Education today includes a wide variety of technology. Integrating technology into the classroom is important and an effective, efficient way to provide a wide variety of learning opportunities for students. According to Januszewski and Molenda, "Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technology." Educational technology is much more than just the use of technology tools. The big and overriding goal of educational technology should be to redefine how we teach and learn. We need to provide students with opportunities to complete tasks that were previously inconceivable before we had access to the technology. A commonly used model for technology integration is the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentudura. The model "guides the process of reflecting on how we are integrating technology into our classrooms" as stated in Edutopia. In order to do that, we need to start moving away from traditional classrooms. We need to move toward 21st century classrooms where technology is used as a tool to empower learning. Bill Gates said, "Technology is just a tool in terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important." Teachers need to move away from a stand and deliver method and move toward being a facilitator.
There are several issues that educational technology can and should address. The most concerning issues are the lack of technology funding and the digital divide. There is an overall lack of proper funding in education, but even more so in technology. A big reason that the digital divide exists is due to lack of funding. Technology can provide opportunities to even the playing field in many areas. The lack of proper infrastructure and access to hi-speed internet gets in the way of providing those opportunities. Rural communities often suffer the most due to limited or no access. Economic status also divides the equality of providing technology to everyone. Lack of technology funding and the digital divide need to be addressed. This is a great place to focus on improving in order to start closing the gap.
There are four learning theories that drive educational technology. They are behaviorist theories, information-processing theories, cognitive behaviorist theories, and systems approaches to instructional design. Behaviorist theories are the consistent presentation of stimuli and reinforcement. Information-processing theories are attention-getting, repetitive, and provide individual practice. Cognitive-behaviorist theories are consistent presentation of sequences to fulfill events of instruction. Systems approaches to instructional design are the consistent presentation of new information, practice, and assessment. Roblyer (2016)
Technology integration is both challenging and rewarding. One of the most important things to remember is that "there's nothing magical about any tech tool. Real magic rests in the minds and hearts of teachers using digital tools to introduce students to new individuals, ideas and opportunities." (unknown) I plan on integrating technology into my classroom and focus on facilitating learning. I want to empower my students and provide engaging and authentic learning opportunities through the use of technology.
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Definition: Definition and terminology committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. In Educational Technology (pp. 1–14). New York, NY: Routledge.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
What Is Successful Technology Integration? (2007, November 6). Retrieved August 30, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description