In the 21st century, understanding and using technology will be an integral part of virtually every aspect of daily life. It is the school system’s responsibility to prepare students for this future. The classroom is the primary place where this preparation will occur; therefore, every classroom must be equipped with technology to support teaching and learning. Every teacher must be knowledgeable and skilled in the use of these technologies in daily instruction. When integrated into instruction, technology will support new strategies for teaching and learning by:
- addressing diverse learning styles,
- accommodating individual learning rates,
- encouraging cooperative learning,
- helping students accept responsibility for their learning,
- providing the means to communicate globally, and
- improving academic achievement in all areas.
The use of technology in instruction changes the structure of the classroom. No longer should the teacher rely solely on the traditional lecture/seat work method of instruction. In a technology-rich, student-centered classroom, the teacher serves as a facilitator of instruction, mentor, and coach. Technology will provide a record of the student’s academic history and ways to manage learning progress and activities. Teachers have the data and information needed to individualize instruction and assessment as well as make other important instructional management decisions. Through technology, teachers and students will access a wealth of materials, services, and networks throughout the state, nation, and world. Technology does not replace the teacher, but rather supports and enhances the educational process.
Instructional Purpose of Technology
Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software applications in a separate computer class. Effective technology integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the teaching and learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curriculum goals.
Effective technology integration to improve teaching and learning is not about the device, but how the device is used to improve both teaching and learning. The instructional outcome or result is always the goal. The device is an instrument to achieve those goals. Technology can allow educators and students a new way to reach previously unreachable learning outcomes.
Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of advisor, content expert, facilitator and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more impactful and engaging.
Pickerington Local School District is adopting a blended learning approach to the integration of technology. This approach allows teachers to combine the best teaching practice from a traditional classroom and those from a digital classroom. The teaching strategies should align to the goals of the learning objective. Some lessons may require the use of technology, other lessons technology may not be needed, while other lessons may need technology for part of the lesson. The end goal is to have and utilize the proper tool to enhance the curriculum and meet the instructional needs of the students.
Technology is all too often applied as an add-on to existing curriculum. To maximize its potential benefits — such as the development of higher-order thinking skills — educators must weave technology into the curriculum in such a way that the tool matches the desired learning outcome.
Connection with Teaching and Learning
Technology and teaching & learning must be a close relationship. When integrating technology in the classroom or curriculum there are a few questions that should be examined first:
- Regardless of the technology, what’s the essential outcome of the lesson
- How are these technology tools enhancing the curriculum?
- What will the students do with these tools – during and after class?
- Am I using technology in a powerful way?
- How will the use of this technology improve my teaching?
The use of technology in the classroom should properly align with the subject/grade level’s curriculum; including standards, curriculum maps, pacing guides and assessments. The question that teachers should continually ask is how does the use of this technology help students learn the intended outcome or curricular goal. Technology needs to be used for an intended purpose.
The District has adopted the SAMR model in assisting teachers through the process of integrating technology into their classroom and using it in powerful ways.
SAMR is a model designed to help educators infuse technology into teaching and learning. Developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the model supports and enables teachers to design, develop, and infuse digital learning experiences that utilize technology. The goal is to transform learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students.
The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model offers a method of seeing how computer technology might impact teaching and learning. It also shows a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress through teaching and learning with technology.