Integrating Technology

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.


Resources

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.

 

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Mission and Vision Statement

The face of educational technology is rapidly changing. Technology used to be looked at as a reward. Well-behaved students could earn time playing the infamous Oregon Trail game that was ever so popular in the early 1990s. Looking at today’s classroom, each student has a device (whether it is school issued or BYOD), the teacher has a laptop docked in order to connect to the SmartBoard. This technology has been integrated in order to prepare students for the job market of the future. Many people cannot even imagine what these future jobs will look like, but it is imperative that the students be technologically prepared for the jobs.

While the classroom has undergone a digital shift, so has the educational philosophy guiding the classroom. The high school classroom is no longer a place where students sit in a desk and listen to a teacher lecture for the class period. The shift has been to a more Constructivist approach to learning. While the Objectivist approach is no longer as prevalent, it is not completely extinct (Roblyer 2016). As any educator knows, many classes thrive on utilizing a blend of theories and approaches. This blend creates well-rounded learners prepared to contribute to society.

Roblyer (2016) discusses that technology in the classroom, while it is of the utmost importance, must be integrated correctly and responsibly in order to be effective. The teacher must be given adequate professional development and planning time in order to properly integrate technology in the classroom. The goal should be to make technology meaningful in the classroom as opposed to forcing it where it does not fit. Roblyer (2016) argues that technology integration is not a panacea, and it has never been meant to replace teachers. Technology is a tool that, when used properly, can engage students in the curriculum and prepare them for future jobs. It is crucial for the educator to integrate the technology in a meaningful way. Additionally, Roblyer (2016) argues that technology should not just be used for remediation. At many schools, technology is used in remediation. While this is an important use for technology, it should also be used for enrichment and creativity. Allowing technology to be used for more than just remediation and assessment will create a more enthusiastic response to it in the classroom.

Technology in the classroom can be one of the greatest assets a teacher possesses; however, it is up to the teacher to create a creative learning environment where technology is used in a meaningful way. In the end, the success of the learning theories and tools begins and ends with the educator. The teacher must be given the proper professional development and time in order to properly integrate technology into the curriculum.


 

Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.

Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

For this week’s assignment, I had to create a Google Slides presentation about digital divide and inequality at DeKalb High School.  In addition to creating the presentation, I also had to narrate it using VoiceThread.  Find the presentation here.

Throughout this presentation, I learned a lot of new information.  While I am not a fan of narrating my work, I did find VoiceThread easy to use.  I’m looking forward to using a tool similar to this in my own classroom.  Additionally, I learned that many presenters are too wordy on their PowerPoint/Google Slides presentations.  I found this link shared by my professor to be very helpful.  In fact, I shared it with members of my department, and they are now using it with their students.

Before this project, I did not know that digital divide and digital inequality were two different concepts.  I always assumed that they were different terms for a similar concept.  I’ve always known that technology is not equal in all of the world; however, through my research on the topic (and there is a lot of research) I have found that the problem is much larger than I had originally thought.  This technology was not readily available when I was growing up.  Once I took this knowledge and applied it to my school, I found that the divide at the school is because of deeper problems that are difficult to solve.

Now that I have this knowledge, I hope to enlighten some of my colleagues.  There are many teachers that do not have this very important information.  I also plan to meet with the superintendent about some ideas I have to combat this problem.  While I may not have a lot of solutions, I feel that I can help solve this deep rooted issue.

As an educator, I am constantly reflecting upon my lessons.  The same is true for me now that I am a student.  If I had more time, I may add graphics to my presentation.  I had never used Google Slides before, so I spent a lot of time playing with it.  I have to say, I really like Google Slides.  I find it much more user friendly than PowerPoint.  I spent time this last week trying to convince my department about how great this program is.

In terms of the AECT Code of Ethics, I find it difficult to justify this supporting any of them.  With the digital inequality in my district, I feel like the students are not supported as individuals.  As much as I feel the district is trying to help, I think it is hard to do so.  We cannot force families to pay for internet access at home.  Additionally, the school can only force students to take one computer class and classes are getting cut at the middle school level.  Consequently, many students are not receiving the instruction that they require to be proficient in their use of technology.