The story so far…There was a time (and in some places it still is) when technology in the classroom of a school meant either having a room equipped with audio visual devices, usually a tape recorder and a VCR or advertising your school as a smart class equipped school with some classrooms fitted with projectors connected to a new generation writing board called the smart board. It all started with using these facilities in regular periodic classes showing children educational content.
Those were the days when teachers were to be coaxed and sometimes forced to make use of the topic wise available electronic academic content at least for a fixed mandatory number of hours .The content sometimes not up to mark but not easily recognizably so, did serve the purpose of a break from monotonous class schedules for both students and teachers. Teachers mostly stuck with the idea of anything to do with the computers being an automatic referral to the computer teacher! Real beneficiaries of the set up being the top level students with the gap between there content clarity and mastery of a topic being bridged.
A good start no doubt ! What now ?
Today the ability to use technology is not under a scanner at all! Use of smart phones, social media and fondness for making home videos and picture collages have very easily taken care of that hurdle! Most good schools today are in a position to use technology as an instructional tool rather than just a subject of instruction. However, complete seamless integration is still a far cry generally.
Need of the hour therefore, is to introduce technology seamlessly into our school lessons and school work by teachers for both themselves and students. Teachers must comfortably shift from digital to traditional and vice versa as and when required .Students must employ technology daily in the classroom using a variety of tools to complete assignments and create projects that show a deep understanding of content.
Some of the ways of Technology Integration in a School Classroom
- Teacher specific tools
- Online learning and blended classrooms
- Project-based activities
- Game-based learning
- Learning with mobile devices
- Instructional tools like interactive whiteboards and student response systems
- Web-based projects, explorations, and research
- Student-created media
- Collaborative online tools like wikis or google docs
- Using social media to engage students
- Flipped classrooms
Some reasons for teacher resistance to the usage:
- It is hard to affect change in the way one teaches, especially given that many educators work confidently with familiar and proven methods.
- Already working hard, teachers may understandably be wary of anything with the potential of making their job more complicated .
- Using technology or to be more specific even only electronic academic content requires meticulous planning and time even if it is for lower classes. The added time might prove to be a deterrent for some.
What might help:
- Including teachers in the decision making processes to evaluate the extent of use and what to use helps to a certain extent .
- Though the planning and execution of how new technology will be integrated are important, at the end of the day, what matters most when selecting technology is its ease of use.
- There can be no substitute for the time spent on planning .Planning HAS to be done with proper time spent on it. This, is where a Head who is himself /herself well planned can help. Regular integration of time slots for academic content planning right down to the micro level within the school time schedule itself is a big help.
Technology, is here to stay and students today are coming to class with more and more technical know-how whether a teacher likes it or not. There are still many educators, less familiar and less comfortable with technology than their students, struggling to seamlessly integrate a growing list of technology tools into their regular curriculum.
So it’s high time we educators came out of our comfortable stupor, stemming out of a superiority claimed due to experience .Let’s decide, we want to reach the top of the pyramid of technology integration or no!