The advantages for integrating technology into the curriculum have been discussed and agreed upon by many throughout this semester. The integration of technology in the classroom engages the student, offers unique opportunities for learning and makes learning authentic and relevant to young people. However, all of these benefits generalize the profound impact that technology integration can have on students. The reality is that technology impacts every student, every class and every teacher in a unique way. An English teacher incorporates technology very differently than a math teacher does. While both teachers may use technology in different capacity, the benefits their students experience are equally as significant.
One way in which technology integration across the content areas can benefit students is to involve and excite students that may not be as interested in that subject. For instance, if a student is not particularly fond of history, but a history teacher uses technology such as google earth to take students on a ‘field trip’ or a virtual tour of historic landmarks, then the student may be more engaged in the lesson and therefore learn more effectively. When teachers plan for instruction, they need to consider what motivates students to learn. According to Heafner (2004), “effective technology integration offers opportunities to enhance social studies instruction and to increase student motivation while preparing students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become good citizens, which are the fundamental goals of the social studies.”
There are literally countless ways that technology can be incorporated into any classroom. Science teachers, particularly, have a myriad of resources available for instructional purposes. “New technology tools for visualizing and modeling, especially in the sciences, offer students ways to experiment and observe phenomenon and to view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding” (Edutopia, 2008). Students of all learning styles can be engaged through the use of technology. There are thousands of simulations and experiments available for students to participate in and view using technology in science class. Online labs and scientific investigations benefit visual and kinesthetic learners by allowing them to see and discover the concepts for themselves. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, the role of teachers morph into that of an adviser, content expert, and coach and the learning becomes more student-centered (Edutopia, 2008).
“Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy” (Edutopia, 2008). In today’s world, it is crucial that students possess 21st century skills including information literacy, media literacy, and digital literacy. The research and collaboration skills that students attain during their time in school helps prepare them for the work force and higher level thinking. English and Foreign language classes implement technology in ways that particularly help students develop these skills. Technology used in a language arts classroom enables media like video and pictures to be used for educational purposes, allows students to collaborate in ways that were before impossible, and provides tools to increase student productivity (Wikia, n.d.).
“The most important part of developing a technology-based unit is to identify how it will be used in the curriculum. Once teachers understand the capabilities of the technology, they must then take advantage of these resources as tools for learning, communicating, handling/managing information, and solving problems. Schools must use computers as a means, not an end. These new capabilities will allow the teacher and the school to restructure the way instruction is delivered to students.” (Kind, n.d.) This statement perfectly states the truth and it is an important lesson that teachers and administrators need to learn. Technology should be integrated into the curriculum to make the instruction more effective not because of its novelty or because it is being forced into the curriculum standards. A math teacher may use instructional game software to promote problem solving while an English teacher will use collaboration tools for peer reviews; these are examples of how the capabilities of the technology can be used differently but effectively in every discipline.
Heafner, T. (2004). Using technology to motivate students to learn social studies, 4(1). Retrieved April 11, 2014 from http://www.citejournal.org/vol4/iss1/socialstudies/article1.cfm
King, M. (n.d.). Integrating technology Into the curriculum. Retrieved April 11, 2014 from http://www.scribd.com/doc/15709322/Integrating-Technology-Into-the-Curriculum
Technology in Language Arts. (n.d.). Wikia. Retrieved April 11, 2014 from http://schoolcomputing.wikia.com/wiki/Technology_in_Language_Arts
Why integrate technology into the curriculum?: The reasons are many. (2008, March 17). Edutopia. Retrieved April 11, 2014 from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction