Today’s classrooms look quite different than they did a few decades ago. The days of green chalkboards with yellow and colored chalk, overhead projectors, and paper-based textbooks that weighed a ton have given way to whiteboards with dry erase markers, smart boards, and digital books. The integration of technology into the classroom has great potential to help teachers transform their classrooms into better learning environments for their students. However, technology alone cannot improve student learning. Teachers are a critical part in the success of using technology to enhance instruction and facilitate learning in the classroom — good teaching comes first, then technology (Lowther & Ross, 2012, p. 208).
Many strides have been made over the past three decades to help integrate technology into pre-, primary, and secondary school classrooms (Lowther & Ross, 2012). However, a gap still exists between what is currently being done in the classroom and what needs to be done to help prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in life after high school in the 21st Century (Lowther & Ross, 2012). Closing this gap will require a new educational framework that integrates student mastery of core subjects and 21st Century skills (examples: higher order thinking and learning skills, information and communication technology literacy, and life skills) into the curriculum (Lowther & Ross, 2012). The following are weblinks that provide more information on 21st Century learning / education and technology integration at the classroom level:
- The 27 Characteristics of a 21st Century Teacher
- 21 Characteristics of 21st Century Learners
- Top 10 Characteristics of a 21st Century Classroom
- Shift_Learning: The 7 Most Powerful Idea Shifts In Learning Today
- An Introduction to Technology Integration
- Technology Integration: A Short History
- Technology Integration for the New 21st Century Learner
- The Right & Wrong Way to Use Technology for Learning
Next week, the conversation will shift towards how the integration of technology in classrooms has made today’s learning environments more accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI). Smart boards, web-based course management systems, and digital books have been very effective in empowering students with B/VI to take ownership of their learning, advocate for their educational needs, and be active participants in their classes.
Lowther, D. L., & Ross, S. M. (2012). Instructional designers and P-12 technology integration. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed.) (208-214). Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.