Learning is a Never Ending Journey

Friday, September 23, 2005

What is Technology Integration?

The easiest way to describe technology integration is to say that it is the inclusion/use of technology in the classroom. There are many ways to integrate technology into the classroom. However, there can be both positive technology integration and negative technology integration. The purpose of this post will be to explain and then examine a few examples of what exactly good and bad technology integration is. This post will also look at some of the barriers to technology integration.

The best way for technology to be used in a classroom is to enhance and improve both the teaching and learning process. One key thing to remember is as Lynne Schrum in her "Technology in the Classroom: Asking the Right Questions" article explains, technology should be "the means not the end. Technology merely provides the tools to be used for authentic learning." The following are some examples of what I believe are good ways to integrate technology into the classroom. If students are going to use computers, they need to use them regularly so they learn how to properly use them. This use can be in many forms. First, the Internet is becoming a very beneficial tool more and more every day. Students can use it for assignments to find information through online encyclopedias, government web pages, online newspapers, Internet searches, web pages, and databases etc. They can use the Internet for just about any subject they wish. This includes math (good sites explaining how to do equations), English (sites explaining effective poetry writing etc.), science (sites about experiments) etc. Another way to integrate technology is through blogging. As I described in the previous post, there are many ways to integrate and use blogging in the classroom. I believe that in order to integrate technology in a positive manner teachers need to use it with most, if not all of their subjects. After all, it has been proven that students who use computers make faster progress in their learning of various subjects.

As with everything, there are positive and negative factors, so now we will focus on bad technology integration in the classroom. In order for technology to beneficial in the classroom it has to be integrated into the learning process. In other words, it should be used as a supplement to various subjects. Bad integration would be to have the technology/computer as just simply a play tool. Students should not just be able to use it for 'fun' in terms of games, and checking email etc. If it is going to be integrated properly and be beneficial then a teacher needs to only let their students use a computer for fun as a reward for work well done. Or, the games played on a computer could be learning based such as a math or science question game. Integrated technology should always help to improve the learning process. If the technology does not benefit a student's learning, then it is probably not good technology integration.

As I said previously, this post will also address the possible barriers to technology integration. First, a barrier could be not having any or enough access to technology due to the money issues. If a teacher wants to use technology but only has one computer, it is hard to allow all of the students equal opportunities to use technology. Another barrier could be a teacher not wanting to, or not knowing how to use technology. Some people are afraid of/intimidated by or disagree with the use of technology in a classroom. Thus, they could not effectively teach their students to use the technology. These all present barriers to the use of technology in the classroom.


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