It is hard to deny the power of technology today. While some of the more outlandish theories from the past have not yet come into fruition (see: AI running the world), a great wealth of technology is available at just the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. Combine technology with learning and you can find a world of opportunities which seem endless.
So, what are some of the ways you can integrate technology into the classroom?
- Interactive whiteboards are popular tools for teachers. These allow teachers to annotate online documents and easily correct work for all students to see. Dangers still remain: how many students can remember squirming with both amusement and concern as a teacher destroyed a SMART board with a regular whiteboard marker?
- Use technology to gauge the general opinions about a topic in the room in a non-threatening way. Many students fear speaking up in front of an entire class, so using technology can be a useful way of gauging the opinions of students beyond those who are more confident. Websites such as Poll Everywhere and Socrative can allow fun, healthy conversations in a class. Keep in mind that you might want to save this for more mature students, as the prospect of hiding behind anonymity to send through something inappropriate can be too tempting for the class clowns.
- Tablets, when provided to a class, can allow students to access material in a more engaging way. Imagine using a textbook which weighs next to nothing and has exercises embedded within it!
What are the benefits of technology-driven education?
- Learning outcomes can improve when technology is harnessed well. It has been found that 70 per cent of students score more highly in assessments and report better attendance in ‘active-learning environments that use technology than traditional ones.’
- The possibilities for connection through collaboration and teamwork are widened by the use of technology. The use of forums and shared documents allow students from across the globe to connect, share ideas and work together.
- Students gain skills which will be indispensable in the future (and also, clearly, in the present), in a rapidly evolving technological climate. With the development of exciting, new possibilities, jobseekers who are adaptable and more technologically literate are well-placed to impress potential employers.
- Quite simply, it’s fun! Students love getting to use new technologies, and it is never a bad thing when students are enjoying learning. Technology might very well be the difference between a lesson turning out dry and boring, or exciting and memorable. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to maintain people’s attention for longer periods of time, technology increases engagement and can allow some students to participate in lessons more actively.
- Technology is a good back-up option if there happened to be, hypothetically, a novel virus spreading around the world. At the time of writing (March 2020), educational institutions around the world are increasingly adopting technology such as apps, Zoom and Skype as a temporary or long-term replacement for face-to-face learning in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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