Trends And Issues Related To Technology Integration
The use of computers in school classrooms has evolved throughout the years, and has become revolutionary in changing the way we teach and learn. Our classrooms should no longer be confined to four walls and a few teachers who are considered to be experts in knowledge. Our classrooms need to keep up with a changing society and a new world that is dependent on technology. As students graduate, they need the technological skills needed to thrive in a world in which technology sets the pace. Society expects the school system to produce functional citizens who have the skills to gain profitable employment, and not be a drain on the system.
Computers have been in the schools since the 1960s, but they were not used in the same capacity as they are used today. The use of computers is still expanding, and the future of education is very exciting when the full extent of this revolutionary phenomena is realized. In the 1960s computers were not widespread and most people who were educated during this decade hardly remember them at all. In the 1970s computers became smaller and less expensive, but the schools still did not use them much throughout most of the decade. By the end of the seventies, computer use in the schools started to increase. Students began to have hands-on experience.
In less than a decade, computer use progressed from programming classes for a few of the better students, to literacy classes for all students, to the integration of computers and technology into the curriculum. Now, there is a goal for educators to use technology as a tool in efforts to teach more effectively by using a variety of strategies to meet different needs in a diverse classroom. This will take training and commitment to keep up in an area that changes quickly, but the benefits to teachers and students are greater that the effort it will take to stay informed; computers increase productivity of students and make learning a fun experience. They help students become better problem-solvers instead of just rote learners.
By the time a student is in middle school he or she should be able to use software tools such as word processing , data bases, spreadsheets, and telecommunications. But the computer can be used for so much more. The computer can be used as a tutor or for research on any topic. As a tutor, the computer presents subject material, then evaluates reponses and determines what to present next. This is excellent reinforcement for instruction because it can supplement prior teaching, or it can be used by the student to learn what the student chooses to learn in a student-centered learning environment.
The most common use of computers has been drill and practice, but if it is programmed it can do a lot of other things beneficial to learning. For instance, it can be used as a calculator in math, a map-making tool in geography, or as a text editor. It can put students in situations in which...