Right out of high school I went on to college and soon found that it was becoming more difficult to attend physical classes while life was passing me by. What I really wanted to be able to do was take the class when I had time and where ever I was; when I obtained my two year junior college degree that was it. Some fifteen years later, technology emerged and finally presented the opportunity to be able to take college classes from the comfort of where I wanted and whatever time of day I wanted to do the class. From my point of view, this was the way to go to college; I was inspired and very positive about having the relative advantage of technology to continue my academic career.
In the past two years, I have been employed with the College of the Siskiyou’s to bring virtual classrooms to my remote neck of the woods for both adults and high school students. The high school students are able to enroll in concurrent classes getting credits at the high school and for college at the same time. The virtual learning classroom is designed for those students who prefer the classroom environment for learning instead of self-paced classes.
Throughout the school year, I have the opportunity to do classroom visits and while I am there the teachers’ often have questions of how they can bring more technology into their classrooms. What I really would like them to ask is, “how they can integrate technology into their classroom lessons?”. There is a digital divide in our local school districts as we have teachers who have tenure and are comfortable with using technology as a show and tell; like using video streaming (aka video on demand). Then we have teachers who are younger and are already integrating technology into their lesson plans that are presenting 21st century learning opportunities for their students.
Personally, I know that technology is amazing and schools are using it to produce real results for learning. However, as research has shown, and from what I have seen, that simply putting technology in teachers’ and students’ hands doesn’t guarantee that educators will use technology integration fluidly with in their lesson plans. Research has also shown that when educators integrate technology and students have the opportunity to do digital research and use digital content and resources, they become critical explorers, agile problem solvers, and communicators who use imagination and initiative to guide the teaching and learning processes. Students become masters of their learning while connecting to the world beyond four classroom walls.
The archives of the Department of Education reports that “The most common–and in fact, nearly universal–teacher-reported effect on students was an increase in motivation. Teachers and students are sometimes surprised at the level of technology-based accomplishment displayed by students who have shown much less initiative or facility with more conventional academic tasks Ultimately the goal of educators and schools is to provide students with a valuable, sustainable, and practical education that will prepare them for their lives after they graduate” (International, nd). Evidence for reasons why to integrate technology can be found in a variety of places. Roblyer and Doering explain the technology integration framework that builds on strong research and provides resources and integration strategies.
Enhancing Curriculum Content areas
Integrating technology with standard curriculum gives students a sense of power, but also allows for more advanced learning among broad topics. Technology contributes to global development and diversity in classrooms and helps develop upon the fundamental building blocks needed for students to achieve more complex ideas.
Please visit my EdTech 541 website to see full report
International, S. R. I., Singh, R., Dr., & Means, B. (n.d.). Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students. Ed.Gov. Research Reports. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/effectsstudents.html
eTech Ohio Commission. (2004). Technology Tools. Ohio Technology Integration Pathways. Retrieved from http://tech.hcesc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/TechnologyTools12_06.pdf
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Technology Integration Matrix. (2006, January 1). Florida Center for Instructional Technology. Retrieved April 8, 2012, from http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/2006tim.html
Technology Tools. (n.d.). Tech HCESC. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from tech.hcesc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/TechnologyTools12_06.pdf