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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

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.

VIDEO: An Introduction to Technology Integration

Running Time: 5 min.

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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Maria Hall's picture

Now a day's many kinds of technology was developed. Students are teaching and learning education with technology like computer then they will knowledgeable of all kinds. Maximum countries are including technology in school program but so few countries are not included that. I request for that countries please do this program because its future of student.
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Emily's picture

In a classroom full of technology, it will definitely change the dynamics of teaching. For example, I currently use the iPad within my classroom when I am teaching. I am able to walk freely around the classroom while filling in notes via the iPad. I can have students participate by allowing them to use my iPad to complete "Check for Understanding" problems. I can interact with my classroom and not be tied to the front of the classroom. I think the role of a teacher teaching in the classroom will change. For example, the use of the word "coach" definitely brings forth a new meaning. I also think the role of facilitator is also true because as I am able to float freely around the classroom, I can be among a group of students or a pair of students who are cooperatively working together. I am able to give guiding questions to help them in the learning process.

Being willing to know how to effectively use the technology is key. Help out colleagues if they don't understand... show them something new too! I feel like I am learning something new every day with technology in my classroom!

C. Johnson's picture
C. Johnson
Grade 5 teacher

As you noted, technology pervades our everyday lives and so we must equip our students with the tools that are necessary to become productive citizens in a technological age. We, as educators, must evaluate our use of technology to move beyond using technology for its novelty, and look for its added value in the classroom. There are tools available that are transforming teaching and learning. You mentioned, "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." I fully agree with that. Any teacher who has ever used the PhET simulations from the University of Colorado at Boulder would agree with this as well. Simulations such as these are providing a new layer of understanding and enrichment for students in the science classroom.

Thanks for your post.

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.

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