Integrating Technology in the Classroom
The push for technology in the classroom is not a new initiative. In the past there have have been many attempts to incorporate technology in the classroom. In some cases school districts did not have funding to support technology while in others schools with technology and resources do not have the personnel and the know how to implement it effectively. In some cases teachers are not provided with the support needed to successfully integrate technology into the their classrooms. In today's ever changing world, technology has found its way into every facet of our lives. The internet, mobile devices, you tube videos, social networking, I-pads and android all comprise the world our students are livieng and learning in. As educators, we must be able to embed this technology into our practices and allow our children to benefit from these technological advances. Although this may seem like a difficult venture it really isn’t. The reality is that most kids do not need instruction on how to operate a computer, we instead need to focus on learning how to teach content with and through technology.
Teachers need to understand how technology can benefit student learning. Technology can allow a teacher to access each and every child’s individual learning style while providing a platform where students can work at their own pace. Technology can help teachers balance the limited instruction time by providing activities, project-based learning, and one-on-one coaching and peer support all while making learning interactive and fun. Well employed use of technology in the classroom can allow teachers to tailor learning to students' individual needs while freeing up classroom time, leaving teachers more time for projects, one-on-one coaching, and more creative activities.
Click here to see an example of "liberated learning" with technology.
Before we can begin to explore technologies in our classroom we need to have a clear understanding of exactly what technology is and what it can look like in each of our unique classrooms. It is important for us to remember that technology can be anything from a simple device such as a magnifying glass or a pack of post-its, to a complex device such as a computerized communication system. Technology is the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose. Technology can include any piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase or maintain the functional capabilities of a child in an educational setting. The implementation of technology, no matter how complex, can help students access materials in a variety of ways thereby increasing understanding. Technology can help eliminate barriers and provide scaffolding that can help students work at their maximum potential.
Although technology is a necessary component in every classroom, its pressence in the special education setting can have a tremendous impact. Students who are classified as Special Education have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Goals of the IEP can be but are not limited to study skills, reading, math, writing, daily living, and career and transition goals. Technology is an impressive tool for teachers students in meeting their individual planned goals. Technology will help motivate your entire classroom while making learning more relevant to the entire classroom community.