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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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Sharon Spiller's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Our 2nd/3rd grade wing received Smartboards for half of our teachers in 2007. We are due to get them this year. I think they are wonderful! We shared one before 2006 with the whole second grade. The students are excited and pay attention. We also received LCD's projectors wired to our internet. I use this a lot. Hopefully we will still be receiving them even with the money crunch. Our technology committee wrote a grant and won!

Becky Asberry's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach at a school where all teachers have a promethean board in the classroom. These boards literally make learning come to life for our children. We are able to create flip-charts for our lessons and include links to online sources. By having a promethean board all my lessons become interactive for the kids. We all know that when the learning is hands-on, the knowledge gained is incredible. We as teachers seem to fight against the lastest technology, such as X-Box, PSP, webkins, etc...and these boards capture their attention. Having a board in my room has increased my technology knowledge.

Shelby Murphy's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that Google Earth is a great tool that should be used in every classroom. Not only for ELA classes, but for Science, Social Studies, and even Math. Students today are the technological future. What amused us as kids no longer is the case. Today's students want lights, flashes, quick moving information. Google Earth holds their interest because it does all of those things and more. Who doesn't want to see their home on the internet?

Kevin's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am currently completing a Masters program in integrating technology in the classroom. I believe the use of technology in today's classrooms/schools is not only benefitial to students/teachers, but essential. Teachers need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in technology so as to teach their students the skills they will need to be prepared for the competitive society they will be entering. I am lucky enough to have a school that has both a computer lab/mobile lap-top lab that I have access to at least 1xweek. I have read several blogs about the effectiveness of Smart Boards in the classroom. This is something new to me, but I am anxious to try one out. With video games continuing to be a major influence on our students, it is important that we engage their learning through the use of resources such as the Smart Board.

Pete's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

HTe students we teach are way ahead of us in the technology we use. THse kids know more about the computers we use, they know more about the new technology of the near future, they know more about how to use it all as well. If we do not keep up, and intergrate technology into our teaching, and into our classrooms, we will lose the students interests rather quickly. If you lose them, then they will not learn. Part of teaching is catching the students attention, so that you can impart some knowledge on them. We need to keep up.
Promethean Boards are a great tool, as long as you know how to use it. the board does no good in a classroom where the teacher is afraid of, or has no idea how to use it. And I mean use it, not jus the basic use, but how to use it to capture students attention. I have seen some great teachers using the boards, talk about managing a class. Some teachers can sit back and watch students run the class because of what they have put together on the Promethean Board.

Amanda Lee, First Grade Teacher, Sallisaw, Oklahoma's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have taught first grade for four years and this year I'm working toward my master's degree.
Last year during a grade level meeting, teachers were introduced to a smart board. Children learn by interacting, therefore, smart boards are a must in our classrooms today. Even first grade students need technology integration. I feel "an expert teacher" must continue to grow and integrate technology daily. Another great use of technology is integrated in most curriculum through websites, which include teacher lesson plans and integration ideas, parent involvement activities, and games for our students. These are free when you adopt the curriculum and are a great way to integrate technology in our classrooms and for those students and parents who have access to the web at home.

Julie Winters's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach second grade in Catoosa County, Georgia. My school is working really hard to integrate technology into each classroom. All of the second grade classrooms have promethean boards. We also all have access to AverMedias, which are high-tech overhead projectors. This is my first year in second grade and my first year with access to all of this technology. It is wonderful! I feel like I am helping to make learning more enjoyable and fun for students. My kids beg me to use the promethean board. I make power points and flip charts to introduce new content and review previously taught standards. Technology allows teachers access to instructional tools they otherwise wouldn't have.

Julie Winters's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you that students are way ahead of us in using technology. I feel like I am constantly striving to keep up with children. I am reading and researching all of the time in order to stay on top of everything, not just technology. I also think promethean boards are great. I have one in my classroom, and I feel that I really am able to teach more effectively. There are so many instructional tools available when teachers have access to technology.

Tracee's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Last year I taught Math and Science in Mitchell County, GA. The math teachers worked on a technology grant for 4 or 5 years through a local university and received money and equipment for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math classrooms. Each room was had a promethean board, mounted overhead projector, CPS remote system, a teacher laptop, and a student laptop cart with 30 dell laptops for the students to use with wireless internet, scanner, digital camera, and a document camera. Teacher had everything in their classroom and the students could research and explore all standards. The technology made teaching so much easier and learning more fun.

Tracee's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Last year I taught Math and Science in Mitchell County, GA. The math teachers worked on a technology grant for 4 or 5 years through a local university and received money and equipment for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math classrooms. Each room was had a promethean board, mounted overhead projector, CPS remote system, a teacher laptop, and a student laptop cart with 30 dell laptops for the students to use with wireless internet, scanner, digital camera, and a document camera. Teacher had everything in their classroom and the students could research and explore all standards. The technology made teaching so much easier and learning more fun.

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