Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many

There's a place for tech in every classroom.

There's a place for tech in every classroom.

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.

Student with digital camera, teacher looks on

VIDEO: An Introduction to Technology Integration

Running Time: 5 min.

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.

This article originally published on 3/16/2008

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Secondary Education Mathematics Major

Human

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I think that we are all aware of the benefits to the field of education that technology can usher in, and the details that this article provides is simply astounding. However, all of these points become mute if the students begin to abuse the privilege. This is best summed up in two short words used in the first paragraph, "Properly used,..." The hardest part of this technological integration to help modernize the classroom is going to be conveying the importance of responsibility to the students. There are only so many things that teachers can do themselves to help integrate the classroom, but sooner or later we are going to have to impart trust upon the students.

College Student, Mathematics/Secondary Education Major

What I like most about this

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What I like most about this article is how it says, "When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach." By integrating technology into the classroom, this gives students the chance to interact with their classmates and teachers, also. I feel that by using the technology we have nowadays, students can become more confident in their work. This is where being a teacher gives you the role of advisor, coach, etc...So involving the students in these type of things, you are also gaining more knowledge, along with them. Classes will be more interesting and involved with the added technology, and in turn, I feel that students will have a more willingness to learn.

Secondary Physical Education student

Technology is becoming more

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Technology is becoming more and more a part of classrooms across the country. Many schools now assign laptops and iPads for the students to complete all their work on and be more interactive educationally with one another and the teachers. This article shows the major role technology has on the student and how the educator is helping them to prepare for the real world environment as we become or technology-dependent as a nation.

Reasons for technology in an English classroom (EDUC 200)

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This article provided a really good overview of the introduction of new technology into the learning and teaching process. As a future English teacher, part of me is partial to the idea of traditional learning with simply students, a teacher, a book, and a discussion. At the same time, though, students' home lives are becoming more and more high tech, and with shortening attention spans and wilder imaginations, they might require more innovative methods. For example, watching a movie version of a novel or short story after reading it might appeal to those who are more visual learners. As a teacher, I will have to use whatever methods that work best for my students while still trying to remain faithful to my personal philosophy of education.

One point that the article brought up that I really liked was: "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." Before reading this piece, I had only thought that technology was important in the classroom because of the aforementioned reason. I didn't realize that technology also prepares students for an advancing society and workplace. Also, regarding the students' future, using new pieces of technology might also introduce someone to an undiscovered interest or talent or even career path.

If I can help a student see the subject in a new light, then I have done my job.

I am a college student, and

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I am a college student, and throughout my years of education I can relate to how technology can help in classrooms. As the years pass in education, electronics are used more than hard copies; most professors find that electronics are more reliable. It gives students more responsibility as well as helping them become more active. Technology has provided research and reliable information to support papers, projects, or any assignments in the classroom. Not only does technology help students, it also helps the parents. Using technology in the classroom allows the parents to have a better understanding of what their child is learning. Most parents find that keeping up with technology in the classroom is helpful in and out of school settings. With technology, students are able to learn more and expand their minds to achieve to a higher level.

Secondary-Special Education Teacher

Classroom integration with technology

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The other day, I was invited to observe an iPad classroom. Students were assigned an iPad and they literally used it all day in the same classroom. All content was delivered to each student via downloads. Those with special needs still downloaded a different file but the other students didn't notice because they were working independently.

As in many schools, students rotate classrooms every hour. Yet, the students I observed only rotated for the arts and physical education blocks. The rest of the content was delivered by iPad in their own room.

The key to success was in maintaining the routine. Specific routines were given for opening files, saving files, putting the iPad away, and talking with others. If a routine was violated, the student who violated the routine couldn't work on the iPad but was destined to a paper worksheet. Others who followed the routine could work on exciting problem solving games for a few minutes as their rewards for following the instruction.

I never thought I'd see a paperless classroom, but I did. Amazing and insightful, it was!

Elementary ICT Teacher at International School of Myanmar

CoETaIL Online Cohort 2012

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Technology integration is certainly a buzz word that educators use, but perhaps without reflecting on what it is or how, or what the best practices are.

As Ashley Smith, commented previously "the point of view of a student", the technology that teachers are using in the classroom at times becomes a distraction rather than enhancing learning. Students can easily play games or be on their Facebook account, while quickly and easily hiding it from the teacher. I think this happens frequently and is common. I also think that teachers are the same. Perhaps having designated social networking breaks during the day for both students and teachers would be a good way to acknowledge that technology is important to all of use in many parts of our lives. I believe we need to treat our students as we would like to be treated.

The four components of effective technology integration are said here to be "active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts". I think that many time the group work or collaborative elements are lacking in the classroom. Developing processes and routines for feedback are many times not given attention, and for me especially connecting tot he real-world experts, is difficult.

On my journey to become a more effective teacher infusing technology in my classroom, I'm happy to be reflecting and analyzing the areas I need to strengthen and develop. This article defines these four elements nicely, a great addition to my learning.

from the point of view of a primary teacher

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Hi Ashley, thanks for your comments. I was in the same boat when I was in teacher's college. My school asked all of us to buy the identical laptops so we could use them in our learning for the year that we were there. While it helped us create PowerPoints and typed up documents, the computers were mostly used for figuring out Facebook (I was in teacher's college the year it became really big) and for playing online chess. The computers were definitely more of a distraction than an aide to learning. But that was also before everything became so collaborative and open. It feels like in the last 3 years, technology has really allowed people to create and work on the same document in real time from different places in the world (like Google Docs). Blogs are so common now, and thinking is being shared like never before. I even think that facebook, while such a huge distraction, can be a big benefit as it's a great tool for communication and photo and idea sharing.

Furthermore, if you didn't have a computer sitting infront of you, would that guarantee that you'll be paying attention? I dunno. I used to doodle a lot. Nothing good ever came out of that. At least if you're being distracted by facebook, you're further developing friendships every time you message someone or post on their wall.

Ref: Dr. Thornburg's The Emergence of Education 2011 video

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After viewing a Walden University course video from Laureate Education, Inc., The Emergence of Education (2011), Dr. David Thornburg asserts that "no matter how powerful technology is, if a person does not have the mindset to use it effectively, the only thing that changes is power consumption." After reading the above article, I would like to encourage educators to develop the mindset of integrating technology in the classroom simply because of its benefits to both teachers and students. I understand it could be overwhelming because of the many tools and programs available, but start with something and build from there. Once you feel confident with one thing, move on to another. As stated in the above article--"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" (Edutopia staff).

interview inquiry

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Hello, there:

I’m Hsu-Wan Chen from Taiwan, a graduate school student at National Taiwan Normal University. Currently I’m writing my master thesis which is entitled Applying Social Networking Sites to Teaching and Learning: from Teachers’ Perspective. Right now I’m looking for school teachers to be interviewed with their experiences of using social networking sites for educational purpose. If it is so, I would like to have a skype interview with you. Surely I will send you the interview protocol in advance and the interview will take about 20 minutes. Please feel free to contact me at: chenshuwan@gmail.com. I really appreciate your help!

Regards,
Hsu-Wan Chen

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