As an English teacher, I always struggled with integrating technology in the classroom. I felt as long as I projected my textbook on the SmartBoard and used the online textbook, that I was integrating technology. It was not until I began working on my M.E.T that I realized this was wrong. There are numerous advantages to using technology in my English classroom. All teachers are realizing that this pedagogical shift is imperative in the classroom. This technology makes the learning process engaging, relevant, and authentic.
One way to make learning more engaging is to incorporate social media in the classroom. Since students are already comfortable with these tools, this tool makes learning more engaging. Educators in a high school setting are moving to a more open-minded approach with respect to social media (Mao 2014). Social media can be an amazing way to connect to other learners and share information. As teachers begin to incorporate social media, students will become more engaged in the educational process.
While incorporating social media is important, it is crucial to increase student engagement. Technology allows the teacher to create an engaging, student-centered classroom. There are numerous initiatives that assist in creating this type of learning environment. For example, Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) is a pedagogical innovation focused on constructivist teaching and learning (Shieh 2012). Initiatives like TEAL encourage the educator to rethink the pedagogies driving their instruction. The current move in education requires an educational shift. Without this shift, students will be left woefully underprepared for the future job market.
Including technology in the K-12 setting is an important shift; however, it is one that many educators, and students, are not yet comfortable. Many educators are considered “digital natives”, and their understanding of meaningfully integrating technology is minimal. In fact, many researchers are now assessing the meaningful use of technology in the classroom. For example, Gu, Zhu, & Guo (2013) are researching both teachers and students to assess digital natives and the digital divide. Additionally, they are assessing the attitudes of educators while implementing the technology. In order to gauge the success of technology integration in the classroom, it is important that this type of study exists. Many teachers today know that technology is an important classroom component.
Finally, there is an abundance of research to support what all teachers already know. Integrating technology in the classroom increases engagement, relevancy, and authenticity. Many teachers are looking to move from theory to practice (Robyler 2016). The shift is happening, and many teachers are now realizing the importance in integrating technology in the curriculum. Technology has moved passed the whiteboard as a glorified projector. Teachers are realizing this shift is important and beginning to make changes.
Gu, X., Zhu, Y., & Guo, X. (2013). Meeting the” Digital Natives”: Understanding the Acceptance of Technology in Classrooms. Educational Technology & Society, 16(1), 392-402.
Mao, J. (2014). Social media for learning: A mixed methods study on high school students’ technology affordances and perspectives. Computers in Human Behavior, 33, 213-223.
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, 7th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133955439/
Shieh, R. S. (2012). The impact of Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) implementation on student learning and teachers’ teaching in a high school context. Computers & Education, 59(2), 206-214.