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Technology integration can be advantageous for teachers, students, administrators, and parents. Technology enables dynamic media like audio, video, and interactive software to be more readily exploited, allows students to collaborate in ways that were previously impossible, and provides tools to increase teacher productivity.
Why Use Technology?Edit
- Engagement: Using technology involves students in the learning process. Students using technology become active in the learning process instead of passive listeners. One-to-one technology enables access, manipulation, and presentation of information and knowledge. It can be a very creative process, especially with multimedia. Using technology can reduce discipline problems if students are more interested in their work. Using technology allows students to take ownership of their work. When students are empowered to find their own answers, the learning process becomes much more interesting. Technology allows opportunities for multimedia and interactivity that are impossible with more traditional instructional techniques.
- Empowerment: Using technology transforms the teacher from authority-expert to facilitator when the students are guided to use technology to find answers online. Students are transformed from passive recipients of the teacher's knowledge to active participants in knowledge-seeking and knowledge-construction. Teachers often learn new technology programs along with students.
- Access to Information & Communication: The internet provides access to an incredible array of information sources, media, and communications.
- School-Home Connections: Technology can offer increased accessibility if the students have computer and internet access in their homes. In these situations, assignments, activities, assessments, multimedia, etc. can be provided over the web and completed anywhere, providing for a wider range of instructional opportunities for anytime anywhere learning.
- Differentiation: Technology frequently provides greater opportunities for differentiation for students. Computers targeted at multimedia applications showing pictures, sounds, and videos are conducive to the learning styles of various learners. Additionally, several software programs have exercises that are targeted at differentiating to the various academic levels of students in the classroom by assigning an initial pre-assessment and developing tailor-made activities to improve areas of weakness.
- Transparency: Student use of technology can make the thinking and problem-solving process more transparent to the teacher. Digital files can provide documentation of the processes the student has engaged in to solve problems. It is often easier to store and retrieve these files electronically than on paper. Screen-monitoring software allows teachers to observe students in the process of classwork.
- Efficiency: Using technology can reduce the workload on the teacher for mundane tasks such as organization and distribution of electronic learning materials, grading of multiple choice questions.
- Cooperative Grouping and Collaboration: Educators frequently utilize cooperative grouping strategies and technology integration at the same time since technology is very conducive to group work, team problem solving, etc. Having students work in partnerships or small groups with a computer based activity as a guide allows students to work collaboratively to complete a technology-based activity. Using technology allows for the free exchange of information. The widespread use of compatible text, presentation, and image software allows information to be exchanged more easily than ever before.
- Archiving: Technology allows teachers to more efficently save and document student work for archival purposes. Whether it be students working on a paper that is saved under their name or scanning in classroom worksheets that identify where a student is in their learning at a set point of time, technology gives the power to save information in ways that are impossible through traditional means. This leads to several advantages like tracking student progress over time or looking back to see what areas need improvement. Computers provide easy storage and access to a student's accumulating portfolio of work. By viewing previous work, students can better gauge their own progress and avoid repeating tasks already accomplished.
- Preparation for College & Career: With computers and various forms of technology moving more prominently into the mainstream of typical life and business, it is important to expose our students to different types of technology. Gaining experience in word processing, various software programs, internet research, etc. are essential educational needs for students to become successful in the workplace. Using technology allows for a smooth transition from school to work and school to college. Technology is used everywhere - in math, science, engineering, transportation, manufacturing, and every business application you can think of. From sales transactions and inventory control, to e-commerce, the uses for technology are limitless.
- Reflection of Current Practice: Using technology is familiar to today’s middle class students. Technology use is part of the normal learning process for many of these students; it is in their “comfort zone” and highly integrated into their non-school life in forms of gaming, messaging, cell phones, etc. For those students who are not conversant with technology in their non-school life, the use of technology in school is critical. It can quickly becoming a social justice issue. Middle class kids with access to technology can teach themselves and each other how to use it. School simply becomes irrelevant to them in their technology use. That is bad enough. For at-risk students, schools without technology resources are dangerous to their ability to succeed.
- Problem-Solving and Project-Based Learning: Developing deep competency using the problem solving environment provided by the computer. Technology helps promote a positive shift toward more project based, hands on learning, away from lecture based learning. Lecture based learning will not, and should not, disappear. However, the information manipulation environment provided by one-to-one technology allows teachers to reduce their reliance on lecturing.
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Subject-Area Reasons for Using TechnologyEdit
- Writing Across the Curriculum: Word processing software makes writing a significantly more enjoyable process for students. Students will do more writing and revision when they have access to word-processing software.
- Mathematics can be made much richer and engaging by helping students explore math with the aid of software tools like spreadsheets, Geometer's SketchPad, Mathematica, and Maple. Science education can be greatly enhanced by the data gathering, data analysis, and simulation software tools that run within the digital workshop that computers provide.
- History, Social Studies, and Current Events instruction can be tremendously enriched by students having immediate access to the vast wealth of information available on the Internet including news, primary sources, and databases.
- Foreign Language instruction success correlates highly with the time students are able to spend in immersive environments. The multimedia capabilities of laptops allow students to spend more time listening and speaking in the language of instruction. With the right software, and a set of headphones, a laptop can function just like a language lab work station. Laptops also provide access, through the Internet, to the media of the countries where the language of instruction is the native language.
- Art, Music, and Drama instruction is significanly enhanced when students use various software programs to assist in the creation of artwork, music, scripts and digital video. Students can visit virtual museums, listen to or watch great performances, and have their own music practice supported and analyzed.
In sum, enabling students with laptops helps create a more humane school environment in which repetitive tasks are minimized and exploratory and creative tasks are maximized. The special gift we humans possess is the ability to think. Since the computer is a tool for supporting thinking, use of laptops will not dehumanize education but will instead rehumanize it.
Responses to SkepticsEdit
There have been several well publicized newspaper articles about the expense and lack of results of laptop programs. Responses to these articles have been collected on the Responses to Skeptical Articles page of this wiki.
This list was synthesized from several sources. Please improve upon it! --Demetri 13:33, 30 October 2007 (UTC)