If you walk down the street, you’re likely to see many people with their heads down, looking at their mobile device. Our world is so embedded in technology that we use it to decide everything from which routes to follow to how we should plan every detail of our lives. Most of us have embraced technology in our daily lives, but many schools have been reluctant or slow to embrace technology. Opening up to the door to integrating technology in our classrooms not only makes sense, but it also carries high value for the success of our school systems.
Photo via Flickr
Embrace Technology, Improve Student Success
We all know that not every student learns in the same way. This is because there are different learning styles that each student possesses. When the traditional teaching approach doesn’t work for a group of students, what do you do next as an educator? Educational technology allows students who are struggling with the traditional learning approach to try new methods.
A teacher may have a child that has been diagnosed with ADD. The traditional sit and learn through lecture method isn’t working and the student’s success level is dropping. Technology now allows the instructor to try different learning approaches through videos, apps, and games that may work better for this child. Adopting technology in the classroom will allow educators many more opportunities to maximize student success.
Give Students an Active Role in Learning
When teaching through a lecture model, students take a passive role. They sit and wait for teacher direction and instruction. Technology brings a twist to this model.
Take a class that has a science lesson on Newton’s Laws. They could be taught from a book using handouts, lectures, and readings. The students would learn the material but would they develop a real world understanding of how Newton’s Laws work and how they apply to day to day life? Possibly.
But let’s say you introduce the laws using a series of interactive lessons that students took the lead on and then followed that up with some hands on experiments. The students would develop a more concrete understanding of the material because they switched from a passive to active role in their own learning while the teacher would switch to more of a role of mentor and facilitator. This role shift allows students to become responsible for their learning while teachers are able to focus more on providing guidance and direction when needed, fostering a stronger bond between student and teacher.
Improve Peer Collaboration
To embrace technology in our classrooms also helps to foster group collaboration. It encourages students to work collaboratively. Traditionally, if a student is having trouble answering a math question, they typically will raise their hand and ask the teacher for help.
Let’s take this into a classroom equipped with computers. Imagine that the teacher has assigned students the task of creating a graphic to illustrate the Commutative Property of Multiplication. Student A might not know where to find the the apple shape that he wants to use in his graphic. He would then ask student B where he found his apple and student B would show him. Now student A has learned a new skill by working with a classmate.
With all of the tech based projects that students could use for learning, there’s inevitably going to be a learning curve and the learning curve presents the perfect opportunity for increased peer cooperation. This will also allow educators to step back and really observe and assess what and how their students are learning.
Better Teacher-Student Relationships
With the integration of a Learning Management Systems (LMS) teachers can stay connected with their students even when school is not in session. Learning management systems allow students, educators, and parents to stay connected.
If John has a problem with a specific math concept he can use the LMS to connect with his teacher instantly for help. This increases the likelihood of successful and strong relationships between students and teachers. Why not create a class webpage through a site like Shutterfly? Students and teachers can post pictures, assignment details, events and send messages and stay connected. It even makes the classroom a more fun place to be.
Technology is the way of the 21st century. Data, music, computers, education, and many other things can all be obtained through a smartphone. If schools and educators want to maintain student success, then they will need to accept and adopt technological platforms. The values and potential are exponential.
Featured image via Flickr