541 – Integration of Technology into Teaching – Vision Statement

Why Integrate Technology into our Schools?

The easy answer to this question is that technology is ubiquitous and therefore a necessary element of public education. It is true that digital literacy is an important factor in the integration of technology, however the real power of technology in our schools is when integration strategies “… address specific instructional needs identified by educational theorists and practitioners.”(Roblyer, Doering 2010). The Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) supports the notion held by teachers that, “…simply having students use technology does not raise achievement. The impact depends on the ways technology is used and the conditions under which applications are implemented.”(Roblyer, Doering 2010).

In justifying technology in the classroom teachers must ask themselves what are the ways in which technology integration can address instructional needs that support learning in a more efficient, impact-full way than non-technology driven strategies, and whether or not the planning and resources necessary are worth the projected outcomes. How, then can technology support student learning? According to Roblyer and Doering, there are four main categories that are the basis for an argument for technology inclusion in classroom instruction:

  1. To Motivate Students
  2. To Enhance Instruction
  3. To Make Student and Teacher work more Productively
  4. To Help Students Learn and Sharpen Their Information Age Skills

Student engagement or motivation is a key argument for technology inclusion. Students must find relevance and connection to their individual needs in order to fully engage in an academic pursuit. The use of technology to make curriculum meaningful through inquiry based learning encourages cross curricular connections which inherently reflects real world applications of acquired  knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Students using the Internet for exploration, collaboration, development and presentation are engaged in a meaningful process which results in deep understanding as well as the formation of important twenty-first century skills. This approach directly supports educational theorist that subscribe to the constructivist theory which emphasises that people learn through participation; it is the process itself that unravels understanding. Direct instruction through the use of technology can also be a motivating factor for students.

Objectivist educational theorists propound technology integration to identify weaknesses in students and promote fluency of skills. Computer software for direct instruction, which provides customizable instruction and immediate feedback, allows scaffolding for the individual pace and needs of student learning. This process is proven to increase motivation and achievement especially in the attainment of government mandated standards.

Enhanced learning through classroom integration of technology can promote higher level thinking skills such as analysis and synthesis of information. Students can use technology to “bring down the walls” of traditional classroom by accessing global resources and connecting with people around the world. Teachers are no longer the sole source of knowledge and information in the classroom. Educators can call on experts in any field to become guests in her class leading to the acquisition of high levels of complex information which can result in in-depth analysis and deep understanding or impact.

Technological solutions are regularly being discovered to solve learning problems associated with students with disabilities. Assistive technologies are currently in use, and are being developed to enhance learning for students with physical impairments and cognitive challenges.

The use of technology in schools can increase productivity and efficiencies of administrative activities on the part of teachers and administrators as well as reducing the use of consumable materials. Through the use of various applications students can submit digital assignments and teachers can assess student work and provide digital feedback in a timely manner. Teachers are then able to input and track progress quickly, providing academic intervention as necessary.

Technology integration as a vehicle for sharpening information age skill allows students to learn how to synthesis the volumes of information and media resources available in our age and make informed decisions about what to believe and how to respond.

Enhanced learning through technology integration requires careful planning, implementation, and assessment of strategies. Teachers must consider their own ability, access to equipment, and curricular objectives when formulating an integration plan. The Technology Integration Matrix produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, goes beyond simple statements of how to include technology in classrooms by publishing a matrix that delineates levels of integration and its result from simple adaptation of technological strategies to transformational activities that would not be possible without the inclusion of technology. This matrix allows teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of technology based educational strategies.

The education system is evolving away from a teacher centered system of information delivery to a differentiated student centered approach that allows flexibility in terms of when, where, and how students learn. Integrating technology into student learning will enable this approach, resulting in generations of forward thinking individuals who are capable, creative, informed, versatile, capable of working in groups, and globally aware.

1. Roblyer, M.D., and Aaron Doering Herbert. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2012. Print.
2. http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
3. http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/