a In an ever-evolving world, it is more and more important to continue evolving as well. This doesn't mean changing everything that is good, but having an open mind to the changes that might bring the better, more efficient ways of life. Educational technology is a prime example of this. Technology has always been part of education. From a simple pencil, to the original microcomputers, to the newer hand-held devices, and all the ways between, education has benefited from technology. More important than technology, however, is always a teacher. According to Robyler (2016), "We need more teachers who understand the role technology plays in society and in education, who are prepared to take advantage of its power, and who recognize its limitations. In an increasingly technological society, we need more teachers who are both technology-minded and child-centered."
A Constructivist approach to teaching keeps the child's natural curiosity and sense of adventure alive through questioning and exploring topics. Integrating technology into curriculum easily fits itself into this approach to teaching because there are so many ways to allow students to explore topics on their own through technology. Another piece of a Constructivist approach to teaching is the concept of creation. Modern apps through computers or hand-held devices literally allow children the power of creation at their fingertips. Not only do children have a stronger desire to do these activities, there is a lot of extra knowledge a teacher can gauge from these sorts of activities. In such a technological real-world, there are huge benefits to students being introduced to these things at a young age while in school to better prepare them for a realistic future. Using these technologies also naturally creates an opportunity for inquiry-led projects where students can work together in teams to research, plan, and create products. This is very similar to many real-world careers and the skill to work effectively in a team is highly valuable. As life often shows, too much of a good thing is a bad thing and to maintain a classroom solely revolving around a Constructivist approach could prove to be detrimental if the teacher sees holes forming in educational thinking and computing. The Behaviorist approach that aligns with more of a direct way of teaching explicit information can be helpful in assisting technological education in the classroom. For example, setting up routines and procedures for technology safety might be taught more explicitly with steps to follow and no room for exploring. Together, the approaches work together to create a rich, effective learning environment within a classroom.
As educators quickly realize, there are some issues and drawbacks to using technology integrated into the curriculum. Not all technology-inspired activity is good for students. Teachers need to be aware of , and take steps to prevent, activities such as cyber-bullying or privacy issues. Teachers can teach students proper "netiquette" or etiquette while online. These things include never giving out personal information to anyone while online, avoiding harsh feedback that they wouldn't be comfortable saying face-to-face, and learning to properly cite information online to avoid plagiarism. Sometimes, having access to technology is also an issue. Not all classrooms have the same access to computers or computer labs. Sometimes, there are server issues which can slow lessons down, or even completely stop them from time to time. Software might not always be available to all classrooms due to funding limitations. Finally, the digital divide is an issue where not all students have computer and internet access at home limiting their ability to complete assignments as homework.
Even considering the drawbacks to integrating technology into the classroom, there is still a greater advantage to prepare students for their future by introducing technology into the classroom. Whether the teacher is using it to display information, or present it differently, or the students actually have it in their own hands to learn and create, their futures will benefit. I believe it is up to the teacher to understand the role of technology and how to best apply it in their classroom for their students. It is a teacher's job to sift through the less usable aspects of technology and present the most valuable treasures to the students, allowing them an opportunity to use inquiry to guide and explore for their own learning.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson