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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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Samantha's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a student teacher in Australia and am trying to finalise an assignment which is asking for evidence on the impact of ICT use particularly in the Health and PE area - does any one have any anecdotes or links to research that I can use... please.


Greg Schwanke 's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that integrating SMART boards into any classroom can bring a whole new level of learning to our students. I am a 7th grade English teacher in Omaha, Nebraska. I am frustrated with the technology that the English department at my school has. Our Math department has SMART boards and I, as well as other English teachers, would like to follow the Math department and get some SMART boards. However, we need to find some research about the benefits of SMART boards in an English classroom. I was wondering if you could help me with my quest. Any direction will help.


Kim Rourke's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

My first suggestion is to have someone who has a Smart board in your school show you the ropes. Hopefully, they will be willing to show you samples of some of the lessons appropriate for your English dept. There are lessons already made and submitted by other teachers that are often perfect for your lessons so you don't have to feel overwhelmed at first. Active participation by your students make Smart Boards as great for you as for your Math coworkers. You can do grammar work, writing process work, and vocabulary generating a lot more enthusiasm than with a chalkboard. I would also recommend looking into United Streaming video streaming. There are also many educational benefits to this, and you can pause the "show" and write directly on the Smart Board to emphasize some aspect of the show.

As you can tell, I LOVE my Smart Board and feel I have only begun to scrape the surface of its potential. I am a 4th grade teacher in Westland, MI and use it for every subject. I used to teach high school English/Spanish and I am sure a Smart Board would be a benefit to your curriculum. Good Luck!

Mary Wilkinson, Mays, Indiana's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

The elementary school where I taught last year had two smartboards. They were great. The sixth grade teacher used one every single day, all day, in every subject. I was amazed and was just learning to use it myself. I was transfered this year to a small rural school with no smartboard and no money to buy one. Does anyone know where I can apply for a grant to get one of these fabulous tools?

Caroline LaMagna's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I don't have any articles or research to link to for you, but I can tell you that for the past 3 years, I taught 8th grade English. I had regular classes and inclusion classes. I maintained my own website, Moodle site, used a school blog, and used technology in my classroom regularly. I had the Smartboard in my classroom about once a week. I also used the school laptops - I could not access the computer lab because the math classes had dominion over it...but I had 5 desktops in my room that I sometimes used for group work. I also had access to an LCD projector pretty much whenever I needed it. My students responded very, very well to the use of technology - some of them would go on my website at home of their own accord. This year, I started a new position as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for two of the elementary schools in my district, so I don't know what the state test scores were for my students last year. However, the year before last, my kids had the highest scores in my building for 8th grade English and their scores were even higher than the district average. If I am remembering the numbers correctly, my school's average was 71%, the district average was 76% and my kids were at 81.5%. I really feel that the use of technology in my classroom is what gave my kids the edge. They really worked hard for me because they enjoyed what they were doing. I am so proud of them!

Robie, Townsville, Australia's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

The Edutopia staff raised the notion of ICT Integration needing to be about "active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts".We are grouping those into the single phrase "Contemporary Learning". I found it fascinating that the discussion quickly turned to electronic whiteboards (Smartboards). Schools in our Diocese continue to invest hevily in these devices. How do people feel these rate when it comes to Contemporary learning? I would have thought a tool like a wiki or discussion board, or blog would be a far more powerful tool (and far less expensive)... EWBs are very teacher centric aren't they? Do they really do much to change traditional pedagogy?

Andrew Pass's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I think that Google Earth is one phenomenal resource that can be used in many English/language arts courses when studying novels that are set in specific places.

Bonnie Chronister's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

When you really stop and think about it, smartboards are a bit teacher centric. They help teachers organize and deliver their lessons and they increase teacher efficiency. However, better prepared teachers help students to be better learners. It would seem that the trend today is more student centric. Everyone seems concerned about the needs of students, which is very important, but teachers needs also need to be considered. I think both teachers and students need the equipment and the training to keep pace with world wide technology. That is where the future lies. Empower teachers so that they can empower their students.

Leah's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I would love to use more technology in my classroom, but our district is very low on fundings. I only have two computers in my classroom. When I student taught we had a smartboard in the classroom and it made such an impact on the students. I taught the same lesson when I student taught and from my regular class in Social Studies about the colonial times, what a difference the lessons were by not having the Smartboard. The class that had the Smartboard was so much more interested in the activity, by being able to see the colonial times on a big screen. It was very difficult to keep my other class interested by not being able to quite visualize the colonial times. I wish I still had my smartboard. :(

Kelly Stout's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Growing up in an increasing technological world has only made me see how beneificial it is. Growing up in school all we had were computers and the internet.

After student teaching and getting to use SMARTboards I was shocked by how much more I even paid attention to what was being taught because it was something interesting and that engaged me. My students couldn't wait to get to interact with my lesson even if it was just coming up and underlining a word.

Also in one of my undergraduate classes we had to use technology of the 21st century to teach whatever we wanted. We used an ipod for musics of the world, a camara; to illustrate a story, and even UTube to show that there is some good things you can watch on there!

Integrating technology into the curriculum is a great way to get students engaged and interested in learning. Students are constantly on the internet or listening to their ipod or even on facebook or myspace. You can turn all of these things into something useful and even learn from it as well.

It seems the majority rules that SMARTboards are the way to go... they are amazing and I hope that when I get into a school that I am lucky enough to have one because they do wonders and I think can really help students of all different learners become more knowledgable and interested in learning.

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