Technology integration

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Technology Integration is the use of technology tools[citation needed] in general content areas in education in order to allow students to apply computer and technology skills to learning and problem-solving. Generally speaking, the curriculum drives the use of technology and not vice versa.[1][2]

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has established technology standards for students, teachers and administrators in K-12 classrooms. The ISTE, a leader in helping teachers become more effective users of technology, offers this definition of technology integration:

"Curriculum integration with the use of technology involves the infusion of technology as a tool to enhance the learning in a content area or multidisciplinary setting... Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions — as accessible as all other classroom tools. The focus in each lesson or unit is the curriculum outcome, not the technology."


Integrating technology with standard curriculum gives students a sense of power, but also allows for more advanced learning among broad topics. Technology contributes to global development and diversity in classrooms and helps develop upon the fundamental building blocks needed for students to achieve more complex ideas.

Technology Education Standards[edit]

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) served as a roadmap since 1998 for improved teaching and learning by educators. As stated above, these standards are used by teachers, students, and administrators to measure competency and set higher goals to be skillful.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. Their most recent Technology plan was released in 2010, “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology.”[4] This plan outlines a vision "to leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students' daily lives and the reality of their futures. In contrast to traditional classroom instruction, this requires that students be put at the center and encouraged to take control of their own learning by providing flexibility on several dimensions."[5] Although tools have changed dramatically since the beginnings of educational technology, this vision of using technology for empowered, self-directed learning has remained consistent. [6]



Most research in technology integration has been criticized for being atheoretical and ad hoc, driven more by the affordances of the technology rather than the demands of pedagogy and subject matter. Armstrong (2012) argued that multimedia transmission turns to limit the learning into simple content, because it is difficult to deliver complicated content through multimedia.[7]

One approach that attempts to address this concern is a framework aimed at describing the nature of teacher knowledge for successful technology integration. The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge or TPACK framework has recently received some positive attention[citation needed].

Constructivism in Technology Integration[edit]

Constructivism is a crucial component of technology integration. It is a learning theory that describes the process of students constructing their own knowledge through collaboration and inquiry-based learning. According to this theory, students learn more deeply and retain information longer when they have a say in what and how they will learn. Inquiry-based learning, thus, is researching a question that is personally relevant and purposeful because of its direct correlation to the one investigating the knowledge. As stated by Jean Piaget,[8] constructivist learning is based on four stages of cognitive development. In these stages, children must take an active role in their own learning and produce meaningful works in order to develop a clear understanding. These works are a reflection of the knowledge that has been achieved through active self-guided learning. Students are active leaders in their learning and the learning is student-led rather than teacher–directed.[9]

Many teachers use a constructivist approach in their classrooms assuming one or more of the following roles: facilitator, collaborator, curriculum developer, team member, community builder, educational leader, or information producer.


Various tools have or are being used in technology integration[clarification needed]. Some examples of such tools are:

Interactive whiteboards[edit]

Interactive whiteboards are used in many schools as replacements for standard whiteboards and provide a way to allow students to interact with material on the computer. In addition, some interactive whiteboards software allow teachers to record their instruction and post the material for review by students at a later time[citation needed].

  • 3D virtual environments are also used with interactive whiteboards as a way for students to interact with 3D virtual learning objects employing kinetics and haptic touch the classroom. An example of the use of this technique is the open-source project Edusim.
  • Research has been carried out[citation needed] to track the worldwide Interactive Whiteboard market by Decision Tree Consulting (DTC), a worldwide research company. According to the results, interactive Whiteboards continue to be the biggest technology revolution in classrooms, across the world there are over 1.2 million boards installed, over 5 million classrooms are forecast to have Interactive Whiteboards installed by 2011, Americas are the biggest region closely followed by EMEA, and Mexico’s Enciclomedia project to equip 145,000 classrooms is worth $1.8 billion and is the largest education technology project in the world.
  • Interactive whiteboards can accommodate different learning styles, such as visual, tactile, and audio.[10]

Interactive Whiteboards are another way that technology is expanding in schools. By assisting the teacher to helping students more kinestically as well as finding different ways to process there information throughout the entire classroom.

Student Response Systems[edit]

Student response systems consist of handheld remote control units, or response pads, which are operated by individual students. An infrared or radio frequency receiver attached to the teacher's computer collects the data submitted by students. The CPS (Classroom Performance System),[11] once set, allows the teacher to pose a question to students in several formats. Students then use the response pad to send their answer to the infrared sensor. Data collected from these systems is available to the teacher in real time and can be presented to the students in a graph form on an LCD projector. The teacher can also access a variety of reports to collect and analyze student data. These systems have been used in higher education science courses since the 1970s and have become popular in K-12 classrooms beginning in the early 21st century.

Audience Response Systems (ARS) can help teachers analyze, and act upon student feedback more efficiently. For example, with, students text in answers via mobile devices to warm-up or quiz questions. The class can quickly view collective responses to the multiple-choice questions electronically, allowing the teacher to differentiate instruction and learn where students need help most.[12]

Combining ARS with peer learning via collaborative discussions has also been proven to be particularly effective. When students answer an in-class conceptual question individually, then discuss it with their neighbors, and then vote again on the same or a conceptually similar question, the percentage of correct student responses usually increases, even in groups where no student had given the correct answer previously.[13]

Among other tools that have been noted as being effective as a way of technology integration are podcasts, digital cameras, smart phones, tablets, digital media, and blogs.

Mobile Learning[edit]

A mobile device is essentially any device that is portable and has internet access and includes, tablets, smart phones, cell phones, e-book readers, and mp3 players.[14] As mobile devices become increasingly common personal devices of K-12 students, some educators seek to utilize downloadable applications and interactive games to help facilitate learning. This practice can be controversial because many parents and educators are concerned that students would be off-task because teachers cannot monitor their activity.[15] This is currently being troubleshooted by forms of mobile learning that require a log-in, acting as a way to track engagement of students.[16]


According to findings from four meta-analyses, blending technology with face-to-face teacher time generally produces better outcomes than face-to-face or online learning alone. Research is currently limited on the specific features of technology integration that improve learning. Meanwhile, the marketplace of learning technologies continues to grow and vary widely in content, quality, implementation, and context of use.[17]

Research shows that adding technology to K-12 environments, alone, does not necessarily improve learning. What matters most to implementing mobile learning is how students and teachers use technology to develop knowledge and skills and that requires training.[18] Successful technology integration for learning goes hand in hand with changes in teacher training, curricula, and assessment practices.[19]

An example of teacher professional development is profiled in Edutopia’s Schools That Work series on eMints, a program that offers teachers 200 hours of coaching and training in technology integration over a two year span.[20] In these workshops teachers are trained in practices such as using interactive whiteboards and the latest web tools to facilitate active learning. In a 2010 publication of Learning Point Associates, statistics showed that students of teachers who had participated in eMints had significantly higher standardized test scores than those attained by their peers.[21]

Project-based activities[edit]


a cyberHunt, or internet scavenger hunt, is a project-based activity which helps students gain experience in exploring and browsing the internet. A CyberHunt may ask students to interact with the site (i.e.: play a game or watch a video), record short answers to teacher questions, as well as read and write about a topic in depth. There are basically 2 types of cyberhunts:

  • A simple task, in which the teacher develops a series of questions and gives the students a hypertext link to the URL that will give them the answer.
  • A more complex task, intended for increasing and improving student internet search skills. Teachers ask questions for students to answer using a search engine.


WebQuests are student-centered, web-based curricular units that are interactive and use Internet resources. The purpose of a webQuest is to use information on the web to support the instruction taught in the classroom. A webQuest consists of an introduction, a task (or final project that students complete at the end of the WebQuest), processes (or instructional activities), web-based resources, evaluation of learning, reflection about learning, and a conclusion.


The Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) provides a platform for creating inquiry science projects for middle school and high school students using evidence and resources from the Web. Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, WISE has been developed at the University of California, Berkeley from 1996 until the present. WISE inquiry projects include diverse elements such as online discussions, data collection, drawing, argument creation, resource sharing, concept mapping and other built-in tools, as well as links to relevant web resources.

Virtual field trip[edit]

A Virtual field trip is a website that allows the students to experience places, ideas, or objects beyond the constraints of the classroom[why?].


An ePortfolio is a collection of student work that exhibits the student's achievements in one or more areas over time. Components in a typical student ePortfolio might contain creative writings, paintings, photography, math explorations, music, and videos.


  1. ^ Teachers of the 21st Century Know the What, Why, and How of Technology Integration, Jolene Dockstader, December 8, 2008
  2. ^ "Why Do We Need Technology Integration". Edutopia. 
  3. ^ Chapter 7: Technology Integration, U.S. Department of Education, December 9, 2008
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  7. ^ J. Scott Armstrong (2012). "Natural Learning in Higher Education". Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. 
  9. ^ Kay C. Wood, Harlan Smith, Daurice Grossniklaus. "Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development". Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology, University of Georgia. 
  10. ^ Alfred N. Basilicato. "Interactive Whiteboards: Assistive Technology for Every Classroom". 
  11. ^ Ward, Darrel W. (April 30, 2003). "The Classroom Performance System: The Overwhelming Research Results Supporting This Teacher Tool and Methodology". eInstruction. Retrieved 20 September 2009. 
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