“IF WE TEACH TODAY’S STUDENTS AS WE TAUGHT YESTERDAY’S, WE ROB THEM OF TOMORROW.”
― John Dewey
Without technology integration, our students will lack the motivation, interest and skills to allow them the capacity to thrive at their dream university and in their dream career. All students must be afforded the opportunities to grow through direct instruction as well as construct their own learning through integration throughout their daily lives both in and outside the classroom. It is essential that schools plan their technology goals for years to come with practices in place to repurpose and reevaluate as needed.
In 2010, the US Department of Education released a National Technology Education Plan which calls for a “revolutionary transformation” in which schools purposefully “leverage” technology to improve student learning in meaningful ways (p. 7). Schools must teach students life skills and because technology is so embedded in everyday life, integration is essential. To try and separate technology from students lives would be anything but authentic and meaningful.
Addressing the Issues
Students and teachers remain the most important factors within education. Technology by itself does not solve any problems. Teachers must become well versed in integrating technology when its relative advantages outweigh the previous lesson plan results (Roblyer, 2016). Successful technology integration hinders on continuous and “just-in-time” teacher training, while understanding that blended learning should combine both face-to-face and online learning, not one or other (Roblyer, 2016).
Curriculum development needs to address technology integration in the forefront rather than as an afterthought. It is essential that schools stop asking how to apply the technology and software at hand, but rather flip this on its head and seek to address unmet educational needs with possible technology solutions (Roblyer, 2016, p. 65). Technology standards should be used to grow the curriculum and engage students in creation and product production in ways not possible without integration. This is how students will become thriving societal members.
In 2007, Edutopia explained, “When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature”. For integration to be real it needs to be used seamlessly, not only as a special occasion or a special field trip to the computer lab.
Practioners Januszewski and Molenda (2013) define educational technology as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources”. It is essential that technology integration be studied to make sure its use improves performance and causes learning improvements in ways non-integration were unable to accomplish.
As teachers plan they should think about any and all resources that could benefit the learning, this could be technology resources or otherwise (Roblyer, 2016, p. 9). Teachers will always be more important than technology because they are the human facilitators of student learning.
Appropriate technology integration allows for increased student motivations, differentiation, increased skill practice all while preparing students to be digitally literate to set them up for future success (Roblyer, 2016, p. 22-24). Educators, that put students first, by improving their own practice are needed to ensure student success.
Edutopia. (2007). What is successful technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
Januszewski, A. & Molenda, M. (2013). Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. New York, NY: Routledge.
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010). Transforming American education – Learning powered by technology. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010-execsumm.pdf