21st-Century Vision Statement
Technology has become a vital component of the 21st-century classroom. Nearly all facets of our lives are connected through technology. “We live in a highly mobile, globally connected society in which young Americans will have more jobs and more careers in their lifetimes than their parents” according to the U.S. Department of Education. Students at all levels of education now “view the world through a digital screen” (Moody and Bobic, 2011). “We are preparing them to become digital learners who are able to construct new tools and objects, communicate ideas, and solve new problems” (Edutopia, 2013).
The classroom provides a safe environment for students to begin using technology before entering the adult workforce. Schools must take the opportunity to teach students how to safely and responsibly use technology while increasing knowledge. “We must bring 21st-century technology into learning in meaningful ways to engage, motivate, and inspire learners of all ages to achieve” (NTEP, 2010).
Effective integration of technology supports learning communities in all grade levels. Encouraging higher order thinking, meeting the needs all learning styles, and promoting a cooperative learning environment, technology does not replace the teacher. It does provide additional resources for the teacher to assist students in achieving academic success. Possibly most importantly, it often generates motivation for at-risk students. “Teachers who work with at-risk students say that capturing students interest and enthusiasm is key to success; frequently, they cite it as their most difficult challenge” according to Roblyer and Doering 2013.
To effectively integrate technology, a concise evaluation of the learning environment must be conducted. Administrators must ensure sufficient hardware and software is available to accommodate student needs. Teachers must also be permitted the time to receive training to become familiar with the electronic devices and software being integrated into the classroom. Readily available technical support must be available to address any issues the teacher may be unfamiliar with.
Teachers will always be the driving force behind the education of America’s future. How they choose to use technology in the classroom must be authentic. “The most effective educators connect to young people’s developing social and emotional core by offering opportunities for creativity and self-expression” (NETP, 2010). Multimedia sources, such as text, audio, video, and still photos, provide students with an outlet to creatively express themselves. Whether it is poetry, history, science, or math, the possibilities are endless when using an electronic device. Skills learned in this manner, are directly related to the skills needed in the adult workforce.
As the 21st-century progresses, so will the advances in technology. Educators must prepare the students for the future while always looking for “ways to engage, motivate and inspire learners of all ages to achieve” (NETP, 2010). Authentic integration of technology in the classroom is a primary means in which to achieve success in the classroom and the global workforce.
Edutopia Staff. (n.d.). In Building technology fluency: preparing students to be digital learners. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/building-tech-fluency-digital-learners-beth-holland
Moody, R. H. and Bobic, M. P. (2011). Teaching the net generation without leaving the rest of us behind: how technology in the classroom influences student composition. Politics & Policy, 39, 169–194. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.2011.00287.x
Roblyer, M.D. and Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology Into Teaching, (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). National education technology plan 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010