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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

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Viviane's picture
Viviane
IB Teacher presently in Tokyo, Japan

Thank you for the great introductory article on integrating technology into our schools. You seem to have made it clear that technology is not a subject, rather it is a tool that helps us enhances student learning.
The comment made that an added benefit for technology in project based learning is less behavior problems. I wonder if this is due to the technology or to the engagement of the task- maybe both.

Chie Mizukoshi's picture

At the last part of VIDEO: Harrison Central High School: A Commitment to High Tech, a teacher's comment on the technologically integrated curriculum stays at my heart. 'Learning is something personal, which goes for a life-long discovering activity.' 'Every time they achieve something for whatsoever reasons or aims through the project using technological tools, their eyes get sparkled.'
I think this is the core of being educated. Students need to get motivated or excited to know things in the world autonomously. In this sense, the curriculum, into which technology integrated seems to serve for the infrastructure for students' urge to learn or do problem-based learning.

I very much agree with the points made in this blog, one of which technology is inseparate of our daily life and it has been part of our life. I think this could be the standard itself. However I am not sure if the more integration of technology into a curriculum could help to reduce 'the behavioral problems in the classroom' since the more students are engaged in their projects, the more friction there would be among their team or group members for the project, which usually tends to be worked together. This friction could refer to the real business world scenario, where there are always factions.

Travis Ion's picture

The content of this article, for the most of it, is nothing new and as the title suggests, it is a brief exposition on why we should integrate technology in the classroom.
I found you identification of the four key components of learning interesting and accurate. However I was not impressed with what a "modern office looks like" . This is a big call trying to define what a modern office looks like and I feel you are truly limiting your perspective.
Personally, I also think you should not regard tech tools as assisting with behavioural classrooms in the classroom. Regardless of the tools students are using, the behaviour issues and concerns are still there, but just not in plain sight.
Thank you for sharing the video of Harrison Central High School - it was fascinating to see the exciting learning going on there almost 10 years ago!

Grace Yamato's picture

I really enjoyed watching the video. It helped me more than the article to understand at what level technology integration was occurring. I would love to see an updated video of this school now since this was published four years ago. I think it is hard to provide professional development to teachers to get them to be able to integrate technology so pervasively throughout the entire school the way that is was shown here. This is definitely a video worth sharing in our faculty meetings when we talk about integrating technology.

Dimitris Nikolopoulos's picture
Dimitris Nikolopoulos
phD Candidate in University of Ioannina

I really enjoyed reading this post. Technology can play a crucial role in teaching, that's why I am trying to involve it as much as I can while educating my son in a funnier way. As technology evolves even as we speak, I hope that we will see a lot of great things in the future.

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.

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