The role of technology integration in the science curriculum is to serve as a guide that seeks to enlarge and enhance the objectives of the curriculum. It is a reality today that both instructors and learners need to spend a large portion of their time learning the basics of computers and their relevant usage in curriculum development. Antifaiff (2000) portrays that “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 in that technology enables students to learn in ways not previously possible”. The role of technology in curriculum development and the achievement of curriculum objectives cannot be underestimated. This research paper seeks to discuss how curriculum and technology standards are integrated and complement each other and the role of educators in the effective implementation of curriculum and technology. Towards this, the strategies that support technology integration and the potential challenges that are posed by the adoption of technology will also be highlighted.
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Strategies that support technology integration
“Effective integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology tools to help them obtain information in time, analyze and synthesize the information, and present it professionally” (Antifaiff, 2000). The first and most fundamental step in strategies that support technology integration is to develop a framework for quality instruction. An example of a framework for quality instruction is demonstrated by (Geisert & Futrell, 1995).
This will give a feedback on whether the technology is positively contributing to the quality of material delivery. The frame work foe quality instruction must aim to provide positive measurement of student performance as an indicator to the positive role of technology improvement in the curriculum. According to this model, the instructional purposes, purpose of instruction (objectives) and record keeping should all complement each other for the achievement of the set objectives.
The next step in strategy formulation is to create a class web site. A web site contains a number of materials that can effectively aid the process of learning and provides an efficient way through which learners can communicate with each other, obtain course information, download and submit assignments, and receive lecture notes. Furthermore, the creation of a class website will come with more advantages such as the provision of vital links to more resource materials and study tools and create a forum for the exchange of ideas.
Supporting authentic science experiences is a very relevant strategy in adopting technology in a science curriculum. This avails the needed resources for the effective performance of each phase of relevant scientific activity. In addition to that, some websites provide the environments for the successful completion of authentic science projects.
The next strategy is giving support to scientific inquiry skills in the integration of technology in the science curriculum. David Dockterman (1998) illustrates that “The computer entered the world of education with lots of hype and exaggerated claims. The focus was on getting the computer into the hands of individual students who will improve on their inquisitive skills and it into the hands of teachers; they will figure out great ways to exploit its power”. This is achieved through the ability of students to locate and obtain relevant information in support of evidence to an inquiry. Other merits of adopting this strategy in the science curriculum include making the scientific processes of data collection and analysis simpler. Lastly, it enhances easier communication of the results of a scientific inquiry.
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The next strategy in technology integration in the science curriculum in the support of science concept learning equips the learner with the technique of simulation and the modeling of scientific processes and at the same time provides the needed opportunity in the scientific process that involves the engagement in problem-solving activities. Such technological sites include the web-based chemistry simulation. The last strategy is access to scientific information and tools that expand a learner’s scope of information and avails a wealth of scientific tools.
Complementation of curriculum technology in science curriculum remains as important as strategies for the achievement of the set goals and objectives. This is because the smooth integration of different technologies with different purposes all seek to achieve common goals of the curriculum. It is understood that unless they effectively complement each other, then these goals and objectives may remain elusive. A good example is the adoption of technology that seeks to enhance the learner’s skills in the search for relevant information. This must complement the technology integration that seeks to equip the learner with inquiry skills.
The role of educators in the effective implementation of curriculum and technology
It is within our knowledge that if we expect our educators to effectively implement curriculum and technology with specific reference to scientific curriculum, they must have a higher degree of familiarity with these technologies. Educators must provide both technological support in the implementation of curriculum and technology in two central and important areas. These include both the technical and curricular aspects of the technology. The achievement of higher measurements of student performances rests on the ability of the educator to effectively transfer knowledge acquisition skills that come with the technology integration to the learner.
In this process, the educator needs to understand the roles technology can play and those that it cannot perform. This is because technology cannot replace educators. Technology can only make the work of educators easier and faster. According to Valmont and Wepner (2000),
“Technology can help teachers and students find old information (for example from the Library of Congress Web site) and new information from thousands of sites on the Internet that is updated daily. Technology enables students to view live, synchronous events happening almost anywhere in the world (e.g. MayaQuest) or from space (e.g. the current weather as seen from a satellite). Technology can be used to manipulate data so that students can grasp quickly how a change in one variable in a system affects other variables”.
Educators facilitate the process of learning and the adoption of the technology to the learner. In this process, skills such as the ability to search information, inquire, engage in problem-solving techniques and come up with the strategy formulation are transferred from the educator to the learner. This role of the educator is buttressed by Antifaiff (2000) in stating that “The teacher facilitates learning and helps students transfer ideas to new learning situations”. Antifaiff (2000) explains this fact by demonstrating that “Integrating technology isn’t about using complex technology programs but rather simplifying technology choices and focusing on how technology connects to learning”.
Another role of the educator in the implementation of the technology in the science curriculum is to make the student conform to the curriculum requirements. This must enhance the understanding of the concept of quality. The system brought about by the integration of technology within the curriculum must seek to ensure that quality remains throughout the learning process. An educator should be in a comfortable position to gauge the quality of the curriculum and its relevance to the achievement of the set goals and objectives. In this regard, the role of the educator is to ensure that the first law of quality is well understood. “Control of service –product quality also requires control of failure costs associated with corrective action for students who do not meet reasonable curriculum requirements, as well as ability to adopt new learning technologies” (Kearsley & Lynch, 1994).
Technology plays a very central role in the achievement of set objectives of science. Strategies that support technology integration, the ability to complement these technologies with each other, smooth implementation of these technologies, and the underlining of the role of the educators in achieving the objectives of the curriculum constitute the most fundamental considerations in technology integration. In the field of science, technology remains very vital and cannot be ignored. The practical nature of science curriculum, analysis and question deduction, concept learning techniques of simulation and modeling, and the wider scope of science curriculum always demand a large pool of information and tools for effective learning.
Antifaiff, G. (2000). Integrating Technology into the Curriculum. Web.
Dockterman, D. A. (1998). Great Teaching in the One-Computer Classroom. Watertown, MA: Tom Snyder Productions.
Geisert, P. G. & Futrell, M. K. (1995). Teachers, Computers, and Curriculum. Needham Heights, Mass: Simon & Schuster.
Kearsley, G & Lynch, W. (1994). Educational technology: leadership perspectives. Educational Technology.
Wepner, S. B., Valmont, W. J. & Richard, T. (2000). Linking Literacy and Technology A Guide for K-8 Classrooms. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.