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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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Anthony Lord's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach at high school level in Ghana-Africa. needs help to teach my students well.

Sent web sites where I can get materials to teach. Also want to to know about universities where I can study on instructional media and technologies on campus base learning

tommyflorida's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Let the kids lead the way? No M'am, that's a lame, lazy approach. If you're a teacher, you should unleash your intellectual curiosity and know MORE about tech than the kids you are responsible for teaching. Dig and learn!

Sean McGlennon Head of English, The British School Baku's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

You cannot be serious Tommy?

Kids are already way ahead of us old foggies (that's anyone passed the age of fifteen) which includes you n me!

They learn very well by doing and they're doing tech all of the time even while you n me sleep or eat or read and have a whole nother language, most of us only guess at unless they let us in.

We are specialists in another field and could not now become experts in tech without sacrifice to it.

Giving power over to the students empowers them, gives them pride in their hard practised skills and knowledge, that they do enjoy sharing, and supports them to learn more.

I know alot of teachers are scared of letting go (loving the authority and control it gives) but you merely hold your students back from valuable self discovery.

Dr. Chris A. Heidelberg's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am quite knowlegeable about social media, technology, video games, devices and
handhelds and I use them all in my college classes and with the K-12 students who
I give workshops and individual consultations with their parents.

I utilize the edutainment and convergence methods that I have developed based on
my 20 years in the film, video, radio, print, PR and advertising worlds. I still
producer and direct and I found that the teaching and researching skills that I
utilize on the set and the studio are nearly identical to what I use in the classroom.

I disagree with the comments about teachers being lazy if they permit the students to
lead. The last four classes in my course are student led and highly collaborative. If we are
really doing our jobs we should be learning from our students. The sage on the stage method
of teaching is being replaced by the learner-centered model that I learned from researching and
actually meeting and working with Barbara McCombs out of Denver. My class is actually on
Facebook and several social media simultaneously and I will be publishing the results
from the research that the class developed with me.

The point is this: collaboration and interaction is the key. We cannot have 21st century
students and then bore them to death and restricting them using their skills, talents
and preferences when they enter the classroom. In our class we (the class and I)
used everyone skills for exploration, debate, critical thinking, analysis, writing, research
and live presentations.

If you have the correct framework (your syllabus and lesson plan), your students will
provide you with valuable insights that you may never consider. It is basic marketing: know your
audience. Feel free to contact me at edutainmenttoday@gmail.com or on Facebook at DocChris and you can
view the actual class data. My site is http://edutainmentandconvergence.vox.com
I am back from research and filming this summer so my page is about to be updated in a big way. This is such a great forum.

Chris A. Heidelberg, III, Ph.D.
Loyola College of Maryland

Executive Director
The Center For Internet Research
Breckenridge, CO

Demetria Lednovich's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a graduate student in special educaion. I enjoyed reading the article.I agree that it is very important to teach more about how to use technology in schools.I also argee that it is important to teach while using technologies to help students who need a change from the traditional approach. Unforunately,many educators are not able to use these tools themselves because they had not had the proper training. Even when these educators are trained to use these tools many of the schools they will work in will not have the tools readily available. I think its hard for everyone to get on the same page about technology even though it is an important part of todays world. That said, I do not think technology is everything and the most important job of educators is to teach students to think critically and be able to make decisions.

Rebecca Bonilla's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I feel like the article displays some good points concerning technology in our classrooms. I feel that it is important to have teachers incorporate some form of technology into lesson plans. Schools spend so much time trying to get the students to stop using technology such as cell phones, ipods, laptops, etc but they don't realize that these are tools that can be used for learning. I've heard of schools that actually text message homework assignments and students who have Iphone can use applications for tutoring. It may take a long time for administrators to see the potential that technology can have and ways to use them but sooner or later I feel that they will need to use technology in all forms in order to reach the youth of the future. Technology is all they know and it is growing at such a rapid pace that many teachers are not able to keep their students interest.

Jason Watson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Yes. There should be many vaild reason to add technology into curriculum. Thank you very much for this great share.Acekards || Paid Surveys

Irene Betancourt's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Excellent article on reasons why technology should be intergrated into the classroom setting.

Utilizing technology in any learning situation addresses the needs of most students. The active learning, the engagement in the process, and the instant feedback are essential for optimm learning.

As indicated in the article, for optimum learning to be achieved, technology should be integrated across the curriculum utilizing strategies that enhance the learning process.

Diane Cote's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This short but very informative article has me thinking and confirming why integrating technology in the classroom is so important. As a reading specialist working with students who have difficulty acquiring the process of reading efficiently, I know that it is critical that we find ways to help them learn to read and acquire reading skills in a way that they will enjoy. Using computer software such as ESSENTIAL SKILLS and LEXIA, I have proven results of how young students are able to improve reading skills in a "fun" way. The technology offers them a way to practice these skills in a non-threatening way and progres is monitored. This type of technology has the key components of actively engaging them, getting quick feedback and connecting them to real experts. This particular type of focus however does not encourage group participation. I have seen students whose desire is to interact solely with the computer but it's my job to be sure that the "social" learning also occurs. I see kids today who have great difficulty playing games with other students because experiences in this area seem to be more limited than in t he past. More than anything, I know that technology is the children's world and it is probably one of the best tools that teachers have to differentiate instruction to meet their needs.

abourgoin's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Since reading and hearing Daniel Pink speak last year at our school district convocation, i have been thinking a lot about the integration of technology and how it might apply to what and how I teach. As an art teacher, my meager and tentative attempts hve brought students to a new level of interest and engagement. Although I believe there is no substitute for the hands on experience that working with art materials such as clay, paint, and papier mache can provide, I think integrating technology will provide many new and exciting career opportunities for students. It is also an eciting and practical way to store assessment data and to allow students to engage in assessing their own work; sometimes by receiving direct feedback from a practicing artist. I am constntly amazed by the simple digital camera and how it has made the art of photography so accessible to young children. they can learn by trial and error and get instant results. This only barely scratches the surface. We have to find a way to engage the minds of the future. Sitting passively taking notes with a pencil does not cut it anymore!

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