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Technology Integration, the Use of Technology

It is common knowledge that learning and teaching can be enhanced by the use of technology. Additionally, the new generation of tech-savvy students have high demands about the use of educational technology. Thus, it is critical that school leaders promote the use of technology on all levels of education. In general, technology integration can be divided into three areas: increasing access to education technology, promoting the use of technology for instructional purposes, and improving the effectiveness of technology use to facilitate learning. The present paper offers a brief overview of strategies that can be used to adapt the curriculum for fourth-grade students in Virginia public schools.

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Problem Statement

One of the most obvious reasons that may limit technology use is the lack of access to computers. Fortunately, the situation with access to computers in class has increased drastically during the past two decades. According to Davies and West (2014), up to 97% of teachers report having access to at least one or more computers in their classrooms every day. However, almost 30% of teachers use the computer rarely or never for instruction purposes, while 60% of teachers say that they do not use computers very often (Davies & West, 2014). The reason for the phenomenon is either the absence of computers for all students or limited access to educational resources. In other words, having the means to use technology is not enough because research-based instructional resources such as online courses and instructional materials that can be used in the classroom are needed. Thus, school leaders need to increase access to students and teachers to both computers and educational resources. Additionally, they should encourage the use of technology by adapting the current curriculum.

Modifying the Expectations

The curriculum provides a framework for teachers and school authorities to assess the achievements of students and the success of educators. The current language arts and literacy curriculum framework encourages teachers to use technology to provide instructions for fourth-graders (Virginia Department of Education [VDOE], 2017). In particular, VDOE (2017) recommends fourth-grade teachers to use a multimodal approach teaching presentation skills, which includes using PowerPoint presentations. However, the central problem with the current curriculum is that it does not require the students to be able to use the current technology to make presentations in class. In order to promote the use of technology in the classroom, the curriculum needs to expect the students to be able to use technology to make presentations. For instance, using PowerPoint or similar software for delivering oral presentations can be included in the essential skills. This will obligate the teachers and students to use the technology in the classroom.

While altering the essential skillset in the micro curriculum may be a viable strategy, it is crucial that school authorities address all the possible ethical problems. Some students may be disadvantaged if they do not have access to presentation software at home. Thus, the school should provide every opportunity for students to learn and make electronic presentations on campus. This implies that the teachers are to be trained to assist the students in the endeavor, and access to the computers should be provided to everyone who needs those (Davies & West, 2014). Altering the essential skill set for students can be effective only under this condition.

Personalized Instruction

The curriculum framework for language arts and literacy for fourth-graders in Virginia does promote personalized instruction. The central reason for that is the inability of teachers to provide personalized instructions for every student during class. According to Davies and West (2014), using technology is the only known approach to enable teachers to embrace personalized instruction. Therefore, school leaders need to change the curriculum to promote personalized instructions. However, school authorities need to ensure that teachers and students have access to the needed software that can help manage flexibility in assignments and pacing while helping the teachers to track the progress of students (Davies &West, 2014). Fourth-graders have enough skills and responsibility to operate the needed software. If they experience any problems, they may ask the teachers or parents to help them learn the needed technologies. Promotion of personalized instruction through the curriculum can also increase family involvement in the process of learning, as parents become enabled to learn with children at home and follow their pacing. In summary, technology use can be encouraged indirectly by promoting individualized instruction.

Conclusion

The use of technology on school grounds is central for meeting the needs of the new generation of tech-savvy students. School leaders can promote the use of technology by teachers by adapting the micro curriculum. When speaking of language and arts for the fourth grade, school authorities can modify the essential skill set by including the ability to utilize technology for making presentations. At the same time, the curriculum can promote personalized instruction facilitated by technology use. However, before applying theses changes, school authorities need to ensure that both teachers and students have access to all the needed resources.

References

Davies, R. S., & West, R. E. (2014). Technology integration in schools. In Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (4th ed., pp. 841–853). Springer New York.

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Virginia Department of Education. (2017). English standards of learning curriculum framework: Language arts and literacy. VDOE. Web.

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