Technology integration is the use of technology resources — computers, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, digital cameras, social media platforms and networks, software applications, the Internet, etc. — in daily classroom practices, and in the management of a school. Successful technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is:
- Routine and transparent
- Accessible and readily available for the task at hand
- Supporting the curricular goals, and helping the students to effectively reach their goals
When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature. And students are often more actively engaged in projects when technology tools are a seamless part of the learning process.
Defining Technology Integration
“Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyse and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions — as accessible as all other classroom tools.” — National Educational Technology Standards for Students, International Society for Technology in Education.
The success behind technology integration in education
There are two keys to successfully integrating technology in the classroom. The first lies in understanding the role of technology in the classroom. Keeping students — not the technology — at the center of instruction is the second.
Authentic and meaningful technology integration is a relationship between the teacher, the student, and the curriculum. Technology is the vehicle that makes it happen.
In Ms. Hart’s classroom, students used technology as an appropriate medium for completing their assignment. Their focus remained on the learning objectives and project goals — the tech was just a tool. Learning how to use the available technology also supplemented their learning experience and helped them work more efficiently.
Digital automation and machinery alone will never make school a better place. Technology integration in education doesn’t shift the focus from instruction. Instead, it enhances an existing educational program by serving as a learning device.
Benefits of technology integration
First, technology meets students where they are in the learning continuum by assessing their strength and weaknesses. Then, the programs identify appropriate learning objectives and establish learning pathways for each student.
Second, instructional software allows students to access their classwork anytime. Students may extend their learning by working on programs outside of class: before school, during lunch time, or from home if they have access to the apps from their own devices.
Third, learners find technology responsive and engaging. In the classroom, students with access to technology have useful tools that assist with active learning and problem-solving. Integrated technology encourages engagement and exploration in a way that traditional textbooks can never fill. Classroom lessons are less about the technology itself and more about deep learning. Students use technology to achieve the task at hand: understanding content.
Additionally, software and digital voice assistants provide alternative, reliable sources of information or fact-checking. These programs patiently repeat directions and lessons, customizing instruction through differentiation.
Finally, as learners engage with software and other technology, certain algorithms can collect data about student achievement for teachers to analyze. This data allows them to better plan future lessons and attend to their students’ needs