Posted by Kaelyn Bullock, High School Social Studies
Technology has been rapidly changing our world over the past ten years. It changes our lifestyles and work habits. It should also be changing our education system. Consistent technology integration in classrooms will better equip students for the life and jobs of their future.
One of the many ways technology has changed our world, is that it has put information at our fingertips. Any questions we have can be answered with a few clicks on a device that we are likely carrying in our back pockets. This reality must change the role of the teacher. A secondary-level teacher should no longer act as the keeper of information. Instead, as Nancye Blair (2012) asserts, “the teacher acts as a learning catalyst, orchestrating and facilitating activities that spark defining moments for students.” This transformation became clear to me as I adopted the principles of a flipped classroom, I realized the importance of student-centered classroom rather than a teacher-centered one. My lesson-planning moved away from ways I could make my presentation of information more exciting to ways students could find and interact with information.
Our students are now bombarded with information and they can often be overwhelmed. How can they discern what information is correct and relevant? How can they learn to use the it in a just and honest way? How can they detect bias and gain multiple points of view? Skills to navigate these questions are some of the greatest needs of our students. Whether you see yourself as a teacher that prefers a directed model of teaching or a constructivist model of teaching, all teachers can agree that information literacy is an essential skill for the 21st Century (Roblyer & Doering, 2013).
To truly equip students for the world ahead of them, technology needs to be meaningfully incorporated, not just added on at random times. It should feel routine and logical for students to interact with technology (Edutopia, 2007). While I can be guilty of wanting students to try new tech tools, I am also very proud that students seamlessly share documents with myself and groups members when working together. They regularly share documents for group note taking as well as creating presentations. So while, I’m always on the look out for new tech tools, I am glad that students have mastered the use of Google Drive and use it seamlessly for all of their classes.
Finally, technology should more often than not be in the hands of the students, not the teachers. Limits on resources may prevent this from happening in all settings, but devices in the hands of students is the ideal. Blair (2012) states, “by allowing students to be explorers and designers, educators show that they believe in their students’ abilities and validate each student’s contribution to the class.” The University of Florida’s Technology Integration Matrix (2007) helps to illustrate the levels of technology integration. It begins with entry level, where teachers are using the technology and builds to the point where students are able to select the proper tools on their own and create products that might not be possible without the use of those technological tools. Students creating and producing with technology is much more valuable than students passively consuming information with it.
(2007). Technology Integration Matrix. Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/.
(2011). What Is Successful Technology Integration? | Edutopia. Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description.
Blair, N. (2012). Technology Integration for the New 21st Century Learner. Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryfebruary-2012-technology/technology-integration-new-21st-century-learner.
Roblyer, M.D & Doering, H. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Boston: Pearson.