Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Eight Keys to Success.


There are many issues related to the successful use of technology in the classroom. Some of the more salient include securing necessary annual funding, the development of dynamic plans, and decisions concerning platforms, hardware, T1 lines, software, and so forth.
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While these are perhaps the most obvious considerations, an often-overlooked but crucial determinant of whether technology succeeds or fails in the classroom is a less than obvious one…the teacher. While attention to choosing the appropriate hardware and software for the classroom is prerequisite, it is the skill and attitude of the teacher that determines the effectiveness of technology integration into the curriculum.
Fullan (1982, p. 107), a renowned expert in change theory, stated that “educational change depends on what teachers do and think–it’s as simple and complex as that.” Yet, it seems, teachers are often overlooked when technology is discussed. Before technology can effect changes in the classroom, those ultimately responsible for the classroom must be considered. Teachers must learn to use technology and must allow it to change their present teaching paradigm. This is not an easy task because change can seem intimidating and threatening. Additionally, teachers lack good models to emulate for the effective integration of technology into the curriculum.
Through many years of working with teachers and technology, and through a synthesis of research, the authors have developed eight areas of consideration that has been shown to be important to allow teachers to successfully integrate technology into the curriculum. These areas are: 1. FEAR of change, 2. TRAINTNG in basics, 3. PERSONAL use, 4. TEACHING models, 5. LEARNING based, 6. CLIMATE, 7. MOTIVATION and 8. SUPPORT

Fear, anxiety, and concern that teachers have about change must be addressed. Adults do not change easily. Change of any kind brings about fear, anxiety, and concern. Using technology as a teaching and learning tool in the classroom does so to an even greater extent since it involves both changes in classroom procedures and the use of often-unfamiliar technologies. Those responsible for asking teachers to use technology in the curriculum should be aware that fears and concerns do exist. Helping teachers overcome their fears, concerns, and anxiety is crucial to the success of the program. For additional information about fears and concerns of adults please refer to the writings of Knowles (1982, 1980), Knox (1977), Hall and Hord (1987), Hall and Loucks (1979), and Hord, Rutherford, and Hall (1987).
Training must provide teachers with knowledge of the very basics of computer use. Teachers need to have a rudimentary understanding of how to operate a computer. A working knowledge of standard input and output devices such as a mouse, disk drives, printers, speakers, and so forth, is important. It is equally important that they know how to perform basic system operations such as program installation, deletion, and backing up files. They need to know such basic file commands as Save, Delete, and Rename as well as a basic understanding of directory structures. It is easy to overlook the need for very basic training of our teachers when it is assumed that their computer knowledge is at some standard level, regardless of whether or not that is the case.
Personal productivity skills can be used as a means to foster the teacher’s interest. Those who use personal productivity programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, databases, graphics programs, and so forth, on a regular basis, become increasingly familiar with computer operations. In the process of doing so, they lose some of their fear of the machines while at the same time learn that computers can make their jobs easier. Such programs as Microsoft Works or Claris Works are excellent introductory level programs. Microsoft Office XP and Corel Word Perfect Office 2002 are other excellent integrated programs for teachers to use. Programs that allow teachers to explore the Internet and communicate with others through electronic means are invaluable. Once these skills have been developed, teachers are ready to begin looking for ways to integrate technology into their curriculum and demonstrate its use to others.
Teaching models using technology as a tool in the classroom to help students achieve must be provided. Teachers need to conceptualize how the use of various programs which facilitate teaching and learning. This can more easily be done if they actually see students using technology that has been integrated into a curriculum. Teachers need to be aware of the different kinds of programs that can be used … (by : Noel Bitner, Joe Bitner; on: http://www.questia.com

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