Technology & Learning, August 1998, p. 6

Here are recommendations from four teachers who are on the front lines of integrating technology with classroom instruction:

  1. Start young. Pennsylvania teacher Fred Wellington regularly engages his first-graders with the computer through a variety of activities on the Macintosh. In one case, students used a digital camera to snap virtual photos on a field trip and later wrote write captions for the images on classroom computers.

  2. Make technology transparent. West Virginia teacher Robert Frostick was thrilled when a ninth-grade student in a recent evaluation said he didn’t recall using much technology in the classroom. Frostick’s glee stemmed from the fact that technology had become so integrated into classroom instruction that students didn’t even realize they were using it. (The student quoted in the survey had prepared a multimedia presentation with Microsoft Office products, conducted online research, and eventually posted his results onto the school’s web site.) Frostick says their success hinges on three factors: (a) use of popular software, such as Microsoft Office, that many students have had experience with and will probably use for the rest of their lives; (b) having at least two educators advise every computer project to ensure support and direction; and (c) keeping computer labs open before, during, and after school.

  3. Watch the clock. Amy Garner’s fourth-graders in Texas move around their classroom’s two computers in carefully timed rotations that maximize the efficient use of limited technology resources by a large number of students. With a posted schedule and detailed instructions, Garner ensures that students can log consistent and productive time on computers.

  4. Give ample time, training, and technology to teachers. New Hampshire teacher Kim Carter says the key to good integrated classroom instruction is arming teachers with the time, training, and technology necessary to work computers into the curriculum.