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Growing up, many of us heard that we needed to learn math without using a calculator because we would not be carrying one around wherever we went. Recently, while looking for a new couch, I visited the furniture store’s website on my phone and viewed how different models might look in our space using the store’s augmented reality (AR) feature. I also compared pricing and calculated delivery fees based on where I live on the phone I carry around wherever I go. Technology has evolved over time into something we embed in our daily life. As educators, we cannot ignore the presence of technology all around us and therefore have an obligation and a responsibility to guide our students in the appropriate use of technology. That does not mean that technology is used for the sake of technology, but rather that it is used intentionally and purposely to support learning goals, provide equitable access to content, and equitable opportunities to demonstrate learning.
Since the pandemic, the use of technology in education has evolved significantly. The pandemic forced education and the world to use technology in ways it had not previously done. We are accustomed to technology being an essential part of official reporting and standardized testing, but it has also grown in communication use and all areas of instruction. This growth in the use of technology in education necessitates active research and learning about the appropriate use of technology.
The International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Standard 2.1 calls on educators to “stay current with research” and “pedagogical approaches made possible by technology” (International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2022). Liz Kolb, in her book Learning First, Technology Second: The Educator’s Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons (2017), quotes Diaz and Bontenbal on technology integration:
"Using technology to enhance the educational process involves more than just learning how to use [a] specific piece of hardware and software. It requires an understanding of pedagogical principles that are specific to the use of technology in an instructional setting… Pedagogy-based training begins by helping teachers understand the role of learning theory in the design and function of class activities ad in the selection and use of instructional technologies." (2000, p. 2, 6)
Professionally, educators must learn how and when to appropriately incorporate technology into the classroom.
Children need to learn how to use technology for their health and safety appropriately. To instruct students in the way they should go (Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, 1996, Proverbs 22:6), educators need to incorporate technology intentionally, modeling appropriate use and guiding students in the appropriate use of that technology. This intentional use should consider age, digital resources, and time allotted, all with a foundation of digital citizenship. Digital Citizenship is an essential skill for adults and children. Schools have not just the opportunity but a responsibility to guide their students in the appropriate use of technology.
Technology in education hopes to provide equitable access to content and opportunities for students to demonstrate understandings and personalize the learning experience. One example of this is Microsoft’s Reading Progress. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to allow students to practice their reading skills, identify deficiencies, provide feedback, coach for improvement, plus provide teachers the means to track student progress (Microsoft Learn educator Center, n.d.). Technology does not own the possibility of personalization, but it makes it easier for the teacher while providing immediate feedback to help plan instruction. Consider technology-infused assessments and their effect on student learning as another opportunity. These can provide formative and summative feedback, offer insights to instructors and students, and reduce instructional interruptions by informing instructional planning with often immediate feedback (Department of Education [E. O. of E. T.], 2017). By using a learning management system such as Canvas or Schoology, educators can assess student progress, provide timely feedback to students and teachers, and inform parents of student learning more quickly than paper-pencil methods can.
Psalm 78 shares God’s command to share stories of His mighty acts for parents to pass on to their children, to help them learn to obey Him and set their hopes in Him. Of course, it does not explicitly speak to the use of technology in education. Still, it can be applied to the classroom where we are modeling and passing on the appropriate use of technology to our students and the hope that our students will internalize it (Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, 1996, 78:1-6). Proverbs 4 encourages children to listen, follow wisdom’s ways, and take hold of instruction. Solomon shares what his father taught him as an example to us in this passage. This passage is another model of instruction from which our students can gain wisdom from our models and instruction (Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, 1996, 4:4-13).
I hope that in my lessons and my instruction, I thoughtfully integrate technology. In my current position, I work with teachers and am not in a classroom setting. It is important that I model appropriate use of technology and provide examples of how technology can support and advance learning objectives, offer learner voice and choice, demonstrate the possibilities of using technology in designing authentic experiences, share problem-solving and inquiry opportunities, train students in good digital citizenship, and provide the immediate feedback necessary to inform instruction in a timely manner. Through that modeling, I hope to encourage teachers to use technology thoughtfully and intentionally, guided by learning goals and objectives, and with a solid foundation of good digital citizenship.
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I am a Technology Integration and LMS Specialist by title, but lifelong learner in practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating and exploring resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.