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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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Kyle Templeton's picture

I think the most important reason for integrating technology into the classroom is engagement. Technology is especially effective at reaching those kids who otherwise are not instrinsicly motivated by school. I use our schools' mobile lab all of the time because none of the other teachers ever check it out. I have a variety of educational sites linked to my homepage and while the other teachers are using textbooks and worksheets, my class is doing research, making presentations, experimenting on interactive websites, and playing education games. I have students who voluntarily go to khanacademy.org to learn and practice new math concepts or watch videos about how plate techtonics works. I would like to find more effective ways to increase student interaction using technology. My biggest obstacle is access to up-to-date technology. My schools' network is not up to speed and using computers can sometimes be frustrating for the kids. However, with technology, the world is at their fingertips. My job is to give them the tools to locate and effectively sythesize information.

Katie H.'s picture

This article, especially the video, is great in showing that schools really can integrate technology into the curriculum to better the education of students. Technology is used in almost every aspect of our lives in the real world, so to be able to use technology in every subject-history, science, math, etc.-is important. However, schools must be able to balance the use of technology with learning so that students do not learn to rely completely on technology, but instead learn to use technology as a tool that can enhance their learning experience. I feel that if this balance can be achieved, technology can be very useful in the classroom now and in the future.

Katie H.'s picture

This article, especially the video, is great in showing that schools really can integrate technology into the curriculum to better the education of students. Technology is used in almost every aspect of our lives in the real world, so to be able to use technology in every subject-history, science, math, etc.-is important. However, schools must be able to balance the use of technology with learning so that students do not learn to rely completely on technology, but instead learn to use technology as a tool that can enhance their learning experience. I feel that if this balance can be achieved, technology can be very useful in the classroom now and in the future.

Katie H.'s picture

This article, especially the video, is great in showing that schools really can integrate technology into the curriculum to better the education of students. Technology is used in almost every aspect of our lives in the real world, so to be able to use technology in every subject-history, science, math, etc.-is important. However, schools must be able to balance the use of technology with learning so that students do not learn to rely completely on technology, but instead learn to use technology as a tool that can enhance their learning experience. I feel that if this balance can be achieved, technology can be very useful in the classroom now and in the future.

Bre's picture
Bre
Mother of two exstrodanary kids!

I feel that the use of technology really engages the student and helps motivate students to want to learn throughout their school age career. Technology is hands on and more of a personalized learning experience, these different strategies challenges students to operate technology in the classroom and develops skills for more difficult challenges that they might come across in their present or future lives. As I watched the video I was amazed to see the interaction and how the students controlled and managed their own learning environment through play. Each and every school should offer this type of strategies within their classroom so students can move around and really get a feel for technology with a deeper understanding of the materials at hand. I have two children and would much rather see them interacting with other classmates and really understanding the curriculum within the school system.

Alex Simpson's picture

I have not yet had the privilege of being a parent or of having worked in the teaching field, so I cannot yet relate fully on either of those levels. Being in Grad school, working toward becoming a teacher is an exciting time for me. After watching the video and reading the article, that level of excitement has doubled. It is amazing to see the way things have changed since I was in middle school and high school. I can definitely see how technology has exploded there, just as it has in the rest of society. However, I know that even as exciting as it is to see that the schools in the video were taking advantage of the technology available to enrich the education experience of their students, I'm sure that not all schools have such tools available to them. I am hopeful that future leaders might see the progress and passion technology brings to students in helping them learn, and I hope they will support funding schools in order to acquire new technology

Aleth Rogers's picture
Aleth Rogers
5th grade teacher from Norwood, Missouri

I loved the video with this segment. As many of the kids in my class, I am much more interested in the real life application than what is being said on paper. technology, when implemented in this manner, can have a lasting impact on the students we deal with every day- from both ends of the spectrum. Technology allows students of all levels to participate and most importantly, learn.
Most of the activities shown on the video were exploration based, learning should go far beyond simple comprehension and exploration along with application allows learning to become personal. I hate to be the one to bring this up but.. with common core testing coming just around the corner, teachers need to be looking for ways to make learning real, and I personally think technology is the way to go.

Veronica Smith's picture

Real=life application of technology is very important to all students. I feel that the video that went with the article was a great example of knowledable educators using resources available to them and implementing research based practices. I feel this observation is a big take away for all those that read this article. The article mentioned several times that it is the effective implemention of practices that makes the technology engaging and meaningful to students. I love the idea of all schools having current, up-to-date technologies available to them, but these tools are a waste if the middle men, educators, do not know how to use the technologies properly. There needs to be more emphasis in teacher training programs on how to integrate technology effectively in the classroom. I felt like when I was in school to become a teacher, I was shown the really cool tools, but I was still unsure of how to use it in my class. And as a current teacher, many of my older co-works are unsure of the technology that has been made available and therefore stick to the paper/pencil because it is more comfortable. They are afraid that students will know more than them when using the technology and they cannot be the leader in the room. Once our teachers can begine to use the resources available without the lag of having to get comfortable with it, our students will benefit immensely as seen in the video.

AshleyD's picture

I see technology in the classroom as such an exciting new tool for learning. Technology can make the most boring subjects fun! Adding numerous technology tools to the classrooms will add to the learning of our children. It will also help teachers to be able to go so much further than ever before. So many children are hands on learners and with the tools that technology brings, this is a possibility in every classroom.

Cwilkins's picture
Cwilkins
Librarian

I am amazed by the school that is showcased in the video. They have a true grasp on technology integration. They are not just teaching their students to use basic computer functions but they are applying tech to real problems, allowing the students to do real problem solving and use critical thinking skills. I believe that all schools should be functioning at the level of the school showcased but from my experience there seem to be so many road blocks in place that prevent schools from getting to that level. Funding is always an issue but so are the attitudes of teachers. Some teachers do not want to try new things. I think that teachers apprehensions are routed in their lack training. If they are not taught to do something and students understand it better than they do, they feel inadequate. The teachers in the video look very comfortable with using technology regularly. It makes me wonder how long it took to get all of the tools and training in place.

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