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The Integration of Instructional Technology Into Public Educ
Transcript of The Integration of Instructional Technology Into Public Educ
Earle, R. (2002). The Integration of Instructional Technology Into Public Education: Promises and Challenges. Educational Technology, 42(1), 5-13.
The Current Status of Classroom Technology
In a survey of teachers and superintendents conducted by Jostens Learning Corporation (1997), it was found that computers have had an immense impact in the classroom. The emphasis was mainly on an increase in student motivation and access to information outside of the classroom rather than on specific academic achievement. Unfortunately, some educators are focusing on making the curriculum fit the computer rather than making the computer fit the curriculum. It is important to realize that technology has the potential to produce numerous positive outcomes if technology is appropriately incorporated into the learning environment.
A Closer Look at Technology Integration
In order for technology integration to be beneficial, it is vital that technologies are pedagogically sound. This means that technology integration must do the following things:
-promote problem solving
-provide new learning experiences not possible without the integrated technology
-create deep processing of ideas
-increase student interaction with the content
Forces of Change
In 1951, Kurt Lewin made a force field analysis theory. He said that moving from a current level of performance to a desired level of performance is done by driving forces (creativity, ease of communication, internet access, etc) while at the same time, dealing with restraining forces (time for planning, teacher expertise, technological support, etc.). In order to make changes to get to the desired level of performance, educators must decide whether to increase the driving forces or decrease the restraining forces. Focusing on reducing the restraining forces has appeared to be more productive.
Instructional Technology Defined
In the minds of many, technology means computers. This, however, is a very limited viewpoint. In the past, innovations of technology have been focused on the hardware rather than the process. It is important to realize that instructional technology is a process in which strategies and techniques are used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning in the classroom.
Promises and Challenges of Instructional Technology in Public Education
Constraints and Barriers: Identification of Restraining Forces
The following have been identified as the leading restraining forces to technology integration:
-Access to hardware, software, and funding
-Time for planning and skill development
-Support and resources
-Training and expertise
-Resistance to technology and traditions of teaching
-Vision and leadership
Teachers and Technology
It is important to remember that technology is not the element that will solve all problems. It is not about what technology can do but what teachers and students can accomplish from using technology. It is crucial to help teachers use technology to teach more effectively. It is evident that well-trained educators are what determines the effectiveness of technology in the classroom.
Lessons from our Technological Past
Focusing only on technology as a way to improve schools has been ineffective. There is no one best method for instruction so technology cannot be assumed to be the only method for improving achievement. In the past as well as the present, efforts to replace inadequate teachers with technology always fail.
Principles of Integration
Instructional technology has immense potential for changing the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. It is important to realize that this does not just mean adding more computers to our classrooms. Technology integration done effectively is a process. Change starts with the teacher. It is also vital to remember that technology is not the subject matter being taught, it is a means for teaching the content.
All new ideas come with promises and challenges. In regards to technology integration, there is great need to focus on the teacher and the student and not just the technology.