Classroom research is evaluating, examining and refining how and what we do in the classroom. It’s looking at trends and data. It’s discussing and changing what we see, do, and observe as educators and how we can make it better for our students. As stated by Vega (2013), “Technology integration can be one of the most challenging topics to find quality research on. The term itself is a broad umbrella for numerous practices that may have little in common with each other. In addition, technology tools change rapidly, and outcomes can vary depending on implementation.” I agree with Vega the term technology integration can mean different things to different people. According to an online article on Edutopia, “When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature. And students are often more actively engaged in projects when technology tools are a seamless part of the learning process.”
I think the article What would Happen If?… A Teacher’s Journey with Teacher Research by Susan Abbott, raised a good point not only is it important to collect the data but it’s also important to spend time looking at the data and figuring out what it means and how it can help students. Abbott writes about meeting with her research group every other week. In my district teachers have time each week to meet with their colleagues, sharing and looking at data would be a good use of this meeting time.
Just as educators and administrators research best practices for teaching reading, writing and math the same can be done for technology integration. In a report by Cheung & Slavin (2013), they researched the effect of educational technology applications on K-12 reading outcomes. They found when teachers combined the use of computer and non-computer based instruction the effect was beneficial for students. They also found that the use of educational technology had a greater impact on low ability and ELL students.
While the presence of technology in the classroom should constantly be increasing, it has not been increasing at a pace consistent with current data on the importance of technology in the classroom. Teachers and students that rarely use technology are going to have more troubles as they will be slow to overcome obstacles and this causes technology to look more burdensome than useful in the classroom. If technology integration is going to become second nature teachers need to have its use integrated into the classroom daily, so both teachers and students can use the technology repeatedly and repetitively. If technology use is to become second nature as the Edutopia article writes then it needs to be used regularly to allow this to occur.
Abbott, S. (1994). What Would Happen If…? A Teacher’s Journey with Teacher Research. English Journal, 59-61.
Cheung, A. C., & Slavin, R. E. (2013). The effectiveness of educational technology applications for enhancing mathematics achievement in K-12 classrooms: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 9, 88-113.
Edutopia. (2007, November 5). What is successful technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
Vega, V. (2013, February 5). Technology integration research review. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-research-learning-outcomes