Educational technology has the potential of transforming education, so students develop 21st century literacy skills. A clear plan for implementation provides the framework for the successful and efficient use of educational technology. As Arthur W. Chickering, an educational specialist with DePaul University, and Stephan C. Ehrmann, a founder of The Teaching Learning and Technology Group, note: "Institutional policies concerning learning resources and technology support need to give high priority to user-friendly hardware, software and communication vehicles that help faculty and students use technologies efficiently and effectively."
Develop a Plan
The goal of implementing technology in the classroom is to make education more effective and to offer students new resources and options. Technology implementation also should have an impact on the teaching strategies and methodologies of the teacher. Teachers need to develop a clear plan that details all the component elements. The plan should specifically target the ways in which the technology will be applied. For instance, technology may be used in assessment and grading programs, it may be used to enable students to present information in a variety of ways, and it may be used for research or it may be for creating simulations.
Effective technology use requires professional development for teachers. They must understand how the functions of hardware and software. Additionally, teachers need to revise their teaching strategies in order to have an impact on student learning most effectively.
The amount and type of hardware in a classroom will significantly affect the use and effectiveness of educational technology. Laptops are more suited to some types of learning activities, while desktops are more appropriate for others. Peripheral devices such as Smart Boards, camcorders, digital cameras and audio recording devices will enhance educational technology use. Broadband and Wi-Fi access will facilitate the research applications of technology.
Software purchases should be driven by the curriculum, not the other way around. Appropriate software for teachers and students will support the development and implementation of the school curriculum and learning goals. Software should be a tool rather than an end in itself.
Organize Management Activities
Technology requires management. This includes the physical placement of computers in the classroom and school. For example, mini-labs of desktop computers allows classroom teachers to integrate technology easily into their everyday practices. A one-to-one laptop program provides mobility and allows the teacher to extend lessons outside the physical boundaries of the classroom. Wi-Fi complements this type of laptop program. Teachers will require professional development activities that must be allocated according to need and time constraints. An acceptable use policy should be developed for the entire school community.
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