Obstacles and Solutions when Integrating Technology into Language Arts

November 19, 2012

There are a variety of challenges that come with integrating technology into the content areas, particularly with language arts curriculum. Roblyer and Doering (2012) stated, “technologies have also brought about dramatic changes in the format and types of communications that literate people must deal with, thus presenting an array of new challenges to English and language arts teachers” (p. 266).  Not only do educators have to teach students how to read, write, and communicate effectively, they now have to teach students how to use technology to help them accomplish those tasks as 21st century learners. 

Technology may have brought about some new aspects to teaching, but it also offers ways to help educators and their students.  I have included solutions to some of the types of issues teachers of English and language arts must confront as shared in the following bolded bullet points by Roblyer and Doering (2012):

  • Teachers’ Responsibilities for the “New Literacies”

Teaching digital literacy and information literacy through online software is one way to make it fun and engaging for students to develop an understanding of the way digital information is presented on the Internet.  By teaching students about the resources available to them and providing opportunities for them to explore, they not only learn how to navigate and interpret the information, but begin to learn to communicate in similar formats.  Classroom Aid has shared many resources to help with teaching digital literacy.

  • Challenges of Motivating Students to Read and Write

Technology can bring many distractions from practicing reading and writing skills, educators need to find entertaining ways for students to work on them.  There are a variety of free online reading and writing activities, including games to practice basic skills and help students develop as young readers and writers.  Students can read online picture books written and illustrated by various authors at Magic Keys.  They can write and then publish their own short story on sites like Mixbook.  Free phonics based games can be played at Starfall and students can even practice writing a letter at Knowledge Adventure.

Regardless of the obstacles that face us as educators, we must do what we can to help our students become literate in technology to enhance their learning in language arts.  Technology may do a lot to help us accomplish daily tasks and support reading and writing, but it does not replace the basic skills necessary to communicate effectively.  Since technology is here to stay, finding ways for it to be a helpful tool in learning will make it part of a solution to some of the obstacles it presents. 

 

References:

Roblyer, M. D, & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. 

 

Websites Shared:

Classroom Aid (resources for teaching digital literacy): http://classroom-aid.com/educational-resources/digital-literacy/

Magic Keys (online story books): http://www.magickeys.com/books/

Mixbook (book publishing): http://www.mixbook.com/

Starfall (reading games): http://www.starfall.com/

Knowledge Adventure (spelling & other language arts games): http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/subject/spelling-games.aspx

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Relative Advantage of Using Technology in Major Content Areas

November 11, 2012

Today’s students have grown up immersed in technology and use it in all aspects of their life: entertainment, communication, and learning.  There is a need for educators to make lessons of the major content areas engaging, relevant, and authentic.  This can be done through the use of integrating technology into K-12 education.  In a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Using the Technology of Today in the Classroom Today,” Klopfer et al. (2009) describe the use of technology by businesses and government institutions to teach and train their employees.  They stated, “Although that may seem a bit ‘off the wall,’ the fact is major corporations, the Department of Defense, and the medical community would not use these tools if they were not highly effective.”  Effective, technology integrated lessons are what students need to be successful.

One of the major content areas is language arts.  According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), “New technologies introduced in the era of the Internet have expanded the definition of literacy to include proficiency not only with texts in many different formats, but also with the devices that store them” (p. 267).  Language arts is no longer simply learning how to read, write, and communicate effectively.  Standards, such as the Common Core State Standards (2010), are evolving to include requirements of being able to use technology as part of demonstrating proficiency in language arts.  Therefore, the most relative advantage to using technology in language arts is enabling students to meet the standards.

Mathematics is another major content area that can benefit from integrating technology. Roblyer and Doering (2012) stated that technology “provides learners with the opportunity to visualize and make more concrete the generally abstract world of mathematics” (p. 310).  Using technology in math activities provides many advantages for students to manipulate, visualize, calculate, practice, and communicate concepts that enhance their learning.

Regardless of the subject area, technology can make learning more engaging, relevant, and authentic for students.  Edutopia (2008) stated, “It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach.”  This is an important advantage in facilitating a learning environment that students enjoy being a part of.  Technology is continuously transforming the way students are educated.  Teachers need to understand the advantages of using technology to provide students with the knowledge and experiences necessary to be successful in the 21st century.

 

References:

Common Core State Standards Initiative (2010). Standards for English language arts & literacy in history, social studies, science, and technical subjects k-5.  Retrieve from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf

Edutopia. (2008). Why integrate technology into the curriculum?: The reasons are many. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., Groff, J., & Haas, J. (2009).  Using the technology of today in the classroom today: The instructional power of digital games, social networking, simulations and how teachers can leverage them.  The Education Arcade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Retrieved from http://education.mit.edu/papers/GamesSimsSocNets_EdArcade.pdf

Roblyer, M. D, & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.