After having taught basic computer skills in the elementary, middle and high school divisions in a separate computer class for several years, this year I was asked to becoming the elementary technology facilitator and to initiate a new program of integrating technology into the classroom instruction. I have a lot to learn, as I have started to realize by the numerous articles I have been reading. One article that I recently found got down to the heart of the issue of our new initiative, “Why integrate technology into the curriculum?”
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.
According to this article there are four key components of learning:
- active engagement
- participation in groups
- frequent interaction and feedback
- connection to the real-world experts
Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.
So far my extent of integrating technology has been helping with teaching students how to properly take computers in and out of the cart, passing out cards with log in names and passwords to students, and introducing students to specific online web links from the students’ homepage. I am very excited to learn that our school has already subscribed to a few online interactive programs for students. Our webmaster worked with me to make all of these links quickly available to students from our school’s homepage. I have also starting talking with teachers about the possibility of setting up classroom blogs and wikis to assist their students in using technology. This week two teachers have started classroom blogs.
My job has been fun working with the students. So far, I am viewed as the “candy man” because every time I come into the room it means they will get to be on the computers. Nice position to be in, but it probably won’t last. The newness of using computers will wear off, but hopefully in its place will be the joy of being able to use the computer as a tool for learning. I know in our school the “connection to the real-world experts” also means exposing our elementary students to predators and we want to make sure our students are learning in a safe computing environment. Learning how to achieve both will be a challenge that we, as educators will be addressing for many years to come.