Over the past 20 years, as the use of technology has increased, debate has taken place among educators, parents and students about the use of technology in the classroom, where tools are integrated into daily instruction.
Keeps the practice of teaching fresh
Introducing new technology in the classroom forces educators to learn new things. Whether it’s a program to push out to students, online grading systems, or new technology incorporated into daily lessons, technology means that teachers are learning the new systems, engaging in conversations with other educators and keeping their teaching fresh.
Provides lots of new resources
Software and new programs are being developed constantly for educators to use in the classroom. This allows new ways for students to respond to questions, participate in discussions and show what they have learned. Apps allow students new methods to record and create video, create posters, blogs, and websites. Programs to enhance students learning in reading and math are readily available. Students can use sites to research a variety of subjects easily.
Here are some of the most popular tech tools being used with students. 46% of teachers are now accessing video as part of their daily teaching. In turn, more students report accessing video (either provided by their teacher, or on their own) to help them complete homework. Students are more interested and engaged when technology is incorporated in a lesson.
New ways to grade student work
As students have access to new ways to share what they have learned, through videos, art, blogs, etc. teachers are provided with another way to grade besides paper and pencil. This helps gives more opportunities to assess student’s understanding and gives a range of choices to learners. Technology has allowed teachers to maintain gradebooks online. This gives parents and students immediate access to grades. Parents are aware throughout the semester what their child’s grades are, and it allows time for tutoring and coach classes if needed.
Students are able to instantly access enrichment materials
When learning about and discussing topics, students are able to refer to what they have seen or read about that subject at home, and share it with the class. Students are able to use search engines like Google and KidRex to further research topics. Videos can be accessed to share on YouTube. Students can interact with authors, illustrators, and other professionals through Facebook and Twitter.
Students learn skills they need for living in a digital age
Our world is deeply rooted in technology and students will need these skills in higher education and careers. Creating presentations, learning to differentiate reliable from unreliable sources on the Internet, maintaining proper online etiquette, and writing emails are all skills students will be able to apply outside of the classroom.
From the beginning of the year, classroom teachers will have to be explicit in routines and expectations regarding when and how technology can be used. Students will need directions on what apps and websites they can use. Even with direction, they will require monitoring. It is important that if students are using technology as an enrichment activity after completing classwork that they are not rushing to complete their work because they want to access “games”. Making sure that the technology they are using is purposeful can help. When teachers have planned lessons centered on technology that fails to work as it should, it can be distracting too, so it’s important to always have a backup plan.
Not all students have access to the same technology
Some schools allow students to bring in their own smartphones, tablets or laptops so there will be more in-classroom technology. The problem then lies in the fact that not all students have access to the same technology from home. Many school systems are providing technology such as laptops or tablets to students for use at school, as a solution to this problem. In 2013, 89 percent of high schools students had access to Internet-connected smart phones, while 50 percent of students in grades 3 through 5 had access to the same type of devices. High school student access to tablets tops out at 50 percent and laptops come in at 60 percent. In addition to personal access, the survey found about a third of students have access to a device (typically laptops or tablets) in their school.
It takes longer to plan
Finding ways to incorporate meaningful technology in the classroom takes time when planning. It can seem overwhelming to adapt technology into your classroom. Teachers will need to give themselves time to learn how to use the tools and then how to present and teach students how to use them.
What Do You Think?