An introduction to integrating technology in the classroom

What is integrating technology in the classroom?

Integrating technology in the classroom is how a teacher incorporates some form of technology into their teaching practice to enhance learning by their students. This technology could be as simple as a data projector showing presentations or videos to something as complicated as an app-based assessment tool. Research has shown that technology increases student engagement and encourages teachers to explore new approaches to pedagogy. A virtual classroom, or virtual learning environment, could be seen as one result of integrating technology in teaching and learning. Technology becomes the frame in which education takes places. 

Why is integrating technology in the classroom important?

Marc Andreessen famously wrote an article titled Why Software Is Eating The World. Teachers and students are both parts of a society that is rapidly digitising. The much-hyped 21st Century Skills and Fourth Industrial Revolution are a reality today. From finance to health and everything in between, the world is driven by technology. Teachers need to embrace digital tools to adapt their teaching process to benefit from these tools’ advantages. Ideally, this is integrated into the curriculum, offering students new ways of engaging with educational content to improve their outcomes. When face-to-face teaching is not possible, technology facilitates the communication between teachers and students, enhancing this relationship. Certain types of platforms also allow for collaboration amongst students, peer to peer learning or group work.

How are teachers using technology in the classroom?

Technology has been used in some classrooms for decades now. Think of the inconspicuous calculator in a science or mathematics class. Or the overhead projector some teachers became adept at using. Nowadays, there are a plethora of options available to tech-savvy teachers. The data projector or smartboard is standard in most classrooms, while teachers have a laptop on which to prepare lessons and create class presentations. Where allowed by school policies, teachers can use smartphones or clickers to take a class’s temperature. A quick quiz or poll can inform a teacher whether their students have understood a topic. Some schools have installed a wifi network and bought Chromebooks, opening up online research opportunities and using platforms such as Google Classroom. Teachers can use interactive simulations to illustrate how an engine works or conduct a chemistry experiment at the more advanced end of the spectrum. Some teachers have embraced online assessment platforms and learning management systems when it comes to assisting in class management. For those teachers comfortable with recording their lessons, podcasts or video lessons can be made to allow students to refer back to for revision.

Presentation software was one of the first technologies widely adopted by teachers

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