Introducing technology into the classroom improves student performance
Today’s generation of students are plugged in and logged on the newest tech gear. Computer programs and social networking sites are changing the way students receive and process information. Teachers must adapt to the shifting educational environment by incorporating the latest technologies into daily lesson plans to facilitate an interactive and dynamic learning environment that plugs students into their learning.
Technology in the Classroom Supports Learning
Most public schools lag in adopting new instructional methods and teaching techniques thatincorporate technology. Exploring uses of technology in the classroom facilitates more engaged learning environments, helping to maximize academic potential while preparing students for a complex and highly technology-dependent, knowledge-based economy.
Edutopia reports that classroom technology integration goes beyond teaching students basic computer skills; it must happen across curriculum, deepening and enhancing the learning process. Edutopia cites four key components to integrating technology into the classroom, including:
- Active engagement
- Participation in groups
- Frequent interactions and feedback
- Connection to real-world experts
To achieve the above components, teachers should routinely transition technology into daily lessons.
Long-term Technology Benefits
Integrating technology into daily lesson plans involves more than scheduling time in the computer lab. A technology-supported education experience can lead to diverse long-term reimbursements for students. The U.S. Department of Education identifies a variety of educational benefits when teachers incorporate technology into the curriculum.
Technology promotes an active learning environment. Technology shifts typical roles in a classroom to create an active learning environment. According to the U.S. Department of Education, students passively receive information when they listen to lectures or study from a textbook. However, technology enables students to play a more active role in their education. Unlike in typical instructor-led lessons, technology pushes students to actively think about information, make choices and execute skills more efficiently. Furthermore, teachers take on a facilitator role; they establish project design, goals and guidelines and ensure students stay on task and have adequate instructional support. Such teaching methods involve students in cooperative approaches to learning, engaging them fully in the curriculum.
Technology motivates students. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the most common teacher-reported effect of technology is increased student motivation. Teachers report increased motivation from a variety of perspectives. Technology helps prompt students’ eagerness in a specific subject area, such as writing. It also provides instant feedback, giving students a sense of accomplishment and immediate satisfaction. Teachers also report that technology enables more students to excel in the classroom.
Exposure to technology improves technical skills. Students gain basic understandings of various technical applications, programs and skills. Teachers also report that technology exposure throughout students’ academic career prepares them for more complex projects at a higher level.
Technology promotes a collaborative learning environment. When asked about the benefits of technology, a majority of teachers report increased levels of peer collaboration and support. Many teachers report increased collaboration when each student has his or her own device, as students are willing to tutor their classmates on the subject matter at hand as well as how to use the device to complete the project or assignment.
Putting Technology to Work in Your Classroom
According to Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, an advocacy organization, digital learning must start with enhanced instructional performance and student achievement levels. Wise, along with Sarah Hall, director of the Alliance’s Center for Secondary School Digital Learning and Policy, have shared some ideas on how you can put technology to work in your classroom.
- Initial planning phase involvement: Having several computers does not automatically create a tech-friendly learning environment. Adopting effective digital learning methods requires a comprehensive strategy. According to Wise, teachers should be involved during initial phases, creating goals and outlining learning outcomes they would like to achieve through technology usage. Wise suggests considering the “three Ts,” which ask how to improve teaching, what technology to use and how to use time more efficiently.
- Think outside the box: Technology allows more creativity and innovation in lesson plans. Utilizing Web resources and interactive sites engages your students in learning. Wise and Hall use the term “flipped classroom” to refer to a popular digital teaching method that encourage students and parents to play an active role in their education. This method reverses the order of lessons and homework; students listen to lectures at home and then come to class to work on projects and homework. Teachers can then identify student needs and areas for additional instructional support in real time.
- Don’t teach lessons; design them: The role of teachers is shifting. Teachers must be well-rounded educators capable of doing more than teaching lessons out of a book. Teachers must now design curriculum by choosing what content to present and what technologies to use to facilitate lessons.
Creating a dynamic learning environment can be difficult for teachers whose students have grown up with increased access to technology. Students have grown restless with traditional teaching methods and have developed progressively shorter attention spans, causing teachers to reevaluate daily lesson plans, teaching tools, resources and methods. Infusing technology into a classroom’s curriculum can deliver long-term results for students who will soon enter a tech-savvy, knowledge-based workforce.
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