The integration of technology into education dates back to the first use of rocks and clay tablets at Neanderthal High. Okay, maybe not that far back but, if it did, I am sure some Cro-Magnon complained that their use was unnecessary. If our ancestors bowed to their wishes back in the day, then we would not be here to argue about the integration of modern technology (like, ironically, tablets) into the classroom today. Note, however, that not bowing does not mean not listening. The concerns of those who oppose technology integration needs to be heard and alleviated for their children, as well as ours, are whose futures we must not confine. Besides, the effort to do so will be fruitless for technology is progress, technology is everywhere and technology is happening.
When you hear of a celebrity tweeting something controversial for which they are compelled to apologize or read about how someone lost a job because of what they posted on a social media site, it is easy to dismiss technology as progress. Then, a story will appear about how an online community has come together to raise money for a sick child and, just as Moses drops a brick on the scales in The Ten Commandments, the weight of the positive overwhelms the negative.
Throughout history, things were always done a certain way because there was no other way until somebody found another way. These technological advances were often scoffed at initially, but we could not live without them today. Streetlights were dismissed by Sir Walter Scott. Thomas Edison said the phonograph has no commercial value (oops). Ditto on the telephone by Western Union. Radio (Lord Kelvin) and television (Darryl Zanuck) are without future. Henry Ford was told the automobile was a “fad”. Nuclear power unobtainable according to Albert Einstein (double oops). Wilbur Wright said man flying was 50 years in the future (triple oops).
It is easy to see that technology is all around us. It is the product of change created by people who took, as Robert Goddard exclaimed, yesterday’s dreams and today’s hope and made them tomorrow’s reality. In order to make this all possible, technology must be incorporated into education so today’s students will have the skills needed to survive and thrive. Technology makes projects challenging and realistic.
Students are not the only ones impacted by technology in the classroom. Teachers, who need to keep current with the ever-changing environment, are less likely to grow complacent. They will find a bond between them and their students allowing for a healthy relationship to foster, thus curbing discipline issues. To do otherwise would be, as Don Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) might say, “silly”.
For years, educators have opined the need to move beyond the early stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension and application – and to challenge students abilities to analyze, synthesize and evaluate. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) technology provides the capabilities to make this happen. The end result will be students who are problem solvers and creative thinkers who can collaborate with others and produce the next wave of technology that will be “the downfall of civilization” and return us to the stone age.
It’ll never work!. (n.d.). It’ll Never Work!. Retrieved from http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/neverwrk.htm
Why integrate technology into the curriculum?. The reasons are many. (n.d.). Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction
Classroom technology integration. (n.d.). District Administration Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/classroom-technology-integration
Bloom’s taxonomy. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_taxonomy
National association of elementary school principals: serving all elementary and middle-level principals. (n.d.). NAESP. Retrieved from http://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryfebruary-2012-technology/technology-integration-new-21st-century-learner