Integrating technology In Classroom

Abstract

The goal of the paper is to synthesis my learning about how technology integrated into the classroom is beneficial to student learning, followed by an examination of benefits and detriments that are derived from effective integration of technology. Research suggests that technology used inappropriately have a significant effect in teaching and learning. Integrating technology into the classroom is an approach to develop better understanding of basic concepts provided it is applied appropriately.
Research was done through reading current research material that was well supported by data found over the time since technology has become a prevalent field in education. Based on over a decade of research regarding the benefits of technology integration in today's classroom, there is overwhelming evidence that supports the use of technology to raise student achievement. This paper addresses that question by describing several of the benefits that technology brings to education including improvement in student achievement on tests, the benefits for students who have special needs and who are at-risk, improved attitudes towards learning, individualized learning, and the role of technology in acting as a catalyst for change in school pedagogy.

Integrating technology In Classroom
Our society is increasingly dependent on technology and our schools need to prepare students who are competent in technology. One way to ensure the success of learners is to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum. In order to do so, technology integration needs to be clearly understood. Technology integration is more than merely utilizing a computer as a typewriter, calculator, or film projector. Technology integration begins with proper planning by the teacher so that the use of technology is meaningful and relevant.
Integrating technology into the classroom begins with the teacher preparing lessons that use technology in meaningful and relevant ways, using technology to support curriculum rather than dominate it. Technology should assist the teacher in creating a collaborative learning environment and help the teacher transition from the role of facilitator to that of a learner. A major goal is to allow students to use technology, experiment with real world problems and manipulate them to see what
different scenarios will do to the problem. Teachers are most likely to embrace technology integration if they can see the connection between their work and the tools. Technology integration should support the curriculum, and not dominate it.
Technology should assist learners to solve their problems and create collaborative learning environments. Technology is a wonderful way to open doors of learning and assisting students in becoming engaged learners. Technology integration is perceived by some as both difficult and confusing. As our society becomes increasingly dependent on technology, there are still those who resist this change. The Edutopia article "Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum?: The Reasons Are Many" offers this summary: "Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts."
Technology helps change the student/teacher roles and relationships: students take responsibility for their learning outcomes, while teachers become guides and facilitators. Technology lends itself as the multidimensional tool that assists that process. For economically disadvantaged students, the school may be the only place where they will have the opportunity to use a computer and integrate technology into their learning. Integrating technology into the classroom begins with the teacher preparing lessons that use technology in meaningful and relevant ways, using technology to support curriculum rather than dominate it. Technology should assist the teacher in creating a collaborative learning environment and help the teacher transition from the role of facilitator to that of a learner. A major goal is to allow students to use technology, experiment with real world problems and manipulate them to see what different scenarios will do to the problem.
Purpose of the Study
It is clear that since the introduction of the affordable personal computer in the 1980's,
technology has made a big impact in the classroom. As technology becomes more readily
available in schools, the role of the teacher changes to facilitator 'through the thoughtful
integration of student-centered methodologies and computer-based technology' (Poole, SkyMellvain, Jackson, and Singer, 2006). As a facilitator of knowledge, teachers can teach students to become active learners and to 'seek, find, and assimilate data' from various
sources (Poole et al., 2006). Today's society continues to educate themselves beyond the classroom walls and our students must be prepared to self-teach in order to be competitive in the 21st century job force (Molnar, 1997). With the anticipated increase of technology related careers in the future, educators must prepare their students by using technology as a teaching and learning tool. By using technology as a teaching and learning tool, research suggests that students will perform better, teachers' satisfaction and instruction will improve, and our students will be competitive in a global workforce.
In recent technology research studies, positive findings have been reported related to
student's attitude. There are consistent patterns identified in John Schacter's report, 'The Impact
of Educational Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to
Say' regarding an improved attitude of students 'when their classes include computer-based
instruction' (Schacter, 2001). Based on research data, it is clear that when technology is used as
a learning tool, 'students' attitudes toward learning and their own self-concept improved
consistently' (Schacter, 2001). Without a doubt, students who have positive attitudes about
school tend to do better academically. By ramping up the enthusiasm of the students, more
learning will most likely occur. By continuing to study the effects of technology on students'
attitudes, educators can continue to justify the use of technology to raise student achievement.
In addition to improving students' attitudes, research has shown that testing scores have
also improved with the use of technology.
Advantages of Integrating Technology
Now it's time to look at the advantages of integrating technology into the higher education classroom. Technologies can be powerful, enabling, empowering, compelling, engaging, effective, useful, beneficial, seamless, invisible, enjoyable, a competitive advantage, a competitive necessity, and a life-saver. A number of studies have been conducted which show using technology in the classroom to be beneficial to academic achievement. A vital component of this involves exposing students to the variety of technical uses of technology as opposed
to using the computer merely as a typewriter, calculator, or project maker. 'Teachers are more likely to embrace technologies if they can see the connection between their work and the tools'.
In a study designed to examine the effectiveness of Web-based instruction in the writing for English as second Language students , Al-Jarf (2004) found that the use of Web-based lessons as a supplement to traditional in-class writing instruction was significantly more effective
than teaching which depended on the textbook alone. The experimental group of students received online instruction in which they posted their own threads, short paragraphs, stories
and poems on a discussion board. They also located information from the Internet, as well as wrote paragraphs and checked their own spelling using Microsoft Word.
Technology integration in foreign language teaching demonstrates the shift in educational paradigms from a behavioral to a constructivist learning approach. Language is a living thing,
so the best way to learn a language is in interactive, authentic environments.
Computer technologies and the Internet are powerful tools for assisting these approaches to language teaching.
Benefits of Technology in Classroom
Integrating technology resources provides teachers and students with a variety of benefits. Among these are included:
1.) Instructors
1. Enhancing learning resources--This happens when instructors specify sites for students for students to review as well as when students encounter and research sites themselves. Because web pages can be more current than published texts, web updates to and expansions on to published information can augment course content.
2. Expanding modes of communication--Technology provides a means for students to interact with one another more readily outside the classroom through email, listservs and ICQ. These expanded modes of communication are a two-edged sword for instructors, often requiring more instructor time for the expanded possibilities for student-teacher communications.
3. Amplifying discussion opportunities--the limited meeting times of the traditional class impact the amount of time students have to reflect, discuss, and augment course content. Listservs and newsgroups provide an opportunity to extend class discussion time and make it available to students and instructors on an "anytime/anywhere" basis. Deeper understanding of course content can be developed through such discussions.
4. Insuring student access to course information--lost syllabi, homework instructions, etc. are eliminated as excuses when these materials are readily available online.
5. Capturing student participation and production--a logistical benefit to instructors is the ability to capture student participation and production through their postings to newsgroups, listservs, and in their synchronous online discussions. Students or instructors can compile course portfolios to illustrate student progress and participation.
2.) Students
Benefits to the student include addressing learning styles differences, disabilities, time and space constraints and the ability to review further, to provide for self-directed study and real-world applicability of course content.
"Blending appropriate technology tools into the curriculum supports many of the dimensions of learning described by Marzano (1992) in his book, Dimensions in Learning. His model establishes a learning environment in which students develop positive attitudes and perceptions about learning, in which they have experiences where they can acquire and integrate knowledge, where they have opportunities for extending and refining knowledge, [and] where they can use knowledge in a meaningful way." (from: Handler, M., Integrating Technology into the Instructional Process).
Listed below are the benefits of integrating technology in class room :
1.) Technology Improves Student Achievement on Tests
There is mounting evidence that technology improves student achievement on tests
in both core subject areas as well as overall GPA.

2.) Technology Improves the Quality of Student Work
Research supports that technology has the potential to improve quantitative assessment performance in core subjects, as well as overall GPA. However, there is also mounting evidence that technology not only has a quantitative advantage over traditional methods, but also leads to qualitative improvements; resulting in higher-quality student work.

3.)Technology Benefits Students with Special Needs
Improved writing is not the only area in which students with special needs benefit
from technology. One study found that students with dyslexia improved significantly in
reading ability when a computer remediation program, Fast ForWord Language, was used
and that in some cases dyslexic student scores were raised into the normal range (Temple,
2003). It was found that such remediation led to 'improved language, reading performance
and increased activation in multiple brain regions during phonological processing'(Temple,
2003, pg.4).
4.) Technology Benefits At-Risk Students
Another group that benefits greatly from learning with technology is at-risk students.
The Pittsburgh (PUMP) study found that students that may normally be disruptive in the
classroom are more engaged and cooperative when using technology to learn (Koedinger,
1997). It concluded that technology makes them more engaged and leads to better learning
and better attitudes towards learning.

5.) Technology Improves Attitudes Towards Learning
At risk students are not the only ones that respond positively to the use of technology
in learning. Many research studies have found that most students prefer learning with
technology, which in turn leads to a better attitude towards learning as well as giving them
more confidence. In the Cognitive Tutor study, students were found to be more likely to say
that mathematics is useful outside the academic context and to feel more confident in
mathematics than students in traditional classes (Morgan, 2002). Students in the Freedom to Learn study were found to believe that education 'made it easier to do school work, made
them more interested in learning, and would help them get better jobs in the future' (Lowther,
2007).
The students with special needs in the Fast ForWard study, similarly, felt that they did
better on computer based tests and nearly all recommended the program for other students
(Dolan, 2005). Although many studies find that student attitude toward learning improves using
technology, some studies have not found significant difference in student attitude or
motivation (Funkhouser, Winter 2002/2003). However, most research tends to support the
correlation of improved attitude with technology use.
6.) Technology Provides Individualized Learning
One aspect which may contribute to improved attitude toward learning is that many
uses of technology in learning allow for individualized learning. Computer aided instruction,
especially when used for drill and practice as a tool for teaching in a traditional sense, allows
students to take control of the rate of learning and helps them to avoid embarrassment by
allowing them to learn and make mistakes in a non-public manner. Koedinger, 1997 states:
Students know right away that they are making progress and having success at a
challenging task.
Moreover, such computer assisted instruction provides feedback immediately which leads to reductions in learning time (Koedinger, 1997). This is very likely to be a key element in
making students feel more confident as well as leading to better attitudes toward learning.
Such feedback reduces student frustration and provides a sense of accomplishment
(Koedinger, 1997).
The feedback and self-pacing aspect of computer assisted instruction is not only
beneficial to students. Teachers also benefit from the way the tutor programs accommodate
a large number of questions students have. This frees them up 'to give more individualized
help to students with particular needs' (Koedinger, 1997) ' which in turn benefits students
with special needs and who are at risk.

7.) Technology Prepares Students for the Future
The future workplace will require students to have skills related to technology
including the technical ability to use spreadsheets, word processors, databases and such. By
having and working with technology in schools, students gain the skills that they will need to
be marketable in the future workplace and to operate in a high-tech world. However, these
technical skills are not enough. The modern workplace requires that one have more tangible
skills including the ability to collaborate with others, interpersonal skills, creativity, and
problem solving skills, to name a few. Technology, combined with a student centered
constructivist mode of learning, has the potential to provide students with these higher-level
cognitive and interpersonal skills.
The advantages of such a combination have been well documented in The Freedom
to Learn study. By having a 1:1 ratio of students to computers and using a student centered
learning approach, along with professional development of teachers and administrators, most
of the barriers to full integration were overcome.
Finding or Analysis
Technology is not only the way of the world we currently live in; it is changing traditional teaching pedagogy. According to Culp, Honey, and Mandinach, (2003) 'Economic and social shifts have made technology skills critical to the future employment of today's students, and more broadly, to the importance of technology innovation to maintaining the economic and political dominance of the United States globally.' (Culp, Honey, & Mandinach, 2003). Another study done displayed information showing how built in computer equipment and other electronics establishes a creating atmosphere, providing students with the physical environment conducive to authentic learning (Sinson & Claus, 2000). It is always beneficial in education to teach to all types of learners. When their creativity and unique learning styles can be used in connection with technology, one can only imagine the learning possibilities. Culp, Honey, and Mandinach, (2003) say that integrating technology is taking lecture driven instruction and shifting it into more constructivists, inquiry based learning classrooms where students can create technology based projects channeling their own creativity and effectively exemplifying their learning.
By integrating technology one can only conclude that there are a plethora of benefits to assist in the learning of students and helping them to become effective and qualified citizens.
As with any new idea in technology, it is always important that the educator is educated. Meaning that the integration of new technologies should be constantly assessed to show the growth and that educators need to have the support when integrating new programs. In 2008 one article stated that to maintain effectiveness we need to ask ourselves the following questions: is the technology we are using directly benefiting students learning and is it relevant to the current needs and practices of our society (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008)? The same article noted that supporting teachers professional development needs to be shown through more funding put toward the training and support educators need in order to evaluate and successfully integrate these new technologies.
Educators and administrators need to evaluate the uses of these new technologies by researching the benefits of new programs before they are implemented, annually evaluate the uses and benefits of integrated use, and be given the opportunity to share new ideas (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008). Again, going along with any newly implemented plan, technology needs to be constantly researched, assessed, and supported in order to truly benefit the educational system.
Summary and Recommendations
In order to gain a better understanding of the true benefits of technology in today's
classroom, further research needs to be completed on building and maintaining an effective
technology plan. Since a technology plan incorporates a wide variety of components, it would be
beneficial to have data on how the components work together. Over time and with modifications,
researchers could acollect results and provide struggling districts and schools with a research
based technology plan that will meet the needs of all parties. Although the plan would not be a
'one size fits all' solution, it would provide clear suggestions for a successful plan.
Additionally, more research is needed to make conclusions regarding individual
strategies that work best when integrating technology into the classroom. As educators seek out
new ways to engage and motivate students with technology, it would be useful to have specific benefits of technology routines, methods, and practices that show the greatest achievement gains in student learning. By continuing to inquire about best practices at conferences and through teacher-mentor programs, researchers can begin to gather that data and make conclusions about what works best. This research would be need to continued and updated as new technology becomes available.
Through the findings of research over the past decade, the benefits of technology are
clearly justified. With the assistance of technology, teachers and students can both improve their
learning and refine skills necessary for tomorrow. It goes without saying that all students can
show positive achievement gains when paired with effective classroom instruction. Through
professional development and follow -support, teachers can provide the valuable classroom
instruction needed for students to succeed.
Clearly, more research needs to be done in order to pin-point specific strategies for improvement, but overall it is clear that technology is the way to the future minds of this and upcoming generations. When effectively integrated into the curriculum, technology tools can extend learning in powerful ways. In short, these tools can provide students and teachers with access to up-to-date primary source material, methods of collecting and recording data, ways to collaborate with students, teachers, and experts around the world, opportunities for expressing understanding via images, sound, and text, learning that is relevant and assessment that is authentic, training for publishing and presenting their new knowledge.

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