At the beginning of 2020, the world experienced an event like no other. By now I am sure you know what I am talking about. The global pandemic to this day continues to wreak uncertainty and disruption into the lives of many around the world.
The one thing which I believe has truly emerged and has come of age now is the integration of technology in the classroom. It is because many people have begun to understand the significance of technology in society and the beneficial changes that it can bring with it. Using technology in teaching and learning has also grown in volume and later you will about key technology for the classroom that will enable you to achieve your goals.
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There is no doubt that we all live in a world of significant change today. As a consequence, those of us in education, such as yourself, look for better ways to integrate technology in the classroom so as not to disadvantage students in your classroom.
Since you are reading this article, you are just one of those seeking free information on the best practices on how to integrate technology in the classroom. The integration of technology in the classroom is now more significant than ever before not only because no one can afford not to continue educating children through the use of technology in the classroom, but also because the society by which your educational institution resides has changed significantly due to the pandemic and the ever-increasing need for technology that is integrated into our lives already being of much greater use for people, businesses and corporations.
The question that I get asked a lot is 'how would you integrate technology in the classroom?'
This article, therefore, will discuss and highlight how to integrate technology in the classroom by providing practical and immediately actionable advice on strategies that you can use today. It will enable you to make sound instructional decisions that will in the end make an impact on student learning and also prepare young children for an ever increasing technology integrated society. The integration of technology in the classroom that you will be able to gain further expertise on will result in effectively use an integrated curriculum and as research has proven, enhance student learning along the way.
The following will outline the foundations for you to successfully integrating technology in the classroom today. You will find more specific examples in our technology in the classroom professional development where I you will get lesson plan templates, teaching resources and much more.
The Fundamentals to Successful Technology Integration in the Classroom
When using technology for teaching, I follow these steps regardless of the subject that I am teaching. The specific technology for the classroom meets the criteria set to ensure that effective technology integration in the classroom is achieved.
Later, I will provide examples of activities using technology in the classroom in future blogs. Already you know from earlier blogs ways of integrating science and technology in the classroom.
For me the following steps is how teachers should use technology in the classroom.
Step 1. Understand what technology integration in the classroom is
Why is this important?
This is important because it does not mean seeking the latest and greatest technology to integrate in the classroom. Research has indicated that successful technology integration can be achieved with just one computer in the classroom, or one laptop in the classroom, or one digital camera, or one tablet computer.
With the pandemic, there has been a rush on looking for the best practices for technology integration and the best ICT tools for teaching and learning. This has been evident in web page visits over the past year and a half.
You don’t need to seek technology in the classroom if you already have it.
What is technology integration in the classroom?
Successful technology integration in the classroom is about imagining the potential of the available technology in the context in which it will be taught.
It is also about developing student ICT capability because the key element in both technology integration and ICT capability is in fact the transparency of technology. It is when students use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in a much-focused manner within meaningful and subject-related learning activities to achieve learning outcomes that you have set for them. They hardly notice that they are using technology themselves.
Step 2. Understand how children learn with ICT
Why is this important?
If your ultimate aim as a teacher is to develop ICT capability which is in fact successful technology integration in the classroom, then you must understand how students will learn with ICT. The learning theories that underpin the way ICT supports learning are significant in enabling effective student learning with ICT in subjects. Additionally, it will help you to understand the role of ICT in learning.
What are learning theories?
A brief review of the theoretical ideas concerning learning that may be used to help understand what is happening during the use of ICT processes would indicate the following:
- Social constructivism
- ‘Brain-based ideas
- Affective aspects
Each of these I discuss more in detail and refer to in my online PD about how to integrate technology in the classroom.
Step 4. Understand what technology you need
Why is this important?
Some types of technology in the classroom do not develop ICT capability and therefore, will result in the ineffective integration of technology in learning. As ICT capability not only is technology integration but also more than just the teaching of ICT skills and techniques, understanding what they are is significant.
ICT tools for teaching and learning
As a general guideline, in selecting a technology tool to be integrated in a lesson I should use these guidelines:
- Content-free or generic;
- Challenges students intellectually;
- Facilitates higher order thinking skills as there is a high level of decision-making by students;
- Enables the students to use it as a tool and;
- Ensures that students have full control.
Here is my list of the best technology examples in the classroom.
Step 5. Make sound instructional decisions
Why is this important?
If technology integration is not supported by evidence based teaching strategies for technology in the classroom then the development of ICT capability in meaningful and purpose-driven learning activities will not occur. Additionally, there will be the haphazard development of ICT skills and your technology integration will be ineffective.
What are teaching strategies for technology in the classroom?
Whenever I am asked ‘how would you integrate technology in the classroom’ my best advice would involve the incorporate of teaching strategies for technology in the classroom. So what are they?
I would always begin by the following:
Embed formative assessment strategies – this is essential because ICT capability components are mainly practical and you cannot assess a student’s capabilities by judging their final product. However, I would also start with this at the beginning of every year or for every new student that enters my learning environment. A pre-test is normally conducted with a set of ICT techniques that I have already assumed the student might have.
I then monitor with a checklist those ICT techniques and from here I plan for learning progression in ICT capability.
Evidence based teaching strategies for technology in the classroom – you will find in my technology integration professional development courses online these strategies that been derived from past research and studies on the most ICT capable schools to date. Advice on these strategies is practical and immediately actionable.
What I deliver will ultimately build your expertise on how to integrate technology in the classroom as they are proven strategies. Our technology integration professional development workshops will achieve through the application of:
- Building on student’s home use of ICT;
- Stimulating and structuring activities;
- Monitoring and intervening at appropriate times;
- Organising the classroom appropriately.
These are the fundamentals and will begin to answer how to integrate technology in the classroom. Integrating technology in the classroom is not about just exposing to students to technology in learning activities.
It is significant that you understand that today there are many ideas out that discuss just ideas about what technology to use in the classroom. However, the above outlines what you truly need to understand about how to integrate technology in the classroom.
If you want to learn more sample our free online professional development for teachers using technology in the classroom today. We provide online professional development for technology integration in the classroom.
How to Effectively use ICT in Education?
Free Online technology integration professional development
You will learn my top 5 strategies to effectively integrate technology in the classroom today. Plus one BONUS strategy. This free online PD for teachers will give you the head start you need when using technology in teaching.