Integrating Technology into the Curriculum
Technology has become an integral part of society and education. One of the most important things we can do to prepare our students for the 21st century is to promote computer literacy. However, promoting computer literacy does not mean only using computers for games or drill and practice. It means using computers as a tool for learning and effectively integrating them into the curriculum and classroom.
When students are in the workforce they are going to need to know how to use multimedia to solve problems, analyze data, create presentations, locate information, communicate, etc. Teachers need to instruct students in such skills and use the computers in the classrooms in the same manner. Students should realize that computers and multimedia are not simply sources of entertainment but valuable educational tools.
Computers can be used as a tool for learning in a number of ways. In problem based learning the students work cooperatively in groups to solve a “real world” problem. They use multimedia for information gathering, analyzing and synthesizing data, communication, and presenting their final project. This closely resembles the workplace and enhances students’ higher order thinking skills, problem solving, cooperation, and computer ability.
PowerPoint presentations are becoming more and more common in business and can be used effectively in the classroom as well. PowerPoint presentations are an effective way to present information to students. It keeps their attention and helps them focus on important issues. It is also a way for teachers to model how to use computers as a learning tool. In addition, students can learn to create their own PowerPoint presentations. This promotes organizing and synthesizing information, creativity, and communication.
The internet can be a valuable source of information and communication if used properly. Students should be instructed on how to use the internet safely and how to tell the difference between reliable and unreliable information. Not only can students find research information but the internet allows students to go beyond the 4 walls of the classroom. In fact they can “go” on a virtual field trip just about anywhere in the world. It allows images to come to life and children to experience things that a textbook can not. Students can also communicate with people worldwide. They can write emails to other classrooms around the globe, ask experts questions, correspond with a favorite author, conduct science experiments never before thought possible, and publish information and projects. The possibilities are endless, but caution needs to be taken to ensure students’ safety.
The internet can also be a valuable source of communication and information for the teacher. Parent communication is crucial to student success. Creating a classroom website allows the teacher to communicate with parents effectively 24 hours a day. In addition teachers can communicate with other teachers about professional development issues and search for up to date lesson plans and ideas.
Lastly, technology can be an effective tool for the teacher as well. It can be used for recordkeeping, lesson planning, assessment rubrics, computing grades, etc.
In conclusion, computer literacy in students is essential to their future success. Modeling how to use computers as a tool and showing students how to effectively use this tool will instill this technological knowledge for success in the 21st century.
If you would like more information about how to incorporate technology into the curriculum with problem-based learning click here.