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Integrating Instructional Technology

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Integrating Instructional Technology
In one way or another, technology has become a part of our lives. No matter how we try, we can not get around it. With the integration of instructional technology being one of the fastest growing learning and innovative tool, it is the one tool that will help students gains the skills they need to be successful in this extremely complex technological world as we know it. Instructional technology offers many activities that can be used in the classroom. The internet is a healthy source for providing information. Through the use of the multimedia, it offers a wide variety of ways that is able to present both educational and entertaining information through computers and as part of collaboration, online tools can be used. The website is another way that instructional technology can be used. It provides a way of communication for students, parents, and teachers and can include vital information such as class syllabus, study questions, weekly assignments, weekly reading, links to other websites, as well as any other vital information (Melville, 2000).
The internet can also be used to take the class on an adventurous field trip through the use of a virtual tour by accessing an exhibition online. Classes have the opportunity to observe and take part in an educational activity in real time by taking part in a web event such as using the chat room or streaming a video. This class activity also gives the students the chance to ask online experts questions and the chance to view or hear questions from other students around the world (Melville, 2000).
The web offers a variety of online resources that is filled with more interesting up to date learning tools and gives the students the ability to connect to others in the real world. The web also allows students the ability to see through different images, hear audible sounds, and view different text. When technology is used for online projects, students are able to collect data, analyze and use their problem-solving skills. Also the technology tools are able to help the students remain on task and help keep them engaged in their learning (Melville, 2000).
There are other ways that instructional technology can be used in the classroom. When it comes to the computer, there are several tasks that can be performed. To save information and transport from one computer to another or a computer that is connected to a printer, a flash drive will be used. Students will be able to copy saved files to the school server so they can do their work on a networked computer in the computer lab (Education World).
The computer can be used to watch educational DVD's on some type of large monitor or a projection screen. Software such as Microsoft Off ice is the most efficient software to use in class. With this software, students and teachers have the necessary tools for learning. Processing word documents and drawings using many different diagramming tools are a great asset for both teacher and student when creating a project (Britten & Cassady, 2005). A wired or a wireless connection is needed to assist in integrating instructional technology in the classroom. A wired network uses cables to communicate between two devices while a wireless network uses radio waves to connect between two devices. A wired network uses a lot of cables to receive, share, and produce information. With a wired network, the information transmitted is faster because it does not have to share space with other users. Most people nowadays prefer to use a wireless connection for many reasons; the wireless network is easier to install because it does not use any cables, it has the capability of being mobile, and the downtime is usually slim to none. Also with the wireless network, it allows more than one user at a time and other hardware can be used and connected to the same network at the same time (Sparks, 2006). Technology is the key to our students learning today, but just like most things, it does have some downfalls. For example, technology being too fast for some students and teachers rely only on technology to teach the students. Another downfall is teacher's focus is no longer on the curriculum because they have lost sight that technology is only to enhance student's learning. However, technology does change the way students learn. There are several reasons why instructional technology is needed as part of the student's lesson; students are more apt to learn, student's communication is improved, students are able to obtain long term skills that will be useful, and student's understanding will be multiplied. Students will be able to think on a higher level, they will be more motivated and their thinking skills will increase (Hammond & Manfra, 2009). Technology touches our lives in more ways than one. It has certainly become a part of our educational world with the many ways that it can be used in the student's classroom curriculum. There is no way we can avoid this powerful innovative learning tool of instructional technology. It has been and continues to be one of the main tools that help students achieves the skills they need in an economy that is fueled by technology.

Reference
Britten, J. S., & Cassady, J. C. (2005). The Technology Integration Assessment Instrument:
Understanding Planned Use of Technology by Classroom Teachers. Computers In The
Schools, 22(3/4), 49-61. doi:10.1300/J025v22n0305
Hammond, T. C., & Manfra, M. (2009). Technology Integration. Social Studies Research & Practice, 4(3), 139-150.
Melville (2000.) Technology Integration Strategies. Teaching Today. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/subject/tech_integration.phtml
Sparks, R. L. (2006). Building Infrastructure for Ubiquitous Computing. Knowledge Quest, 34(3), 14-17.
World.com. (n.d.). Hardware and Software Essentials. Education World. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech/tech239.shtml

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