Integrating Technology into the Classroom Curriculum
Technology integration into the classroom is nothing new to education; it has been around as long as educational instruction has. Teachers have used video, audio, illustration boards and many other forms of technology in the classroom without too much debate as to their effectiveness in the classroom. As computers, tablets, Smartboards, laptops and other newer forms of technology have been introduced into the classroom there has been a strong debate as to the effectiveness of these devises on a learner’s education. Bataineh states (2003), “Even as technology use and application advances at an almost logarithmic pace, many of the issues related to technology use remain remarkably constant. These include properly trained staff, adequate equipment, ongoing funding, and successful integration of technology in order to maximize learning. Effectively meeting such challenges can magnify the advantages of incorporating technology while diminishing the disadvantages.” Society’s demand for new efficient technologies is continuously growing in this information hungry world. The newer forms of technology are reaching our schools and classrooms either through planned efforts or necessity brought upon by learners attempting to use them in the classroom. Beyond the walls of a traditional brick and mortar school, technology is part of everyone’s lives in many facets, most of which involve heavy use in careers. Technology can be a positive influence and impactful instructional tool for all educators. The debate should not be about whether to use newer technologies in the classroom but more about how to provide quality training and instruction for our educators so the new technologies can be used in a meaningful way for the learners.
Technology and Todays Learner
When an elementary learner enters the classroom for the first time, that learner has already spent hundreds of hours on a computer participating in learning programs found on the Internet for free. The same student moves on to middle school and then high school will have mastered a large percentage of basic programs found on a computer or with other forms of technology. The same learner will leave high school with newly acquired abilities for using one or more forms of technology that relate directly to pursuing a career or higher education. So our goals as educators and administrators are to:
- Embrace the use of newer technologies and educate ourselves on how to use them in effective and efficient ways.
- Provide a systematic and comprehensive use of technology to promote a rigorous and relevant curriculum.
- Prepare students for a career or higher education after high school utilizing different forms of appropriate technology.
- Utilize all the resources available to us to educate our young learners from elementary to high school graduation.
- Educate learners on social, legal, ethical and moral practices of using technology.
Technology in the Classroom
Each new school year there is a conversation that takes place with the administration and faculty on the use of newer technologies in the classroom. Learners will come to school with one or more new technology that may or may not apply to the classroom. The conversation usually ends with the administration banning the form of new technology until it can be tested in the classroom for its effectiveness with instruction and learning. This stirs the debate about funding for the school district, school and classroom. Our goals should include:
- School districts staying in-touch with technology trends by way of a Technology Action Plan that is reviewed annually.
- School districts providing enough funding for the projected newer technologies to be introduced into the classrooms.
- Administrators will provide support through faculty training sessions that are meaningful and productive.
- Teachers will stay current with the new technologies through practice and use in the classroom.
Technology and the Community
Learners that are starting high school this year will see the introduction of several hundred new career fields into society before they graduate. The growth of the community around the expansion of newer forms of technology related to all career fields has proven the need for community leaders to become more involved in education. The involvement can include:
- Presentations given to learners at various stages of their education.
- Seminars for soon to be graduating high school learners to help them choose a career path.
- A hands-on program that would allow a learner to shadow or participate in a career field for a given time, a day or so at the most.
- Provide hot lines for learners to call to talk to a person in a certain career field to gain information.
- Promote open communication between educators, parents, and learners that encourages unity and teamwork.
Technology and Special Needs Students
Technology has improved the exceptional students’ ability to overcome physical or emotional needs to allow for a more independent way of live. As we see an increase of special needs students in schools, for inclusion into mainstream classrooms, we need to also see an increase in the availability of technology in the classrooms. By incorporating well-planned technologies into the classroom, we will see an increase in a special needs learners’ ability to function with little to no assistance. Our goals should be:
- Fit the right technology to the right special needs learner.
- Allow for the integration of multiple technologies for the special needs learner to accomplish the goals of the classroom.
Technology can be a very powerful tool for an educator and a learner to help facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge and abilities. Technology will continue to grow and expand into our everyday lives. As educators of future generations we need to be more proactive in utilizing newer forms of technology in the classroom to ensure the success of our learners in the classroom and beyond school.
AL-Bataineh, A., (2003). Challenges, advantages, and disadvantages of instructional technology in the community college classroom. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 27, 6, 473-484.
Roberson L., (2001). Integration of computers and related technologies into deaf education teacher preparation programs. American Annals of the Deaf, 146(1), 60-6. Retrieved June 14, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 72679496).