Sunday, January 8, 2012

Just What Does it Mean to Integrate Technology

Here we are in 2012 and technology is a booming industry in education. SMARTBoards, Projectors, Document Cameras, Airliners, Clicker Systems, Video and Photo devices, iPods and iPads are invading classrooms all over the world. Teachers and students are being asked to use these new tools, with some having training and others being thrown to the wolves. But just what does it mean to integrate technology?

Does using a projector each day count as a teacher using technology? The pressure is on for teachers to focus on "student use of technology." But what does that mean? If a student places an assignment under the document camera to show to the class, is that student "using" the technology? Does holding a clicker remote really count for student use?

I use technology everyday, but getting my students to use it has been a struggle. I provide ways for students to communicate using technology, whether it is social media or text messages. I assign the occasional assignment requiring searching the web for information and teaching the students how to search properly. I use the occasional web 2.0 tool and encourage students to use it as well for projects. I am quickly discovering that using class time to work on a project in a computer lab is not the best use of class time. But because of technology limitations for many of my students, I have no other choice, which makes assigning projects using technology frustrating.

With teacher accountability changing all the time, where will technology integration fit into the equation? How will they measure a teachers ability to use technology and student use of technology? Then the big question, will it be measured at all? One would hope so considering how much money states and districts are spending on tools and personnel.

I firmly believe that if I was at a 1:1 school I would have much more success with integration. At the same time I know several teachers out there would struggle with a 1:1 program.

So the big question still remains....Just what does it mean to integrate technology? What are your thoughts?
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