Technology is a Vital Part of Education

Posted: January 31, 2010 in STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION
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Technology plays a vital role in today’s educational curriculum. The effective use of technology provides the ability to inspire, prepare, and improve learning of students of all ages. Some of the most basic daily lesson plans can become much more powerful and inspirational to a learner simply by changing the direction of how the lesson is delivered. Technology integration changes a student’s perception and increases student motivation. Although there are many local funding and teacher training hurdles to overcome, research confirms the overall conclusion that technology used in education produces positive and meaningful results.

Test Scores Improve

Students with access to computers are able to utilize programs and technology resources to make a difference in their personal goals and test scores. Teachers can pinpoint, through the use of testing software, areas of strengths and weaknesses for each student. Teachers can also obtain data and feedback on specific lessons and activities needed to improve individual learning. Research shows that schools who do not reach the AYP requirements are behind in technological advances and usage within their district. Those who have access to technology are motivated and engaged in daily lesson performance, thus decreasing student dropout and failure. A study done in Missouri showed that fourth graders improved consistently on their the MAP results when their classrooms were equipped with technology, basic productivity software, and high speed internet connections.(Bickford, 2005)

Technology Prepares Students for Real Word Life Skills

In the 21st century, students require lifelong learning skills and preparation for the future where they will be expected to put these skills to work. The use of technology by students and teachers provides more collaborative working time and team problem solving, something that will benefit them in all aspects of life. Students trained to use distance learning and web communications to dialog with schools and community groups all over the world gain a wide variety of perspectives. Students retain and understand lessons when information presented is relevant and meaningful to their life’s experiences. A hands-on method of working together provides students with a more significant and real world application to their curriculum. (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2003)

Technology Prepares Students for the Workforce

In today’s global economy students must have access to the most relevant computer resources available in order to be a competitive member of the world’s workforce. Technology based curriculum prepares students to enter colleges and universities and to be productive members of the workforce environment. Career Pathway districts integrated technology with learning and career exploration. High school students reported a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work and felt they possessed the appropriate tools and methods needed to enter today’s careers. Teachers and administrators felt they were a positive element of this process and were motivated to continue improving their instructional practices. Student’s grade point averages were higher and graduation statistics rose, with technology trained students expressing more confidence in their future. (Career Pathways in Michigan Schools, 2002)

In order for our future generation to be educated and prepared for today’s workforce environment, it is imperative to incorporate technology into all facets of our curriculum. Today’s society places high demands on the use of computers, multimedia and appropriate technological problem solving in order to be successful in the 21st Century. It is imperative that teachers and students be technologically literate in this generation. To accomplish this, technology must be a part of a student’s everyday learning. This enables all types of knowledge including, visual, auditory, kinesthetic and critical thinking. Student learning and achievement has a more direct positive result when technology is used on a regular basis. The ISTE mandates many standards for both students and teachers to ensure the proper learning environment for our students. Their focus is not only on the use of technology, but rather on the endless possibilities of the learning journey when technology is used correctly. “Taking the journey is critical in preparing students to live, learn, and work in a technology-rich world. “ (ISTE,2010) Let’s prepare our students today for this lifelong journey ahead.

Bickford, Adam. “Analysis of 2004 MAP Results for eMINTS Students.” Evaluation Team Policy Brief, eMINTS National Center, January 10, 2005. Retrieved from
http://www.emints.org/evaluation/reports/map2004.pdf

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2003, June). Learning for the 21st Century: A Report and MILE Guide for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from
http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/downloads/P21_Report.pdf

“Career Pathways in Michigan Schools: A Success Story.” Michigan Department of Career Development. December 2002. Retrieved from
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/A_Success_Stor_Black_white_60632_7.pdf

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Resources for Educational Technology Professionals, 2010 Retrieved from
http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Educator_Resources

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Comments
  1. Andrea says:

    I agree that technology is vital part of education for students. But I do fear that with all the emphasis we are putting on technology it will completely take over all other types of teaching methods. What happens to students that go to schools in which they cannot afford the technology that is becoming so prevalent in schools today? Is it fair that those students will be a greater disadvantage than others? Having up to date technology in schools can cost a lot of money and if schools do not have that money their students will suffer on an educational level. That thought worries me. I do agree that technology based curriculum prepares students to enter colleges and universities and to be productive members of the workforce environment. I also think that technology should be an everyday part of a student’s education as you mentioned in your post. When do you think they should really start utilizing technology with classrooms with the students? We talked about it in my education course and some feel that elementary school students don’t need as much practice with technology and would be fine only having it once a week incorporated into their lessons. That’s how it was when I was in elementary school in the 90’s but do you know if that is different in today’s classrooms? I am a secondary education major and I plan integrate as much technology into my lessons as possible because I think high school students should be very familiar with different programs and how to use the computer by the time they are out of school. One last thing I was very interested to read the section about test scores improving. It never dawned on me this could be factor but I love that technology seems to motivate students to be more involved!

    • Thank you for your comment Andrea. I teach kindergarten and we use computers daily in my classroom. Your state standards could not be addressed properly if your elementary students do not have access to computers more than once a week. Standards are not optional, therefore younger children will need computer hardware and software access as well as secondary education students. I understand your concern about funding. This is a tough area but fortunately there are many grants and funding opportunities for districts in financial need. Education budget cuts are scary for our youth. This would diminish grants and assistance for schools who rely on this for their technology funding. If you have never visited ISTE.org, I suggest you visit the sight. There is undated research and statistics available as well as wonderful educational resources for teachers on how to apply technology standards into the curriculum. Best of luck with the rest of your education. Teaching is such a rewarding profession. You never stop learning:)

    • It is very hard for school districts to keep up with the latest technologty trends due to the economy and cost of all of these needed upgrades. I suggest that your district look into the many grants available in order to upgrade the district in order to meet the needs of the children. I have to make due in my classroom with one working computer at this time. I have been using it on a rotation basis until my district upgrades are complete. Here are some grants available at ISTE.
      http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Grant_Sources&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=23&ContentID=3328
      Best of luck with your technology journey. Fill me in on your improvements at your district or if you find any helpful grants.

  2. Liz says:

    I agree technology is very much needed in today’s classroom. I am currently enrolled in a graduate program, focusing on integrating technology in the classroom for grades k-12 and feel that what I am learning should be made necessary for all teachers to learn.

    Too many teachers feel that computers and technology allow our students an “easy out” for doing work, however, our society is now very much dependent on technology and this is trend that will only continue to grow. By educating our students in technology and offering them opportunities to use the technology, we are only helping them succeed in their future.

    I teach in an urban district where we are currently going through many cuts, however, we are able to receive grants in which we use the money towards technology. Our students attend technology class once a week for an hour as well as use laptops in the classroom once or twice a week. Students as young as kindergarten are being introduced to computers and shown how to properly use them. I feel that this is something every school should focus on.

    Technology has given students in my district a renewed appreciation towards learning and education. Many students can not deal with sitting at their desks day in and day out, technology has allowed each student an opportunity to see, hear and interact with what they have been learning through their texts, etc.

    I have only great things to say about technology and the impact it has had on students and learning. I only hope that this trend will continue to grow.

  3. Liz says:

    This is to just follow up to my last comment.

    I have been given this link http://ilearntechnology.com/?cat=6 from my grad class and thought I would share it. This blog offers more information on technology in the classroom as well as offer many great websites for teachers to use. The websites have wonderful ideas on how to integrate technology into your lesson plans. I hope you enjoy!

    • I wanted to thank you for the web link you supplied to me. This is a wonderful website with many great resources. I am always looking to update my own library and recently started using twitter to update anyone interested in educational technology. I am new to the twitter community. It is such a wonderful tool for educators that I am surprised it took me this long to figure it out. I had a bad impression of twitter from my indulgence of late night reality try. Using it first hand showed me that you should never judge any technology without trying it out first. I now can follow astronauts tweeting from the Space Shuttle Discovery, ISTE, ED TECH tweets, NJEA, Google, NASA, Apple, and so much more. If you are involved in the twitter community, I would be happy to share any resources with you and all people interested in technology and education. You can find me at http://twitter.com/patriciasmeyers

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