What Is Technology Integration?
The answer to this may seem obvious, but in all actuality, the question is a valid one.
Although schools and districts are increasing their technology budgets and reportedly spending big bucks on teacher professional development, equipment and personnel, studies show that the educational arena lags behind other sectors in the quality and frequency in which technology is merged into day-to-day operations.
Despite the fact that we are living in the “age of technology,” many teachers still remain uncomfortable with the idea of integrating it into classrooms. This is due to several factors, including lack of preparation and tools, negative perceptions about technology in general and a lack of buy-in regarding the effectiveness of classroom technologies.
Furthermore, even those teachers who are 100% committed to integration often aren’t comfortable with doing it effectively.
In order to combat these issues with technology in education, we must clarify what technology integration is and is not. Simply put, technology integration is just that, the practice of integrating or interweaving technology into teaching and learning.
It is critical to add, however, that there is a significant difference between implementing technologies on a surface level and actually intertwining it in a way that produces maximum results for teachers and students. What this means is that simply directing students to complete a separate internet activity or sending them to the “technology station” alone may not be the best use of educational technology.
Instead, there are ways that technology can be intentionally used throughout the process of teaching and learning, so that it plays an active role rather than being an afterthought. After all, today’s educators have the tools to incorporate technology into each stage of instruction: planning, lesson delivery, practice and review, and assessment and feedback.
When done thoughtfully, technology does not only drive the curriculum, but the advantages are numerous and undeniable.
Benefits of Technology Integration in English Education
Now that we understand what technology integration is, we can take a look at why we’d want to incorporate it into the ESL classroom. We’ll look at the specific benefits for English language learners (ELLs) and also highlight some useful tools that maximize those benefits for our students.
1. Increases student engagement and motivation
The first, and perhaps most obvious perk, is that technology can dramatically – and oftentimes instantly – increase student engagement. Today’s learners are functioning in an age where technology drives almost every aspect of their lives. Technology is exciting, fascinating and ever-evolving, and when used thoughtfully, it can transform even the most mundane lesson into one that is powerful and thought-provoking.
For English language learners, increasing motivation is especially significant. Teachers of ELLs understand the major role that motivation plays in the success of language acquisition and are continuously seeking ways to increase student engagement and excitement.
Technology is one great way to motivate learners while simultaneously offering a host of other benefits.
One great way to get your students motivated is with FluentU, a new way to learn real English with real-world videos like music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks. FluentU takes fun videos and transforms them into English learning lessons.https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/esl-technology-resources-for-students/