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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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Emily's picture

[quote]After watching the video and reading the articles I realized that if we as educators do not include technology in our lessons we do our students and our self's (teachers) a big disservice. This is because when we incorporate technology in our lessons our students become active participants of the lesson, stay on task which reduces behavioral problems and connect to the real world experiences. We as teachers become coaches and facilitators.[/quote]

I definitely consider the non-usage of technology as a disservice also. Nowadays students have so much technology in their lives already and they know how to function with it. I think it's important to think about ways to engage the students, and technology is one of those ways.

DLevine's picture

I agree with your article. Just look at how interactive white boards are revolutionizing the classrooms of today. But as much as technology can do for us, there never seems to be as much hands-on teacher training to make tech integration reach the same level.

T Heeren's picture
T Heeren
high school science teacher at a tech school

The portion of this article that I am most drawn to is, "When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach." Obviously, we want to mold our students into independent learners and technology can definatley aid in this venture.
The problem that I have run into when using our system is that the administration blocks so many of the sites. It's a challenge to work around.

l spayd's picture
l spayd
science teacher from Kelleys Island School

Integrating technology into the curriculum is a no-brainer. It should not be used as a replacement for hands-on experiments unless they are too costly or dangerous. Teachers must do their homework before turning kids over to look for sites that no longer exist or are just not very good. Unfortunately, sometimes when you find useful videos or sites, they are blocked by the administrator's filter. When this happens, insist on getting the site "unblocked", even if it's only temporary.

Dan Zhou's picture

I think as to China , it is very crucial for English teaching to integrate technology into curriculum as the advancement of technology.Integration technology can also make teaching more interactive and engaging , from which, students could conveniently get scaffold and support from their teacher and fellow classmates. However, there will be some barriers in terms of implementation. How to alleviate this issue is the core recently. I have one position paper here:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-ZPw77ridOiCYytkuSvUV0QCV2KSNWpSb_s5...

JessJansen's picture

Technology is integrated into our daily lives, and it's unfortunate we don't have a specific class designed to teach students how to navigate technology, and more specifically the internet. The internet can be a great source of knowledge if used correctly, and since students will navigate the internet at some point its better to teach them the correct way to use it. Not only is technology all around us growing up, but once students graduate and look for jobs recruiters will look for those who can use technology. Technology in the workplace is very common, and it's unfortunate school districts don't require their teachers to integrate into their curriculum. Overall I hope that one day we will see a class specifically designed to educating students about technology, and showing them how it can be beneficial to learn.

A link to my position paper:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IJa-pZz_7dKU1kVhGWcrXL3wAMCc7NeEVaQe...

Madeleine Cox's picture
Madeleine Cox
International Educator

This is a persuasive blog post that has generated a strongly supportive comment thread reaching back several years. It seems the conversation is as relevant (if not more) in 2012.

Having enjoyed the video, I was slightly perplexed by your point that a benefit of integrating technology into the curriculum would provide students "with a realistic snapshot of what a modern office looks like." This appeared a rather narrow interpretation that contrasted with other examples you offered, in addition to the extraordinary range of technology uses at Harrison Central High School.

However, I especially agree with your statement, "Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals." Perhaps in the future and at this optimum level, discussion focusing solely on technology will longer exist.

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!

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