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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
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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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Judy's picture
Judy
middle school math teacher

I enjoyed this article and agree, technology influences many different areas of our society including schools. However, the education system has not recognized and utilized the full potential of integrating technology in the classroom.

Mike Byster's picture

As an educator, I believe it is very important to teach material that is important for the future of the students. When inventing my math and memory system Brainetics (http://www.brainetics.com), I wanted to focus on new subjects and innovative methods to teach. By teaching for the 21st century, students will be more prepared in the future. It seems like so many aspects of today's society centers around the digital environment and teaching should be altered to adapt.

Great article,

Mike Byster
http://www.mikebyster.com
Inventor of Brainetics, Educator, Author of Genius, Mathematician

Mike Byster's picture

As an educator, I believe it is very important to teach material that is important for the future of the students. When inventing my math and memory system Brainetics (http://www.brainetics.com), I wanted to focus on new subjects and innovative methods to teach. By teaching for the 21st century, students will be more prepared in the future. It seems like so many aspects of today's society centers around the digital environment and teaching should be altered to adapt.

Great article,

Mike Byster
http://www.mikebyster.com
Inventor of Brainetics, Educator, Author of Genius, Mathematician

adrienne a.'s picture

Couldn't agree more, Mike. Today's students are more tech-inclinded than their teachers. We need to reach them where they are, which is online. Tech integration is crucial, especially with the demands and expectation from Common Core. Digital curriculum will simply be the norm, but it must be affordable and the teachers who use it must be trained properly. A proper professional development program can make all the difference in the world!

Ben Pesqueda's picture
Ben Pesqueda
Teacher/ Austin Texas

We can either step up to the new technology and integrate it into instruction, or be left behind in an increasingly global environment. The day may come when technology replaces classroom instruction, but I am confident that educators are a necessary facilitator inherent to student achievement.

Brandon's picture
Brandon
Secondary Education teacher and persuing Master in Special Education

I agree with this article, however in order for public schools to integrate technology into the classroom at a level that is sufficient compared to other world leaders we need monetary priority inside our government entities.

ashatto's picture

Technology in teaching and the project approach that the article mentions can not work effictively without each other. Technology used as word processing machines only is not a large jump for typewriters. Only when tech is used in the discovery and maturation of ideas does it become powerful within the classroom setting.

Brandy Clark's picture

Integrating technology into the classroom is a very worthwhile goal. Schools need access to funds to be able to provide technology to every classroom. Proper training on how to use this technology is also needed.

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.

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