In recent years our educational world has grown beyond the four walls of our classrooms. As 21st century educators, it is vital that we look beyond the traditional pedagogy and expand our students’ world view. Educational technology can allow us to do that effectively. Therefore, the overarching goal of technology should be to bring experiences and innovation into the classroom in ways that could not have previously been accomplished with traditional teaching methods.
Sadly, the digital divide is still an issue we face in our educational systems today, however, even those teachers lacking the newest devices and utilities can still access many valuable technological tools. Programs such as BYOD, free library access, and teacher ingenuity can give everyone equal advantage. For a classroom with just one interactive whiteboard, a teacher can connect to other classrooms around the world through free applications such as Google Hangouts, Skype, or Facetime. According to Edutopia “Seamless integration is when students are not only using technology daily, but have access to a variety of tools that match the task at hand and provide them the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of content.”
According to Roblyer (2016), technology integration should be based on sound theories of learning. The use of technology in the classroom should align with the needs of the curriculum and the students. Just as a carpenter would not go to the hardware store and buy a tool just because it was his favorite color and shape, an educator should not implement a new technology just because it seems fun and exciting. Teachers should “also recognize how to integrate technology into pedagogy to achieve greatest impact on desired outcomes.” Roblyer (2016).
Educational technology can, in fact, level the playing field and enhance learning in many ways. For example, in the past students were limited in field trips by both budget and proximity. Today, technology can allow students to explore the world through virtual field trips. Many websites such as Google cultural institute allow students to explore lands and cultures around the world. Applications such as Powtoon and Google Slides allow students to present information in a variety of formats. And with the integration of podcasts such as Voicethread, teachers can attend to many different learning styles. With educational technology, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Pearson.
What Is Successful Technology Integration? (2007, November 6). Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description