Friday, January 8, 2010

Technology Reflections

What is the purpose of integrating technology into learning?
Why should we integrate technology into lessons?

When these two questions are considered, a couple of other questions come to mind: what is considered to be technology in a classroom, and what does it mean to integrate that technology? The answers to these questions can greatly effect responses to the essential questions that have been posed. For this response, I will consider "technology" to mean computers, although I do not think that is an appropriate representation of "technology" as it can be used in schools and learning. And, I will consider "integration" to be the use of that computer, although this can have a variety of meanings as well.

So, there are situations when computers are appropriate in lessons and learning and situations when they are not. Computers are a tool that can be used a number of ways, some of which are more effective than others. Because a majority of today's students have grown up with computers in their homes and have had access to the large amounts of information on demand, computers can be used to increase relevance for students in particular areas. Students have developed a respect (albeit periodically misplaced) for information gathered from the Internet, so a teacher who uses information gathered and presented on the Internet can be perceived to be more current or relevant. Additionally, because of the large amounts of information available online, the Internet can be a valuable resource for students to supplement and enhance their learning experiences in the classroom.

I guess that a greater purpose of integrating technology into learning is to use tools and resources that students are probably already familiar with to supplement experiences in class. Also, because of digital communication and technology, our worlds have become larger and more easily accessible, and teaching students how to effectively and appropriately integrate themselves into this community is important.

Generally, it seems to me that there are a number of opportunities where technology (in the form of a computer with Internet access) can be used in learning and lessons. However, practically, there are a number of limitations that can be encountered in the execution of this ideal. For example, in a public school setting, a computer lab that is stocked with enough fully functional computers with efficient Internet access is not often a reality due to budgetary constraints. Hopefully, we will learn how to work within these limitations so that we can effectively integrate appropriate technology to supplement and enhance student learning at all levels.

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