Technology integration ideally should guide, expand and enhance objectives of learning. Curriculum integration with technology can take place only when technology as a tool is used to enhance learning preferably in the content area.
Technology enables students to learn in ways not previously possible. Effective integration of technology is successful when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally.
Technology integration is successful when the use of technology is:
- Routine and transparent
- Accessible and readily available for the task at hand
- Supporting the curricular goals, and helping the students to effectively reach their goals
Technology integration is defined based on the type of technology available, accessibility to the technology, and who is using the technology. It is important to remember that the integration should primarily revolve around the student needs and not necessarily the teacher needs.
One major factor for successful technology integration is embracing change willingly. Technology is continuously, and rapidly, evolving.
“Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions — as accessible as all other classroom tools.” — National Educational Technology Standards for Students, International Society for Technology in Education.
How can technology help the educational process?
When effectively integrated into the syllabus, technology tools will extend learning in powerful ways that these tools will offer students and academics with:
- Access to up-to-date, primary supply material
- Methods of collecting/recording information
- Ways to collaborate with students, teachers, and consultants globally.
- Opportunities for expressing and understanding through multimedia system
- Learning that’s relevant and assessment that’s authentic
- Training for commercial enterprise and presenting their new information
Read: Use of technology in education: Myth vs reality
Levels of technology integration
Four levels of classroom technology integration or the way classrooms are using technology as observed in schools are:
1. Sparse: Technology isn’t used or out there. Students hardly use technology to finish assignments or projects.
2. Basic: Technology is used or available occasionally/often in a lab rather than the classroom. Students are okay with one or two tools and generally use these tools to create projects that show understanding of content.
3. Comfortable: Technology is used in the classroom on a fairly regular basis. Students are able to use a variety of tools and often use these tools to create projects that show understanding of content.
4. Seamless: Students employ technology daily in the classroom using a variety of tools to complete assignments and create projects that show a deep understanding of content.
8 ways classrooms are using technology for teaching and learning
1. Online learning and blended classrooms: While K-12 online learning gains traction around the world, many teachers are also exploring blended learning — a combination of both online and face-to-face education.
2. Project-based activities incorporating technology: Many of the foremost rigorous projects are infused with technology from the beginning till the end.
3. Game-based learning and assessment: There has been quite a buzz regarding the advantages of incorporating simulations and game-based learning activities into schoolroom instruction.
Read: Game-based learning benefits: The new education process that can change everything
4. Instructional tools like interactive whiteboards and student response systems: Here are just a few possibilities that increase the potential for using interactive whiteboards in school:
- Digital storytelling.
- Creating, viewing, and annotating student PowerPoint and multimedia presentations in real time.
- Showing streamed or downloaded videos.
- Using online map and satellite imagery to teach geography.
- Displaying artwork or online museum presentations.
- Demonstrating moviemaking techniques.
- Teaching students how to conduct research on the Internet.
- Working collaboratively on writing and editing exercises, math lessons, and science experiments.
- Instructing the class on the use of a software program, keyboarding techniques, and other computer skills
The goal of student response system is to transform abstract learning into a hands-on experience through the use of remote-control-like clicker devices.
5. Student-created media like podcasts, videos, or slideshows: One of the central concepts of digital skill or media literacy is that students ought to be creators and critics, not simply customers, of media.
6. Collaborative tools like Wikis or Google Docs: Connecting with others online can turn out to be a realisation for change, both for teachers and for students. Teacher Vicki Davis is an evangelist for such connections.
7. Using social media to engage students: Though social media tools are still blocked in many schools, students around the world spend vast amounts of time on social networks outside of school.
8. Frameworks for technology integration: SAMR and TPACK are models which are frequently used for technology integration.
- The SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentudura, guides the process of reflecting on how we are integrating technology into our classrooms. The ideal goal of technology integration is to give a new meaning as to how education is taught and received and to do things that never could have happened before the technology was in our hands.
- The TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework lays out the information that educators want so as to successfully integrate technology into their teaching. The TPACK web site offers a large collection of free resources for teachers.
Despite the dramatic variations in resources and abilities from school to school, and place to place, integrating technology tools is attainable in ways which will influence engagement and learning for all students.