I recently discussed technology integration with a former colleague of mine who is working on his school’s 1:1 planning team. On the same day, I read a great article by Dr. Kristen Swanson about the approach to technology integration in schools. After digesting both, I reexamined my role as a technology integration specialist and what it means. Here is what I came up with after both encounters.
Technology integration has been happening in schools for years. Every episode, or phase the device or tool has changed. Some dramatic, some not so much. Regardless of the change, technology, in one form or another, has had a consistent place in our schools throughout time. The constant in this evolution is the teacher. The teacher has always been a key component in the learning process and he or she has adapted and incorporated technology as the time has passed. Some teachers have seen many phases come and go, but they have always adapted (at least I hope).
From the advent of the chalkboard, to the integration of the iPad, technology has been provoking teachers to reexamine the way they deliver content and transfer information to their students. But, education has never been about technology or devices. It has always been about good teachers who deliver content or information to their students, adaptability, and a progressive mindset.
While many fear the iPad or even Google, will take the place of a teacher, I’m certain that day will never come. The human element will always propel the educational system forward, but the medium by which we transfer this information will continue to evolve. And that is what we, as educators, must always embrace.
Technology integration is the ability to highlight the intersection of technology and the content areas. In short, the classroom teacher, who is an expert in his or her field is still going to command that room with the intellect and array of ideas, but now, with a dynamic device in place. While some may argue that both the chalkboard and the iPad are simply tools, I’d like to contend that they both possess highly complex operation systems. In both regards, the teacher had to adapt and change with the technology. But this is a good thing.
Technology integration, over time, has provoked teachers to be better and develop new skill sets in the classroom. Although many may see technology as another item on the “to do” list, it’s something that keeps us all on our toes and current in our profession. As I mentioned before, technology will never take the place of the teacher,however; it will continually challenge us to be better in a profession that should never dwell in a comfort zone. Teachers, above all, should be the epitome the constant learner and a consistent example for the students we teach.