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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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John Stafford's picture
John Stafford
Student Majoring in Education of Speech and Theatre

Technology continues to rapidly evolve around us. I believe that this makes it a very exciting time to be a teacher. There are so many different resources that technology provides access to. This access helps give students far more information then a mere textbook could provide, and makes it even easier for these students to retrieve their information.

The best part about all this?

Students like technology. They live in a world where technology has been around them since birth. They have grown up with and have seen its evolution. They embrace it everyday through the use of their smartphones, computers, etc.

When you bring technology into the classroom you create a more interested student.

Jeff's picture

An interesting collection of thoughts from 2008. So, how are we doing in the 2012 classroom?

As an older student taking a few Mathematics and Education courses, I find that technology via the internet provides an unbelievable amount of leverage for learning. Thirty years ago I found math somewhat difficult to digest.....the primary sources of knowledge were the teaching assistant and the book. Today, I just type in the math concept and there are 40 or more internet sites that will help me understand differentiation using the chain rule or the best way to solve optimization problems, detailed solutions included. If only this was the case years ago what would I be doing today?

So, back to my original question regarding the classroom. My guess, from strictly personal observations, is...not so good. My fellow (and much younger) mathematics classmates are surprised when I tell them about this site or that site that explains various math concepts that we all struggle to understand and apply. They know how to find places to dine, sports scores and the least expensive price on the hottest new fashion but don't seem interested in using this technology as a learning tool. As teachers and mentors, we need to make an honest effort to redirect some, but not all, of our students interest in technology toward academic applications.

Melissa K.'s picture

As a parent of two children just entering their school career, I see daily the importance of technology in the classroom. From the ease of communicating with their teachers via e-mail to quickly accessing a plethora of information online about a particular topic they have learned about in class, technology is imperative in today's classroom.

Our children now have instant access which allows them to obtain and retain even more information than before. By the age of 4, when my son wouldn't know something he would say "let's Google that". Translation: I want to learn more.

When technology is used properly in the classroom not only does it facilitate better and more engaged learning but there is the aspect of being "green". Why print thousands of books and worksheets when it can all be done electronically?

In my opinion, we as educators, must stay ahead of the curve as we use technology in our classrooms. Of course, there is always that little issue of funding....there never seems to be enough, does there?

Koren Wilson's picture
Koren Wilson
Preschool Teacher pursuing a Masters in Elementary Education

Today, children are being raised in a technology world at home and in school. As a teacher of 3, 4, and 5 year olds, and a parent of a first grader, even at an early age technology can play a significant role in a child's learning experience. Using technology in the classroom helps collaborate a combination of different learning styles and interactions between peers and students, and ultimately can maximize a child's knowledge and understanding of the content area being taught. In addition, technology assists to stimulate interest and sustain engagement of students throughout a lesson.

To me, frustration occurs because funding in school districts is not always available (especially in the small rural communities) for the necessary technology needed in the classrooms. Funding sources should be increased to help optimize the technology available for students so that ideally all students have an equal opportunity, whether living in a small, large, rich, or poor community, to receive the benefits technology in the classroom provides.

amandabrown's picture
Pursuing Elementary Education degree and certification

I believe this will be the biggest change we see in the future as far as education and classroom learning goes. It is important that schools and educators keep up with the ever changing technology in order to keep up with our students. Most parents will tell you now that their kids can navigate computers and other technology a lot more easily than themselves. That is why it is even more important that educators can be knowledgeable on technology to consistently challenge and teach students new and exciting things. The only problem faced now is most low income schools are unable to provide these new technologies to the classrooms. I have some nieces in Omaha, NE and once they hit the eighth grade they each receive a Mac book and are able to use them in classrooms to complete assignments and communicate with teachers outside of class and they then take them home to do homework and study. It creates a great excitement for them to learn and participate.

Anna Plunkett's picture

The ability to incorporate technology in the classroom is becoming more and more important, because not only does it open the doors for students to learn an unlimited amount of knowledge, but it also helps prepare them for higher education and for jobs in their future.
I went to a high school that had it's heart in the right place but did not have he funding to incorporate anything but the most remedial technology into our school, and it made my transition into college more difficult, because I felt very far behind the other students.
And in a world where technology is ever changing, it's extremely important that the next generation have the knowledge and ability to continue moving forward.

Cindy Heslep's picture

Integrating technology in schools and curriculum will be beneficial for the students. It will keep the students engaged in the classroom and be able to experience opportunities that were not available previously. Since the students will be more engaged and interested in the classroom, their test scores and knowledge will increase. It will benefit the students with the always changing technological world that we live in as well.

McKenzieMorrow's picture
History and Secondary Education Major at Drury

Technology can bring out so many good things if used properly both in the workplace and the school system. Communication is faster and more efficient. People with unique and innovative ideas about teaching techniques and so on, can now share these things so much faster than before. Researching has leaped bounds in the sense that students/people are able to access information easily that would once have never been accessible at all. I just think that if everyone embraced technology, we would be able to do so many great things especially in education. Learning techniques and classroom ideas are always in need for improvement and Technology can really help bring about some new and interesting thoughts and plans

Stacey Butler's picture

Technology in the classroom and broadening students understanding of it is a must in today society. The real world that students will eventually enter is flooded with technology and they must be able to adapt. There are many articles that discuss how technology is motivating and can build self-esteem in students. Instead of the students being the recipients of materials they are able to play an active role which in the end engages the learning process. This also as stated in the article allows teachers to work with many different learning styles. Not ever child is able to take in information the same way and with technology we can aim to demonstrate one assignment in many different ways.

Sarah Smith's picture

The need to incorporate modern advancements into the education of new generations is increasingly important. In order to prepare students to meet the technological challenges that will face them in the workforce, educators must provide them with the necessary skills involving such advancements as early as possible. Integrating technology into regular curriculum is a key step in the modern education process. The advancements that continue to be made in this field are opening up possibilities for educating all students in the most effective ways possible and meeting each individual's unique needs.

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