Do Your Classes Include Technology Integration?
Whether you include it in your instruction or not, the students in your classes are using technology. Unfortunately, their access is not always school-related.
You can change that if you’re willing to require that students use technology as part of their learning experience. The first step to authentic technology integration in any classroom lies in differentiating how students use technology. Would you rather that your students be entertained or be accountable?
Screen time is not purposeful engagement
Today’s teens spend nearly nine hours online daily. These sixty-some hours a week are not nearly as productive as they seem. Much of the time is spent gaming, watching videos, and interacting via social networks. Limiting the time students engage in using technology isn’t the answer. We should be increasing the time our children spend using purposeful technology.
Parents love seeing their children meet milestones in development. So do their teachers. Just as there are milestones for crawling, walking, and dressing, there are milestones for integrating technology purposefully.
Rasmussen College recommends some of the following skills for every age:
- Toddlers: Engage in video conference calls, activate and use dance apps, and learn basic mobile device control techniques.
- Preschoolers: Tell stories using stop-motion video technology, write and collaborate digitally with other children, and create performances by using video features.
- Elementary age students: Learn how to code, interact with simple apps, read ebooks, design products using 3D printers.
- Middle school students: Engage in online research, develop presentations, create digital content for a variety of purposes, create calendars, and use simple spreadsheet formulas.
- High school students: Use a variety of technology tools that enhance their work, including apps, software, digital models
At every age, students must demonstrate responsible digital citizenship skills. As the students meet more milestones, their familiarity with technology will grow as well. So will their confidence. As a result, our students will be better prepared for a future that is already here.
Technology integration in higher education
Unfortunately, many professors avoid requiring the use of technology in higher education. Why do so many college courses leave out technology integration? There’s a fear among some professors that technology integration will take up too much time. Others feel uncomfortable requiring that their students use tools they themselves have not learned to use.
Even if our students have grown up with technology, we must encourage them to integrate it into their advanced studies. To do anything less cheats our students out of a tech-rich future that is sure to leave them behind if they are not ready for it.
Of course, college students benefit from having balance in their lives. We must encourage them to pursue their passions beyond academia. We want them to discover the joy in learning and the inspiration in creating non-digital pursuits. However, we do our students a huge disservice if we do not also challenge their use of technology and get them to incorporate it into their college assignments.