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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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Amy Sorensen's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am currently a second grade teacher in Collier County, Florida. We are lucky enough to have AverMedia Doc Cams, Mimio Boards and Pens, and Microphones in every classroom in the district. This is my first year in Collier County and I am actually amazed at how much I use this technology every day. The kids love it and it seems to make my life easier! I never knew how much I would love the microphone. It just hangs around our necks and you don't even notice it's there. My voice is never strained in the afternoons now, I just love it! I don't know what I'll do if I move to another district and don't have this! With our students being so involved in technology at home, it's so nice to have it in the classroom in forms that can actually be used all the time.

Grace Harris's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach pre-k in Buffalo,NY. I am fortunate to be in a school that has installed promethean boards in every classroom. It is the best feeling in the world to see the little faces of four yr. olds clicking and dragging. The website I use daily is starfall.com to complete our morning news and our calendar. I am having a hard time finding lessons for my pre-k students through the promethean website. Teachers are required to take 3, 3 hour classes for the smartboards. I feel that if I learn something new once a week on the smartboard I will have accomplished what I wanted to.

Jackie Miller's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach Kindergarten in Belton, Missouri. I have a smartboard in my classroom and also use the starfall website. It is a great tool for teaching my students letters, sounds, and pre-reading skills. I have not formally been trained on the smartboard. Do you have any suggestions of other websites like starfall to use with the smartboard?

Jackie Miller's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a Kindergarten teacher in Belton, Missouri. But, last year I taught Second grade. I used google earth to show my students the difference between a city, state, country, and a continent. After seeing it on google earth, my students really seemed to grasp the concept. It is a GREAT website!!!

Travis's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm in the same boat as you as far as technology. The school I teach at in Manassas Park, VA, is equipped with SmartBoards in each classroom. It's amazing at what we can do with them. Using the technology in the classroom is great, but I'm also starting to see applications outside the classroom as well. This year I've started a blog with my students, and I'm working on creating podcasts to help my students outside of the classroom. I think that schools like ours are definitely moving in the right direction by allowing students to learn with technology as much as they do, considering they work with it more than we do.

Ameerah Shabazz-Bilal's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am very happy to have stumbled onto this site! We are trying very hard to infuse technology into every discipline at my school also. We use the SmartBoard, eBoards, digital equipment and post a regular PodCast Show. I am hoping to grab some ideas from some of the people visiting your site!

kate's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

hi-i am a teacher mentor in chicago. i have encountered a few teachers who are looking for some ideas for lessons including the smart boards? does anyone have any particular links they find useful? or lessons that would be appropriate for 5-8 graders? these teachers are chomping at the bit and are afraid they won't use the boards to their capabilities...thanks!!!

Lonny Harper's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Ameerah, what type of podcasts do you regularly post? Could you share a link with those?

Hilaree Bowers's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

The more I read and learn about technology in the classroom, the more I agree with you that it should be used cross-curricularly. When computers are used for research projects or English communication projects, or even educational games, students can see a greater use for computers. If these activities are introduced and monitored at school, the students will get the help they need to make the most of the technology to which they have access. Unlike you, I do not consider myself pretty good at technology! I will need to learn from my technologically-inclined students for sure!

Hilaree Bowers's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

That is really neat that you have used technology to make your curriculum come alive to the students. I did not know that you can take tours of museums online! Thanks for sharing.

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