Integrating Technology

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Jeff Goodrich
Integrating Technology

Educational technologies are being utilized in every facet of school education. Increasingly, teachers are asking students to access information from technological sources. Methods of instruction must change in order to keep up with the ever-changing world and we, as teachers must cease the technological movement. There are many factors and activities that can help teachers develop an attitude that is intrepid in the use of technology, encourages them to take risks, and inspires them to involve technology in the classroom environment. In the technological society of today, is it possible that the integration of computers will change the traditional methods of the classroom? Will the introduction of computers as a learning tool better prepare our students for their future and increase student achievement? How does professional development play in this technological movement? Literature in this review will investigate these questions and teaching practices that may lead to better student achievement. Several themes and definitions are prevalent in the current articles I reviewed. These themes explore the thinking that technology integration may affect the learning environment, student roles, teacher roles, and staff development. Before I jump into these issues, a technological plan must be in place. Districts must "ensure a sound infrastructure" (Barnett, 2001). In order for technology to impact student learning, the technology plan must ensure the appropriate resources are in place to support and maintain networks and equipment. Teacher training, technical support, and maintenance are key resources that must be present. " Research and best teaching practices consistently show that without effective staff development and continuous support, technology integration will never satisfactorily be achieved"(Barnett, 2003). The technology plan should also address the technology proficiencies that teachers will be expected to demonstrate. Once everything is setup a performance report should be printed showing the impacts of student achievement and teacher efficiency. Barnett (2001) explained that technology effectiveness divides into two areas: 1) learning with computers, using computers as tutors 2) learning from computers, which is when the student uses the computer as a tool in the learning process for communication, collaboration, research, or publishing. However, for any of this to work a well knowledge teacher must be present. Therefore, a technology plan must commit to professional development and continue to support and find ways to integrate technology into the curriculum.

What is the purpose of implementing technology? Research indicates that computer technology increases student's high order thinking skills. Students are able to conceptualize, analyze and solve more complex problems. Technology provides ways for teachers and school to utilize time more efficiently (Burdette 2001). Technology can be used to present information in a new, more appropriate way. Educational technology tools most commonly used are PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Technology by itself does not guarantee learning. The combination of the teacher, student and technology determines level of learning.

Technology must be integrated in the classroom with the focus on curriculum and discovering improved ways to teach students. Technology impacts students when there is consistent tie between content standards and technology being used (Barnett, 2001). The teacher must integrate technology in the best interest of the student. Teacher roles must change in order to keep up with today's society. The integration of technology must be used to promote new learning goals and teaching strategies that are student-centered, collaborative, self-directed and based on higher order thinking skills.

Teachers who implement/integrate technologies face several obstacles that include lack of leadership,...
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