The educational use of technology is increasing. We live in a digital society, where most people have access to the Internet and participate in online communities. Online education is not just for college anymore, there are online alternatives to K-12 education in every state. Technology tools are used in education such as computers, mobile devices, projectors, televisions, and more. The Internet keeps students and teachers connected, and it provides access to an unlimited number of resources in seconds. Many school districts are introducing 1:1 mobile device programs. The school district in which I work is introducing each student having access to an IPAD at the middle and high school level, and at the elementary level each student has a netbook. Almost every public school in the nation has access to the Internet and a computer lab.
There are barriers that prevent the integration of technology. One big issue is the digital divide. Student in low income schools are less likely to have access to technology. The technology that they do have is often left over and out of date. Students who live in poverty often do not have access to technology at home, so school is where they are going to get the most exposure to technology. Also, different cultures may put less emphasis on technology. Funding for technology is less likely to be available to lower income schools. Teachers have the tools that the district provides them to use, and lower income schools are less likely to have the tools which make it a resource related issue. There are teachers who do not want to integrate technology when it is available. They may be used to traditional methods of teaching. This is also a barrier that prevents technology integration in our schools. School districts must be proactive with these teachers encouraging them to use technology and providing training to use the available technology. Many times teachers just need support in how to integrate technology.
The K-12 school is undergoing a digital revolution. With the dawn of the Internet it is changing. There will be more options for online learning at the K-12 level. The blended model of learning will increase as students may attend some classes online and some in a traditional classroom. The Internet makes students more connected. Mobile devices are already transforming education, and will continue to be integrated into more schools. Students will be less likely to use traditional textbook or watch movies on a big screen, but will be able to use a mobile device to access interactive texts or do individual activities. Classes from all over the world will be able to connect with each other transforming education moving beyond a classroom of just 4 walls to a worldwide classroom.