By Ms. Annabelle Villamarin
Primary School Principal
Lancers International School
Technology integration endeavors to support classrooms and have evolved human thinking and ways of knowing for so many years. Technological advancements bring new avenues to research, the acquisition of new skills, the opportunity to collaborate and connect with different communities locally and globally. However, it is important for schools to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of technology integration to fully maximise its potential in learning.
Pros #1: Expands learning possibilities
Schools choose and use different types of technologies in the classroom. Like language, technology has influenced how learning communities work together to overcome boundaries and extend learning frontiers. Technology assists in collaboration and allows for meaningful dialogues between learners in different parts of the world and across different subject areas.
Pros #2: Enriching Modes of Expression and Creativity
Technology literacy promotes multimodality. Multimodality is the ability to communicate effectively using different modes of expression. With technology, teachers and students use print, images, sounds, gestures and animated images while learning; and to make meaning and communicate content understanding (Ryan et al. 2010). Revised Bloom’s taxonomy (Anderson, Krathwohl & Blooms, 2001) identifies creativity as the highest level thinking skill, and this is enriched through technology integration’s multimodality.
Pros #3: Development of 21st-Century Skills
There are new technologies such as coding, design thinking and 3D graphics that help underpin thinking and research skills. Children learn valuable experimentation skills as they explore new technologies. Teachers guide students in learning about technology using inquiry and includes an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking (Wing, 2006). The thought processes that involve problem-posing and solution-finding are highly supported by technology.
Cons #1: Fast-Evolving
Schools are fortunate to be able to use new technologies today, but it is relevant to note that technology tools are changing all the time. New technologies keep changing, and skills required to use it effectively rapidly come with them. Teachers and students need to show commitment to upskilling themselves as new technologies arrive. In addition to this, the cost incurred in upgrading resources to keep up with technological advancement and the waste produced as a result of upgrades add to the environmental footprint.
Cons #2: Inadequate implementation
Schools have a strong aim to integrate technology into their classrooms but may not have the right infrastructure and professional development to implement it effectively. Teachers and students begin to feel overwhelmed with too much to do in too little time and will eventually yield to traditional approaches to learning. Research on technology integration (Johnson, Jacovina, Russell, & Soto, 2016) presented barriers that are inherent to teachers. This includes attitudes and beliefs, resistance toward technology in the classroom, and their knowledge and skills. Due to this, schools will need to have a more systematic implementation process to support not just the learners but the teachers as they integrate technology into the classroom.
Cons #3: Inclusion
Technology integration does not happen at the same rate in different families, schools, communities due to inequality of resources. Reliability issues such as hardware failures, incompatible software between home and school, poor internet coverage and out-of-date software impact technology integration.
Technology offers unique possibilities to connect students and learn about and with communities locally and internationally. These opportunities come with responsibilities for digital citizenship. Digital citizenship refers to appropriate and responsible behaviors when using technology (Ribble 2011). Technology integration emphasises developing better citizens online and schools must ensure appropriate school-based policies on digital citizenship supports the programme.
The focus of schools is learning and there are many ways to integrate technology in learning to enhance student academic progress. Teachers and students should know the purpose of why technology is used and should be able to choose the best tools available to them. Technology integration is about making the best decisions about the purpose of learning and how to enhance teaching and learning practices, ensuring equitable access and sustainability.
Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Allyn & Bacon.
Johnson, A., Jacovina, M., Russell, D., & Soto, C. (2016). Challenges and Solutions When Using Technologies in the Classroom. ERIC – Education Resources Information Center. Retrieved July 24, 2020, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED577147
Ribble, M. 2011. Digital citizenship in schools (Second edition). Washington DC, WA, USA. International Society for Technology in Education.
Ryan, J, Scott, A and Walsh, M. 2010. “Pedagogy in the multimodal classroom: An analysis of the challenges and opportunities for teachers”. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice. Vol 16, number 4. Pp 477–489.
Wing, J. 2006. Computational thinking. CACM Viewpoint.