Obstacles & Solutions for Integrating Technology into Content Area Learning

New technology tools for teachers bring new challenges, and Science and Math teachers are not exempt to this.  I come across many obstacles toward technology integration.  Roblyer and Doering (2012), note that the vast amount of easily accessible internet information can modify the traditional trust of a student teacher relationship which leads to problems delivering science and math content.  In the area of science and math, some organizations argue and some studies show that computer simulations cannot substitute for real life experiments (Roblyer & Doering, 2012).  I agree with this wholeheartedly!  When I was growing up, I would look forward to going to science class and dissecting a worm or pig or whatever.  Nowadays, you do not physically dissect animals, you do a virtual lab.  I believe that learning about intense information is better received through a hands-on-lesson.  I was always the learner who needed to actually perform the lab in order to understand the information being presented.  I feel like with technology today, you lose that effect because it is all seen on a computer and not physically being performed.

Some of the obstacles and challenges to integrating technology into math include the costs of the tools. One technology tool that is useful in this content is a graphing calculator. To buy a classroom full of students graphing calculators would be very expensive. But we could divide students into groups and share a few of them for math activities that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of using the calculator and to finding graphing solutions.  This also builds teamwork!

There are many mathematical software programs which can help students practice their skills. This is another example of expensive resource tools for technology integration. Teachers can send students to the media computer center to work on a software program or have a copy in class and use a projector to show it to the whole class. The time it takes to learn to use software programs and graphing calculators can take up valuable class time. Students will need to see the teacher demonstrate how to use it and they have to understand why it works this way. They can be frustrated by having to learn how to use the tool and to also learn new math concepts at the same time.

Some solutions and remedies for these obstacles involve sharing resources and using one interactive presentation tool that the whole class can see. Students can work in teams and use a technology tool or software program to solve math problems. There has to be a visual learning aspect to many technology tools and this is true for math concepts. By using a presentation for the whole class, a teacher can show graphs or lessons that allow students to read a math problem and then see the solution. To avoid the frustrations of learning to use the technology tool and learn the math concepts during the same lesson, they need to be split into two different lessons. Once students are confident with using the tools they can concentrate on the new math concepts fully.

Reference:

Roblyer & Doering (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.) Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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3 thoughts on “Obstacles & Solutions for Integrating Technology into Content Area Learning

  1. Paula,
    I appreciated reading your post – I agree with your first paragraph – it’s important that we find a balance when integrate technology. One of the most critical decisions we must ask ourselves when it comes to teaching is “What is the most effective technology tool to support student learning within this lesson?” – and to be open to the fact that the answer to that question may be an earthworm and a scalpel, a pencil and a piece of paper or an graphing calculator and a document camera. The best technology tool may not be digital or electronic.
    Nice post!

  2. I enjoyed reading your post about technology in math and science. Many people just assume that in these areas that they will benefit, no matter what. I agree with your statement “computer simulations cannot substitute for real life experiments” because just as in most cases simulations cannot replace the learning and understanding that takes place in person. We can’t always know if students are taking the simulation seriously or are just clicking through it to be done. The cost of tools is definitely a big obstacle for any content area, which is too bad since there are so many great tools that a lot of school cannot afford. I liked your positive spin on the students sharing the tools that are available to the students – it definitely does build teamwork skills! Great post!

  3. Paula, I enjoyed reading your post! Even though I personally would prefer to dissect animals virtually, there is something to be said giving students the hands on experience. Technology serves a purpose and it is effective, but it has a different effect when you have actual hands on knowledge. I think cost was a big one for me too. I really like your idea of dividing up the class into groups to share the technology that you do have. It provides a positive outlet for students to learn and share their ideas. Once students learn how to use technology, it opens door to learning new concepts and additional programs, but ultimately this process takes time. You had a lot of good ideas. Nice job!!

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