these kids will never have seen a record player, or never learned how to read a digital clock. But, we must move on, and attempt to change with them, for their sakes. I know how hard it is to stop printing everything you want to read, or to read your books online, instead of buying one. Many of you are distubed by the disapearance of the book being replaced with online books. I do not blame you. Kids will read siliently online, instead of reading a paper book. You must ask yourself, is it really any different? We must change! For the children of this new generation!

Alicia Hanford's picture

I do agree that technology needs to be integrated into the classroom to prepare students for what lies ahead. I also agree that it gives you as a teacher more tools to reach the different learning styles. I use a smart board in my classroom and find it helpful.

I do worry about the face to face contact time with more and more courses going online - while it certainly offers more options and opportunities I think something is lost without having the face to face time.

I would also mention that fine motor skills seem to be getting worse. Do we worry about this?

Alicia Hanford's picture

I have no idea if my first comment posted as I didn't have an account - good thing I am taking this class.

Anyway, I will just mention briefly what I mentioned in my first post.

I agree technology needs to be in the classroom to prepare students for what lies ahead.

Technology certainly offers you more options as a teacher to expand on what you are able to do in your classroom. It gives more tools to differentiate instruction. I use a smart board in my classroom and find it helpful.

I do worry about the face to face time as more courses are offered online. I have noticed fine motor skills are getting worse. Do we worry about this?

zoya's picture

[quote]I believe that an educator should integrate technology.What does every child have in their home? The majority of students have some type of game system and most of them have more than one type including the hand held.If you want to keep a young student's attention, then you need to intergrate technology in your lessons.Also, after reading some articles on brain research and autism, including technology is one way information can go into the child's memory. It's just one more intervention I can use for reading and math.[/quote]

June Naclerio's picture

[quote]I do agree that technology needs to be integrated into the classroom to prepare students for what lies ahead. I also agree that it gives you as a teacher more tools to reach the different learning styles. I use a smart board in my classroom and find it helpful.I do worry about the face to face contact time with more and more courses going online - while it certainly offers more options and opportunities I think something is lost without having the face to face time.I would also mention that fine motor skills seem to be getting worse. Do we worry about this?[/quote]

June Naclerio's picture

[quote][quote]I do agree that technology needs to be integrated into the classroom to prepare students for what lies ahead. I also agree that it gives you as a teacher more tools to reach the different learning styles. I use a smart board in my classroom and find it helpful.I do worry about the face to face contact time with more and more courses going online - while it certainly offers more options and opportunities I think something is lost without having the face to face time.I would also mention that fine motor skills seem to be getting worse. Do we worry about this?[/quote][/quote]

June Naclerio's picture

I agree with Alicia H and her comment about technology in the classroom. As a High School Special Educator, technology is very helpful when trying to diversify instruction. I need to become more knowledgeable so I can service my students better.

Ms. Greer's picture
Ms. Greer
Technology Integrator Specialist for 1-12 Boarding School in Philadelphia

I can't help but notice that there are people who are registered with Edutopia, who are reading and commenting on this online article, who are responding to colleagues' and peers' comments, and who still are expressing hesitance about integrating technology into a classroom. For some reason, that seems funny.

If, as a teacher, I were to try and stay current on best teaching practices, current educational research, trends in education, changes to state standards, etc... by sitting in a room and waiting for someone to lecture me on the information, or by reading a book on each topic listed, I'd be in serious trouble. My ability to regularly locate meaningful information, to engage in a dialogue about that information with a diverse group, and to disseminate it to my colleagues and peers is what allows me to be successful at my trade. Why would I try to limit my students from access to information and technological resources?

My ability to navigate technology and use technology has always been an asset, never has it worked against me. Going all the way back to high school in the 1980's, my ability to navigate software applications and configure small networks has been a skill set that has constantly been in demand. People have asked for help as long as I can remember. No one has ever said, "Oh that girl is getting too good at using those dang computers. We'd better slow her down."

I can't help but notice that some of the resistance to integrating technology in school is fear-based on the part of teachers, and rightfully so in some ways. Students often know more about the technologies than we do and regardless of whether we integrate technology into the classroom or not, they will learn to use it. The big questions are: Who will guide their ethical decision making while they become masters of the technology? Who will help them learn to question which tools help society and which ones hurt society? Who will help them identify resources that allow them to become experts in areas in which they are passionate? Who will encourage them to maintain healthy boundaries in their online communities? Who will encourage them to develop a balance between their real world and their virtual world? Who will lead them with inquiry to developing effective problem-solving skills? Who will help them learn to collaborate with peers from diverse cultures? Isn't that us? Isn't that what we need to do as educators? Aren't we responsible for helping young people become critically thinking citizens?

Even as tech savvy as I am, I know I that I barely even scratch the surface when it comes to understanding existing technologies. There are far too many hardware technologies, Web 2.0 tools, Internet resources, virtual environments, etc... to keep up with. The kids will leave me in the dust shortly. I'm fine with that. They can continue to teach me about all the cool advances in the technologies and I'll keep teaching them by asking questions to challenge their opinions and beliefs, by encouraging them to consider the consequences of their actions, by making sure that they continue to understand the value of proficiency in reading and writing, by putting math and science into a context that is meaningful, and by valuing and respecting them as individuals. That's what I watched my mentor do years ago... (and she knew a whole lotta nuthin' about computers). The kids taught her and she taught them and everyone was learning. :)

Ms. Greer's picture
Ms. Greer
Technology Integrator Specialist for 1-12 Boarding School in Philadelphia

I can't help but notice that there are people who are registered with Edutopia, who are reading and commenting on this online article, who are responding to colleagues' and peers' comments, and who still are expressing hesitance about integrating technology into a classroom. For some reason, that seems funny.

If, as a teacher, I were to try and stay current on best teaching practices, current educational research, trends in education, changes to state standards, etc... by sitting in a room and waiting for someone to lecture me on the information, or by reading a book on each topic listed, I'd be in serious trouble. My ability to regularly locate meaningful information, to engage in a dialogue about that information with a diverse group, and to disseminate it to my colleagues and peers is what allows me to be successful at my trade. Why would I try to limit my students from access to information and technological resources?

My ability to navigate technology and use technology has always been an asset, never has it worked against me. Going all the way back to high school in the 1980's, my ability to navigate software applications and configure small networks has been a skill set that has constantly been in demand. People have asked for help as long as I can remember. No one has ever said, "Oh that girl is getting too good at using those dang computers. We'd better slow her down."

I can't help but notice that some of the resistance to integrating technology in school is fear-based on the part of teachers, and rightfully so in some ways. Students often know more about the technologies than we do and regardless of whether we integrate technology into the classroom or not, they will learn to use it. The big questions are: Who will guide their ethical decision making while they become masters of the technology? Who will help them learn to question which tools help society and which ones hurt society? Who will help them identify resources that allow them to become experts in areas in which they are passionate? Who will encourage them to maintain healthy boundaries in their online communities? Who will encourage them to develop a balance between their real world and their virtual world? Who will lead them with inquiry to developing effective problem-solving skills? Who will help them learn to collaborate with peers from diverse cultures? Isn't that us? Isn't that what we need to do as educators? Aren't we responsible for helping young people become critically thinking citizens?

Even as tech savvy as I am, I know I that I barely even scratch the surface when it comes to understanding existing technologies. There are far too many hardware technologies, Web 2.0 tools, Internet resources, virtual environments, etc... to keep up with. The kids will leave me in the dust shortly. I'm fine with that. They can continue to teach me about all the cool advances in the technologies and I'll keep teaching them by asking questions to challenge their opinions and beliefs, by encouraging them to consider the consequences of their actions, by making sure that they continue to understand the value of proficiency in reading and writing, by putting math and science into a context that is meaningful, and by valuing and respecting them as individuals. That's what I watched my mentor do years ago... (and she knew a whole lotta nuthin' about computers). The kids taught her and she taught them and everyone was learning. :)

Ms. Greer's picture
Ms. Greer
Technology Integrator Specialist for 1-12 Boarding School in Philadelphia

Who ever posted the link to the Johnny Lee TED talk... THANK YOU! That is way too cool. I can't wait to try.

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