In today’s society, there is no question that technology has become a part of our everyday lives. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, 58% of American adults have a smartphone, 32% own an e-reader and 42% own a tablet. These statistics make it clear that adults are adapting to new and emerging technologies.
But how can technology be used as educational tools in the classroom? Here are examples how technology can assist teachers and accelerate students’ learning.
Supplemental Teaching Tools
Not only can tablets, apps, video and interactive whiteboards be learning tools for students, but they can be additional teaching tools for educators. A PBS LearningMedia survey of pre-K-12 teachers researched how and what types of technology teachers are using in classrooms, as well as their overall attitudes toward technology. Three-quarters of teachers surveyed expressed a positive opinion of educational technology, stating that technology assists them in reinforcing and expanding on content. After many years of teaching the same or similar lesson plans, it can be challenging to keep students engaged and show enthusiasm as you’re presenting lessons. Interactive presentation tools, video clips, graphics and other audio visual elements are a simple way to keep students actively engaged in lessons, as well as a means to keep your lessons fresh.
Motivate Students to Learn
Many students are more stimulated and are apt to learn when they can interact with hands-on learning tools, which various forms of educational technology provide. A fifth grade teacher was quoted in a U.S. Department of Education article saying, “Technology is the ultimate carrot for students. It’s something they want to master. Learning to use it enhances their self-esteem and makes them excited about coming to school.” According to PBS LearningMedia research, 74% of teachers surveyed responded that using classroom technology motivates students to learn. Technology in the classroom allows students to take greater control of their education because tools like tablets and laptops encourage interactive, hands-on learning.
Students Can Learn at Their Own Pace
It’s simple; no child is the same. Every student learns at his or her own pace. There are many ways that integrating technology into the classroom can help students learn at a rate that is comfortable to them, and that allows them to retain information. For example, in-classroom lessons or activities on laptops or tablets allow students to read directions, process information and complete work at their own pace. This also helps free up the teacher’s time so they can give students who may need extra guidance or assistance the attention they require.
Additional Resources for Students
Educational apps, search engines, videos, portable technologies and interactive activities provide students with a nearly endless supply of information and resources. Use of the educational technologies including, but not limited to, the tools below support 24/7 learning:
- Online lesson plans
- Educational apps
- Interactive games
- Online video and graphics
- Accessing books and articles via tablets and e-readers
Prepare Children for the Future
The learning children do in school prepares them for the future, and for this reason it is important to incorporate technology in the classroom. Over the years, technology has evolved tremendously and will continue to do so. Those changes should be parallel with teachers’ lesson plans and learning techniques of children and classrooms. It’s important to note that expensive classroom technology solutions don’t always result in effective teaching and learning. Simple solutions can lead to influential teaching, which can have a clear impact on learning. By learning to use technology in the classroom at a young age, children are developing the skills and knowledge that is essential in today’s world.
Below are questions to consider before deciding what technologies to include in your classroom:
- Why do you want to buy the technology? What impact will it have on teaching and learning?
- What tools and technologies will contribute to deep learning in the classroom?
- How can I let students learn with technology the way that they already live with their technology?
- What is the appropriate role of the web, social media, mobile technologies, interactive white- boards, etc., in today’s classroom?
- What are the digital literacies that have to be incorporated and taught? (For more on this topic, see http://www.p21.org.)
- Does your school have the infrastructure and technical support capacity to support your technology purchase?
Do you remember when the desktop computer was introduced in classrooms? Classroom technology has come a long way since then and will continue to evolve. Seven in 10 teachers (69%) surveyed by PBS LearningMedia said educational technology allows them to “do much more than ever before” for their students. Including technology in the classroom benefits teachers and students in many ways. Contact us to learn how you can get creative with using Kurzweil 3000-firefly in your classroom and start having fun!
National Education Association (NEA)
State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)