Using Technology versus Integrating Technology

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

Last month I introduced the concept of using technology versus integrating technology. Since then I haven’t stopped thinking about this concept and my own classes.  I believe that we need to strive towards true integration rather than just technology use.  One criteria outlined in recent publications regarding the integration of technology is where we use the technology.

With this push towards technology in learning, is it really effective to use it in the classroom?  Research says no.  Although certain tools can help facilitate learning, students using technology in the classroom takes away from the cooperative, communicative environment needed for language learning.  So, how can we effectively use tools in the classroom to facilitate learning while at the same time integrate technology outside of the classroom?

Many classrooms today are equipped with interactive boards, LCD projectors or SmartTVs.  As with Next Generation Grammar, many of the MyEnglishLabs have an ActiveTeach.  ActiveTeach is one way to use the tools of the classroom to engage students without letting the technology take over.  Using ActiveTeach in your classroom helps to make the text come alive.  Let’s take a look at an example.  In the Student Book, students are instructed on descriptive adjectives and adding very, too and enough.


In the ActiveTeach, teachers are guided to expand upon this point.

Expansion.  Have students look around the room, or campus and see if they could describe the space or location using very + adjective, too + adjective, or enough + adjective.

Imagine all the fun your students could have with this! You can even have groups generate the descriptions on newsprint paper or write them on the interactive board. This is a great way to use the technology, but expand what is in the text to a collaborative, communicative activity.

The next step would be to have students apply this knowledge outside of the classroom.  That is where the real technology comes into play.  Using MyEnglishLab allows your students to interact with the new language in a safe, comfortable environment at their own learning pace.  Students can get further instruction by watching the Grammar Coach, and completing engaging, interactive activities.


Effectively integrating technology is not always easy; however, it is the best way to extend the learning environment and allow your students to fully engage and experiment with new language and structures.  After all, that is really what it is all about—creating opportunities!