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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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Tammy's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am also working on my Master's degree in Integrating Technology in the Classroom. I am excited about the program. I think technology is very important in the classroom. Schools will be left behind if technology is not utilized. Our school is beginning to purchase more technological tools to be used in the classroom. I know as a teacher that I must learn as much as I can so my students will receive the best instruction.

Teresa's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that computers should be utilized in the classroom. As educators we should feel it necessry to incorporate technology when teaching. If used effectively, computers can be a great tool. There are many websites students can use to enhance learning. My students love computer time.

john simms's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

My concern is - is that computer integration across the curriculum is often seen as a replacement for computer classes. This is wrong. Students must still take computer classes on how to use the technology and learn all the basics, before they will be able to integrate across the curriculm properly. You need a qualified, certified computer teacher to give the instruction in basics so that teaching them how use software, etc is not dumped on all teachers. Also putting Smartboards in classrooms are great teacher tools and to a degree motivators for students, but this is NOT a proper replacement for computer classes and skills by a trained computer teacher. Schools are installing Smartboards to show "what they are teaching kids about computers" and this is a misnomer

JoAnne, Dacula, Georgia's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I felt so strongly about this that I decided to do my Master's degree in this topic area. The idea that technology in the classroom can help students and teachers learn more is very much an idea that is worth fighting for. Many schools do not have the funds, but there are businesses that can fund a computer or two. Many businesses upgrade their technology, get their castoffs for your schools. I had a business in Florida do just that, they donated their older computers to my school, we had them reconfigured for our needs at a fraction of the cost of new technology. Even old technology is better than no technology for classroom use.

Beth's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I feel that technology opens doors and windows for myself as an educator and to my students. One of my goals this year in my classroom is to implement further technology. It is a great tool that we should all take advantage of. It helps spark a greater interest in our student's lives and love of learning.

Katie's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that technology can be an integral part of learning. I will be getting a Smart Board in my room this year and I can't wait until I learn what it can do. My school just received a new computer lab this past year. The kids love it! However, it is not compatible with the computers in the classroom, which makes it hard to do work.

Katie's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Integrating technology can be a vital part to student learning. Smart boards provide a great technological piece into the classroom. Having students utilize the Smart Board will especially benefit the kinesthetic learners. Having computers in the classroom can also benefit the students. Having educational websites, games, or activities will enhance learning for many students. Many of my students last year played on the computer at home. It would be valuable to have them learn and play at the same time. I also took my students into the computer lab each week. They loved their time there!

Laurie D's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you. We have a lot of technology at my school and most teachers take advantage of it. The county decided to require us to take pre & post test every nine week period and the kids just flopped on the test. They did not take them serious at all.

Rebecca's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that the kids always love computer time but finding the time to plan effective use is a challenge. If technology is used well it requires a lot of advanced planning (whether this be creation or location of valuable resources/ tools or reservation of labs) and this is where the obstacle often lies.

I also agree that we need a class to teach the kids how to use the tools before we are expected to incorporate them. Otherwise you have to teach them both how to use the tool as well as the content.

Alfred Low's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Katie,

The Smartboard is a great teach and learning tool. Can you share with us how is your lesson plan is like?


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