Integrating technology into education has become quite popular in schools and departments of education. With the proliferation of the Internet in school, along with almost all students having smartphones and digital devices, the trend of integrating technology into education is on the rise. It is the use of computers, smart devices, digital cameras, and social media platforms and software applications in the classroom as well as the school management. Teachers and concerned personnel are seeking new ways to include digital tools into the classroom and unconventional methods of teaching.
Technology has become a powerful classroom tool now. It not only makes teaching easier but also boosts the learning and student engagement levels. The students are better able to collaborate with other students and enjoy learning. Also, thanks to technology, distance learning has become easier and accessible as well. Also, technology allows both parents and teachers to track the progress of children with the latest software and monitoring apps.
What is successful technology integration? You can successfully integrate technology in education when the technology you are using is:
- Readily accessible for the job at hand
- Helps students in the effective achievement of their goals
It is important that to enjoy all of the benefits of technology integration into classrooms, you choose the best ways to do so. More often than not, technology use is separate which is not an ideal approach to integrating technology is in the learning process. The ideal technology integration is when the teacher and students use technology as a second nature. When you use technology tools in classrooms, making them a seamless part of the learning process, the students engage in educational activities with more interest and attentiveness.
So, here are some of the best ways teachers can begin integrating technology into education:
Recognizing the Relative Advantage:
The first thing before introducing technology in the classroom is to recognize the relative advantage. Is there a need of the students or the subject itself that the technology tool can address? These needs can be low student achievement or reducing student engagement, etc. When you think of adding any technology to the classroom, it is essential that you first identify the relative advantage if any, exists.
Instead of finding a smart device or some interesting educational software and then finding a problem to use it for, carry on a needs-based assessment of classroom and then find the most suitable tool/method to meet that certain need.
After you have identified the need and calculated the advantage of a said tool, the next step is determining your goals. While doing so, it is essential that you ask yourself a few questions:
- What can the student do?
- How long will the students take to do it?
- What is their percentage of proficiency for performing this task?
- How can they show that they achieved their objectives?
To better elaborate, here is an example. After three weeks of using a math software, the students could recall the basic multiplication through 12 with a proficiency of 80% on a 50-minute math fact test. This design will let you monitor your students’ efficiency and progress while using technology.
Design Effective Instructional Strategies:
It is not only about improving the educational methods, but it is also imperative that you take into consideration both the physical and affective needs of your students along with their readiness levels. This way, you will be able to create the most appropriate and result-bearing student groups as well as a flowing activity sequence of instruction.
You cannot possibly start off with a huge technology project in a day. First of all, take some time to learn and also, teach the students how they can or will use a certain tool in the classroom. This is for after carrying out a prior needs assessment. Student achievement and the effort to integrate technology gets affected as you draw out an instructional step way longer than necessary. Make sure that whatever tool you are considering to use in the classroom is thoroughly thought out and is used to improve the learning process.
Formulate an Instructional Environment:
Creating an instructional environment for children along with designing creative and insightful educational strategies is equally important, too. This ensures that the students are ready to accept and learn the new learning methods and technology integration in the classroom. It is important that apart from formulating a plan for technology-based learning, the teachers are aware of the available materials, class layout and the informational distribution parents and students of the new technology. When everyone is aware and there is a backup plan in place in case an issue arises, leads to the most effective technology integration experience for both the teacher and student.
Technology has already seeped into all aspects of our lives so, when it becomes part of education too, it calls parents for close monitoring. When students are using their devices while studying, parents can make use of monitoring apps to the likes of Xnspy to ensure that they are using these devices for studies and not for wasting time on social media or accessing inappropriate content on the internet. Monitoring apps let parents know how their children are using their smartphones or devices. Parents can even block certain apps and sites and, lock the devices remotely.
Analyze the Results (Revise if necessary):
This step applies after introducing technology in class but is crucial to the overall integration plan. This is the point where the teachers look at the set goals along with the various assessments and conclusions about which of the tools worked and which failed.
The key to any effective technology integration plan in education is the revision of the above steps over and over again. Failure to analyze or revise the integration practices lead to disappointment and frustration. Also, there is the unjustified spending of the valuable funds along with missed opportunities for better learning and deeper understanding.
The shift towards technology in the education sector is increasing but that is not what excites the teachers and the various educators rather, it is the academic achievement, increased engagement level of students, overall growth which are boosting as well. Educators must utilize and invest time and attention to plan effective integration of technology in the learning process so that this trend can continue to prosper.
Consideration was received or the editing and publishing of this article
About the Author:
Jennifer Steve is a teacher who also has a passion for technology. She has years of teaching experience and constantly comes up with effective methods of technology integration into classrooms.