Below are my thoughts about why we NEED to InTECHgrate.
The world is technological
The world we live in is a technical world (Fouts, 2000). Students today have more access to technology than previous generations. Research has found even lower income students that might not have access to technology at home find a way to make use of it, by either going to their school, a library, or to a friend’s house (Eugene, et al, 2004). If students engrossed in the use of technology outside of the classroom, they obviously value it. It would then be logical to say that if technology were integrated into the classroom the learning environment would be more relevant to the students in that classroom. It would also be logical to say that students within these types of classrooms would be better prepared for the society in which they will enter.
Schools must become technological in order to prepare its students for the new world.
Almost every aspect of this society has been influenced by technology. In Research on computers and education: Past, present and future, it states, “Schools must be a part of these changes and research should proceed with the assumption that technology is and will continue to be a growing element within the schools” (Fouts, 2000, p. 33). It is therefore evident that the integration of technology is the next logical step to improve our classrooms, which will assist in preparing students for the needs of society.
The 21st Century requires more. If we don’t InTECHgrate how will our students cope?
The requirements of the 21st century are different than those of previous times. Core subject knowledge is no longer enough, students need higher-level learning skills. These new demands oblige young adults to be able to “use their knowledge and skills—by thinking critically, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing information, comprehending new ideas, communicating, collaborating, solving problems, making decisions” (Honey, et al, 2003, p. 9). These demanded high-learning skills are necessary to be successful in this Century. Authors of Computers in the classroom: The impact of technology on student learning state, “As the world grows increasingly complex success and prosperity will be linked to people’s ability to think, act, adapt and communicate creatively (Stratham & Torell, 1996, p. 24).
Learning environments must change in order to meet these new demands
To prepare students for the demands of the 21st century a change in the way teaching and learning occurs must take place. Learning environments must become more authentic by giving students the opportunities to use higher order thinking and problem solving skills connected to real world applications (Fouts, 2000).
Where does Technology integration fit in?
Technology integration, if done properly, does many things to support the process of creating more authentic learning environments as well as creating a desire to learn. Many of the studies report, if the learning environment is technologically rich, it can increase self-esteem and enthusiasm for learning (Fouts, 2000). This usually leads to a more positive attitude for learning, as well as lower absentee and dropout rates. One study showed that having a more technologically rich learning environment eventually lead to a higher rate in college attendance and scholarships (Stratham & Torell, 1996).
Technology helps support real learning
Studies show that technologically rich learning environments support better development of life skills, which include organizational, problem solving, inquiry, and collaboration skills. The learning environment is improved by providing more cooperative learning and reduced competition (Stratham & Torell, 1996). Research also has shown that technology integration increases the chance of interaction within the learning environment (Keengwe, et al, 2008). “Because many new technologies are interactive, it is now easier to create environments in which students can learn by doing, receive feedback, and continually refine their understanding and build new knowledge” (Fouts, 2000, p. 11). It is these types of learning environments that help to build the 21st century skills mentioned above.
Technology can help students learn better
Many studies have also shown that students within the above mentioned learning environment, one where the integration of computers work hand in hand with traditional instruction, have higher academic achievement in many subject areas and learn more quickly, with greater retention when compared to traditional instruction alone (Fouts, 2000).
If we as teachers take all of this into consideration it becomes apparent that we need to change the way we do things in order to help our students become productive members of society. They will be getting jobs that don’t exist yet. They will be solving problems we don’t know are problems yet. We must prepare our selves to help our students succeed in the 21st century.
Eugene, H., Rod, P., & Patrick, S. (2004). Toward a new golden age in American education: How the Internet, the law and todays students are revolutionizing expectations. Department of Education.
Fouts, J. T. (2000). Research on computers and education: Past, present and future. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Honey, M., Mandinach, E., & McMillan, K. C. (2003). A retrospective on twenty years of education technology policy. Education Development Center, Center for Children and Technology, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology.
Keengwe, J., Onchwari, G., & Wachira, P. (2008). The use of computer tools to support meaningful learning. AACE Journal , 16 (1), 77-92.
Stratham, D. S., & Torell, C. R. (1996). Computers in the classroom: The impact of technology on student learning. Boise, ID: Army Research Institute.