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Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning

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Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning

The growing availability of media resources is changing teaching and learning, as well as emphasizing the need for finding satisfactory and appropriate materials. Though thousands of documents exist to assist teachers and students, specific information is neither easy to locate nor easy to satisfy the general guiding principals that have evolved. Among other things, technology integration must:

  • Meet a broad range of educational goals and needs
  • Be available to a variety of learners
  • Permit sharing and cooperative endeavors
  • Have provisions for assessment and evaluation

Technology Resources

An increasing number of directories are available that contain collections of joint resources organized for specific needs. For example:

  • The Florida Education Department and The Gateway to Educational Materials (www.thegateway.org), sponsored by the U.S. Education Department, are working together to improve the way teachers find materials and resources.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has recently funded the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) to assist educators in making informed decisions in the use of technology for teaching and learning (http://caret.iste.org).

Many organizations are focusing on technology integration, including the CEO Forum on Education and Technology, the Milken Family Foundation on Education Technology, the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, and ISTE. This has resulted in teachers being more comfortable with the use of technology in the classroom. In addition, a rapid expansion of Internet users, whose number is currently about 500 million worldwide and is set to increase to more than 700 million by 2005, will require even more education and training.

Paying for IT

Paying for technology is an ongoing problem. President Bush recently requested one of the smallest annual increases in information technology for 2004. IT operations include PCs, telecommunications, network operations, IT security and application development. The chart below shows the nearly flat $59.3 million budget request for 2004 is part of the Office of Management and Budget's intention to hold agencies accountable for how money is spent. The fiscal 2004 budget is just a 2% increase from fiscal 2003. Though education is one of the smaller budgets, an increase is requested.

Educators are aware that many teachers still do not feel prepared to integrate technology into their classroom instruction. Younger teachers may have the ability to use word-processing applications, spread sheets, presentation software and Internet browsers, but they still need help in applying these skills to teaching and learning. School leaders need to encourage and support technology integration, as well as help establish a reliable technical environment. However, this will not happen in a short amount of time. We have also learned that the availability of the technology is not the solution. Instead, the answer is to establish an environment by using the best resources available to assure that students learn and can construct their own learning environment.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.

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