Why integrate technology in the classroom?

Photo by Eric Langhorst on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo by Eric Langhorst on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There are many benefits to taking time and energy to effectively integrate technology into learning tasks, which already will include knowledge/skills/values from the curriculum and various pedagogical strategies. There is a very useful model, called the TPACK framework, and it can help educators visualize the overlap of each these areas of knowledge that are used when designing learning tasks.  In my view, the two core messages of TPACK are that:

  1. technology, content and pedagogy interact simultaneously
  2. choices educators make in these domains when designing learning tasks affect the quality of learning.

Sometimes, teachers in the schools I support want to discuss the rationale for the integration of technology.  Discussing the current paradigm shift (e.g., here, here, & here) can sometimes be a little dry, so often it is useful to share a more direct list of some benefits of employing technology in the service of learning:

  • Facilitate differentiated instruction (consistent criteria but choice of tools / product, supports creativity)
  • Permit greater access to educational objectives and student outcomes (SAMR model, combining technologies e.g., Popplet + blog post)
  • Support a constructivist approach to learning (active knowledge building, cooperative learning, inquiry model, critical stance)
  • Connect your classroom to a global audience (digital citizenship, global communication, sharing learning / artifacts, authentic feedback)
  • Facilitate co-creation of knowledge and skills (collaboration via wikis/LMS/CMS, digital citizenship norms)
  • Aid in the visualization of knowledge, ideas and concepts (creation of images / diagrams, concept maps, media/video production, programming)
  • Initiate and develop digital citizenship (critical digital/media literacy, positive modeling, use over time, discussion of issues, nine elements)
  • Enhance student engagement in learning (differentiated instruction, social media tools, choice, active vs. passive learning, animation, ePortfolios)
  • Professionally stimulating (educator PLNs, connections via Twitter, blogging)

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