The Balancing Act: Technology Integration Or Substitution
Cathy James-Springer PhD
There is a balancing act between technology adoption and good teaching, which is given little thought when considering adoption of technology in teaching. I begin with the reminder that technology first and foremost is a tool which can be used to enhance what we do. Whether it be computer technology or any other tool. For example, a blackboard is technology because it assists in making teaching easier. Often it is believed that using technology in teaching simply means adding technology to whatever is going on in the classroom, for example, many use PowerPoint presentations in much the same way as using chalk and a blackboard. This does not mean that you have integrated technology into teaching but, what has been done is replacing one form of technology with another, while essentially using the same teaching method, lecture!
Technology integration works best if it is used side by side with appropriate and good teaching practice. This means using the appropriate tool to get the desired learning outcome. It means going through the same considerations you would without technology. What do you want learners to achieve? What tool can best achieve what I want? These two questions should be the guide for adopting any teaching method. Having answered these questions then, the question can be asked what technological tool or software can best meet my needs. Tools exist to facilitate many classroom practices including collaborative learning, discovery approaches and even the most commonly used lecture style approaches. The balance is reached when good teaching practice informs the technology which is used in the classroom and leads to integration not substitution.