Integration of Technology Into The Classroom

A White Paper

A paper on technology should probably start by defining the term "technology" since it is often misused and/or used interchangeably with science.

"Broadly speaking, technology is how people modify the natural world to suit their own purposes. From the Greek word techne, meaning art or artifice or craft, technology literally means the act of making or crafting, but more generally it refers to the diverse collection of processes and knowledge that people use to extend human abilities and to satisfy human needs and wants." It is often the solution to a problem. Technology has existed since the beginnings of recorded history

Technological Literacy then is the ability to use, manage, understand, and assess technology.

Technology education- A study of technology, which provides an opportunity for students to learn about the processes and knowledge related to technology that are needed to solve problems and extend human capabilities. Change in the material environment is the explicit purpose of technology, and not, as in the case with science, the understanding of the natural world and the natural universe.

Technological knowledge describes how the human-built world is designed and created and how people can use it to extend their potential.

Educational Technology is a term widely used in the field of education (and other areas), but it is often used with different meanings. The word technology is used by some to mean hardware-the devices that deliver information and serve as tools to accomplish a task-but those working in the field use technology to refer to a systematic process of solving problems by scientific means. Hence, educational technology properly refers to a particular approach to achieving the ends of education. Instructional technology refers to the use of such technological processes specifically for teaching and learning.

Integration of Technology

A brief search of on-line literature does not produce much material that directly address the concept of integration of technology into the classroom but does describe a classroom that might be defined as technology enabled.

ERIC , The Educational Resources Information Center provides numerous documents related to Education and Teaching. A search using "integrating technology" turned up one document directly on topic. Bank Street College Project Expert describes the College of Educations experiences in meeting their primary objectives of:

  1. To infuse a sophisticated use of technology into all coursework in the three new strands and the advising cohort groups.
  2. To increase communication between graduate faculty, students, and cooperating teachers during supervised fieldwork.
  3. To engage public and private school teachers in the redesign of courses and to align their practice with the work of Project EXPERT, so that they might provide "examples in action" to graduate students.
  4. To infuse aesthetic education as well as technology into the redesign of courses so that emerging teachers understand the importance of the arts as tools to expand their pedagogical repertoire.
  5. To share findings from this project with the national education community to promote a better understanding of innovative, appropriate uses of technology developed in teacher and leadership education.

NCREL the North Central Regional Education Laboratory has produced several documents that define the engaged learner. They have, on-line, their definition of the pahses that teachers pass through while using technology in the classroom. They call the phases Print Automation, Expansion of Learning Opportunities, and Data-Driven Virtual Learning

For over 10 years, from 1985 until 1996, Apple Computer funded the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) project in order to answer the question; What happens to students and teachers when they have access to technology whenever they need it? Apple provided equipment to teachers, students, and schools in 18 school districts across the country. They trained teachers and then monitored them through daily, audio based reflections that were entered into a searchable data base; They also used, periodic classroom observations.

This project provides us with a wealth of information related to the problems teachers face in integrating modern teaching and learning tools (educational technology) into daily classroom use.

Perhaps we should also wonder why technology finds it so difficult to enter the classroom.

In a 1993 Education Policy Analysis paper Steven Hoda wrote that: "For nearly a century outsiders have been trying to introduce technologies into high school classrooms, with remarkably consistent results. After proclaiming the potential of the new tools to rescue the classroom from the dark ages and usher in an age of efficiency and enlightenment, technologists find to their dismay that teachers can often be persuaded to use the new tools only slightly, if at all. They find further that, even when the tools are used, classroom practice--the look-and-feel of schools --remains fundamentally unchanged. Indeed, the last technologies to have had a lasting impact on the organization and practice of schooling were the textbook and the blackboard.

He also proposes that technology is never neutral: that its values and practices must always either support or subvert those of the organization into which it is placed; and that the failures of technology to alter the look-and-feel of schools more generally results from a mismatch between the values of school organization and those embedded within the contested technology.

Although this paper is long and full of "Educationese" it is a must read for all technologists. You may, infact, have to read it two or three times.

Vision Statement for the instructional integration of technology.

Technology is used in a seamless approach to ensuring that every learner has the opportunity to become a critical thinker in a collaborative learning environment which foster investigation, problem-solving, creativity, communication, rlection, and recognizes divers learning styles.

The integration of appropriate technology into the learning environment is critical for learner success.