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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 Staff
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

Comments (379)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Alfred Low's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Agree...agree. Of course I want to agree with you and the rest in this discussion forum. "When used effective..." may I know what do you mean by that? Are you implying that technology:

1. is used to motivate learning which was not previously there.
2. is used to solve learning problems that non-technological methods cannot.
3. is used because there is a push for technology mediated instruction/teaching
4. learners want that.
5. the teacher feels compelled to use because his/her other colleagues are doing that
6. because needs assessment tell you that learners and other stakeholders are ready for technology integration.

What are the affordances of technology in technology integration in your case? Aren't taking risks and completing a project also happens in non-technological learning settings?

I am not against technology integration; I am for it. But I hope to understand what is all this glitz or hoopla and hype is about.

How do you evaluate whether learning goals and objectives have been achieved in ways more superior that non-technology integration?

Thanks

Alfred Low's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

"Today's students are very skilled in the latest and greatest form of technology. Whether it be the computer, digital cameras, cell phones or Ipods."

Thanks, but whose students, may I ask?

"Effective technology integration has occurred when technology is routine and supports curricular goals"

Thanks but technology is routine to who?

Alfred Low's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

"I do not believe that the question should be "should we integrate technology into the classroom" but "what are some methods we can use in the classroom".

I buy your argument Cindy. "What are some methods we can use in the classroom" imply careful thought about how and where to situate technology in the design of learning. Doing this we can say that one is taking a positive step forward in being "pedagogically informed".

Google Kolis and Dunlap (2004)'s K3P3 model of pedagogical knowledge base - student knowledge base, content knowledge base and learning knowledge base. The interesting aspect of the model lies at the intersection of those knowledge bases. I am particularly interested in pedagogical content.

I believe that it is a teachers' pedagogical content that technology needs to mediate. But doing that will make demands on the teachers knowledge of the technologies at his/her disposal as well. And thus we have technological pedagogical content knowledge - pioneered by Dr Mishra and Kohler (2006).

Okay I know this is getting way too academic but I really hope someone will help me understand if I am on the right track?

Ms. Kaz M. Wright's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Integration of technology in the classroom is crucial in this day and age. Utilizing technology is one way in which we can meet the needs of the diverse populations we serve. Educators must move away from thinking that technology is one more component that we have to "fit" in to our daily instruction instead we should embrace it as something that can enhance what it is we already do. Additionally, schools ought to provide accessto equipment as well as ongoing training and support for both teachers and teachers alike if technology is to be intergrated into the curriculum. Many teachers don't know how or where to begin, therefore they won't make the effort to try and use it at all. It can be very intimidating when you first start out. Technology is an awesome tool to make both teaching and learning exciting.

Sarah Stere's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that it is very important that technology is integrated into the classroom and our curricula. Since we are teaching the future of America and technology is the wave of the future, we need to help prepare students by using technology to teach them. Technology is constantly changing and providing new opportunities for us to learn. I also agree that it should not be viewed as one more thing added to our plates, but as another strategy we can utilize to teach the curriculum we are given.

I think it is important for schools to be able to provide teachers with technology, but with continual budget cuts, it makes it very difficult to purchase it. I take advantage of the technology my school has as much as I can but it is challenging when we do not have enough and it needs to be shared among many staff members. I think training is also valuable because it is more likely that teachers will use it if they see demonstrations and realize it is not as scary as it looks. If a few brave and enthusiastic people jump in with both feet, they can share with others and make technology integration contagious!

Sue's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I find technology integration to be refreshing as a teacher. It has rekindled my fire for teaching. With so much emphasis on standardized testing which consumes most of our school year, I find education away from the paper and pencil refreshing. My students seem to wake up from the test prep monotony and join me in the education process. My classroom was interviewed by the local paper about some of the tools we are using to bring our classrooms into the 21st century. One of the writer's observations was how much I seemed to enjoy what I was teaching and how much that encouraged my class to interact with me. I teach because I like to learn. Learning is fun when technology is used.

Ashley L.'s picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I totally agree that technology is a great way to not only make learning more fun, but teaching too! Getting a new technological resource is both exciting and motivational for me as an educator. It is fun to teach the same material in different ways. Pus, the students all learn differently. By using technology, all learning styles can be tapped into. Technology is definitely the wave of the future, and if we, as teachers, want to be active in our studens' learning, we better jump on board.
There are also negatives when it comes to technology. For one, the simple fear of the unknown and something new. Many teachers are not sure about taking chances with some piece of equipment that we are told cost the school system thousands of dollars. This is where proper training and experimentation come into play. In addition, technology is great when it works properly. We have all been doing a lesson that required a piece of computer equipment and at the point where you really, really need it, it won't work! Nothing is more frustrating!
Overall, technology is a great tool for teaching. The possibilities are endless, and the children are captivated by it just as much as we, the teachers, are!

Brandon S.'s picture
Anonymous (not verified)

At my school we were fortunate enough to have many different technology resources which made class an exciting place. But like a previous post suggested technology can become a hinderance as well. Most teachers at my school were not afraid to use the technologies but, our school decided to use technology to implement more testing. Three times a year we had to rearrange schedules and have our students take a test to see where they lie in grade level standards. The kids never took it serious and didn't want to be there making all of the dat essentially useless. My take is that using technology for for educational purposes is great but more technology for more testing is not what I want to see happen.

Kenisha Campbell's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I believe that technology should be integrated into the classroom. Technology is the going to be the future and as teachers; as well as our students need to be ready for this evolution. Using technology in the curriculum makes more exciting for teaching. Students are more motivated to learn. One of my goals is to integrate technology into my classroom this upcoming school year. Like many other teachers, I am scared and inexperience when it comes to technology. However, I am making effort in learning how to use different technology.As teachers, we can't use the excuse I don't know much about technology or I am scared to try it. It's not about us, but the students. It's about going outside the box, giving students the best and preparing them to be successful in society.

cindyt's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that to prepare our students for their future, we must integrate technology whenever possible. It is not just teaching them how to use technology but using it to teach them other content. My students are amazed when I use an ELMO and LCD projector to model my writing. They are amazed at the fact that they can see my hand writing and read each word as I write it. They are completely focused on what I am doing. Using PowerPoints to teach lessons, or to type student responses into a program - the children love it! Virtual field trips are also exciting and in times of trips being so expensive, these are a wonderful addition to the curriculum. Don't be scared about using technology, yes things may go wrong at times, just make sure you have a back up plan.

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