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The Wired Classroom - Technology Integration
Each Spring, the National School Board Association (NSBA) invite educators to visit and tour school districts that are effectively integrating and utilizing technology to achieve educational goals. The tours are a chance to learn about the latest trends in technology from national experts in the field and to witness how technology integration can enrich the classroom experience. In addition, conference attendees visit schools where technology is infused into teaching and learning. The following are anecdotal stories based upon NetDay staff members visit to the Oakland Schools in Oakland County, Michigan.
"Picture a teacher in front of fifteen 1st graders, singing and rhyming, engaging the children in Spanish language instruction. Now place this school in the heart of Michigan, and envision the teacher in front of a camera, using videoconferencing to connect with 3 other 1st grade classes in other towns. This teacher, with incredible energy and a strong technology infrastructure, is able to teach Spanish to over 1300 1st through 3rd graders who would otherwise not have access to foreign language classes at such a young age. This was our first indication that the Oakland Schools are revolutionizing the educational process through the use of technology.
Now picture high school teams competing in a large gymnasium, crowds roaring, students alternately concentrating and exchanging high-fives. These students are members of engineering teams that have built remote control robots with sophisticated maneuverable parts. Each team spends months designing, testing concepts, and building their robots, utilizing complex engineering knowledge in a hands-on project often with input from the community. Finally, the teams compete in local, state, and national robotics competitions, where the robots and students compete against each other to accomplish complex tasks. These students, the future engineers of our country, illustrate in a very physical manner, the power of technology to enhance learning.
In each of these cases, technology is the means to achieve a larger educational goal; for the elementary students in the Spanish classes, the school district provides thousands of students with cost-effective access to foreign language lessons while also introducing the concept of distance learning. The high school students participating in the robotics competitions experience complex problem solving in groups while also gaining valuable engineering skills.
Students in Oakland County schools are engaged and have the opportunity to benefit from all types of technology. Teachers and school leaders understand the value of technology and strive to maximize their investment in technology by exploring new ways of learning."