Saturday, September 24, 2005

What is Technology Integration?
Technology Integration is the utilization of technology, e.g. computers, as a tool to assist the teacher in presenting materials in a variety ways and facilitating learning in the classroom. Teachers should use technology in a manner that is sensitive to the interests, comfort, and needs of all students while demonstrating applications for continuous learning and for future opportunities (Kennedy, 2002; Schrum, n.d.). Good technology integration will incorporate devices that will match any student’s special requirements, such as voice recognition software for students unable to type on a keyboard. This is using technology as a tool, not as a lesson in itself. As well, good integration will fit in as a component of a lesson, but again is not a lesson in itself. For example in a Career and Life Management class, applying word processing skills for students to develop electronic resumes is better than a separate lesson devoted to the use of Word or Word Perfect. That would reflect poor integration. In a MS Powerpoint presentation, the focus should be the content and not the program’s capabilities, i.e. a visual demonstration of key points covered by the presenter, not the number of coloured pictures that slide in and out of the screen during the presentation. Another example of poor technology integrations is the unnecessary use of teachnolgy; using it where it is not necessary and possible distracting; e.g. you want to present a simple diagram of a cell – sketching it on the board could be faster and easier and maybe better and a more realistic model for what students are expected to produce (compared with a fancy artist’s drawing with extraneous effects).

Barriers to technology implementation in the classroom may include the expense of resource materials, inconvenient access (booking, location, unreliable availability), outdated and incompatible software/hardware, lack of support from administration, and the unwillingness of teachers to incorporate technology use in combination with their existing teaching strategies. I concur with Beaudin and Grigg (2001) that professional development activities should include strategies for adapting teaching methods for technological use, rather than merely instruction on the use of new software or hardware. As beginner teachers, we need to be cognizant of adapting our teaching strategies with changes not only in curriculum programs, but in the use of technological methods.

References
Beaudin and Grigg (2001). Integration of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom: An Argument for a Focus on Teaching Methods. Canadian Social Studies, 35. Retrieved September 18, 2005 from
http://www.quasar.ualberta.ca/css/Css_35_2/integration_computer_ssclassroom.htm
Kennedy, G. (2002). Can I really do that in my classroom? Integrating Computer Technology into the
Classroom. Retrieved September 18, 2005 from h http://www.edbydesign.com/specneedsres/gerryk/integcomptech.html

Schrum, L. (n.d.) Technology in the Classroom: Asking the Right Questions. International Society for
Technology in Education. Retrieved September 18, 2005 from
http://www.enc.org/features/focus/archive/edtech/document.shtm?input=FOC-000694-index

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