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Modern Technology for the Modern Classroom

Modern Technology for the Modern Classroom Large
June 11, 2018

The advances in technology over the last few decades have helped transform many things, including education. All in all, today's classroom is a much different place than it was 20 years ago, and it continues to evolve. Read on for a brief introduction to tech in the classroom.

Busting the Myths

Technology and education have had a complicated relationship. This relationship is dotted with myths, both good and bad. Before you get into classroom technology, it's best to understand what those myths are and how to debunk them. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

Technology is not a cure-all. It isn't a magic solution that will fix all problems with a class. Instead, think of it in terms of what it is – a tool. Like all tools, different technologies have appropriate and inappropriate uses. Use them wisely, and only when it adds to the learning experience.

Technology is not a threat. It's important not to go down the completely opposite route and ban all tech because it's seen as dangerous. Since we live in a tech age, keeping students from it completely might have unintended side effects. Instead, they should be trained to use tech responsibly. This is sometimes called digital citizenship.

Technology is not mindless. Modern technologies are sometimes accused of ruining society or "dumbing down" youth. This should never happen in the classroom, and if it does, it's more of a sign of bad execution than an inherent problem with the tech itself.3

So Much Tech, So Little Time

Before you read about the advantages of using tech in the classroom, it's important to understand exactly what that includes. Technology is a broad concept, but the range of tech used in education is more specific. Read below for a taste of some of the ways educators are using technology as a teaching tool.

Multimedia

Introducing audiovisual elements into the classroom isn't new. However, as technology evolved, so did possibilities for this kind of learning. Digital tools and software allow the creation of multimedia projects and class materials. They also make the process of creating media smoother. Overall, this opens more opportunities for non-traditional class projects.

Personalized Learning

A combination of software and digital devices lets educators deliver content that's more personalized. This approach lets students get a learning experience that's tailored to them specifically. It also lets them focus more on their understanding of the material. This is done by encouraging students to learn at their own pace and focus on their learning goals instead of just sitting through class.1

Some educational software is even adaptive. This means that it creates a "profile" of a student using info about them to give them the best possible experience. This includes what they know, their learning process, and even their emotional state.1

Online Tools

The internet is brimming with educational tools and resources. Here are a few examples of how educators can use them in the classroom:

  • Create and share slideshow presentations with Prezi.2
  • Allow students to work on a project together using Google Docs. Collaborative learning is a great teaching method; it's student-centered and gives them real-world experience with a problem.2
  • Take students on a "virtual field trip" using Google Maps.3
  • Use online learning platforms like Blackboard and Moodle to manage classes. Teachers can utilize these platforms for grading, scheduling, distributing class materials, accepting assignments, and much more.
  • Use VoIP (Voice over IP) and virtual classroom software to connect students, instructors and classrooms remotely. For example, a North Carolina middle school did a group project with a classroom in Sweden this way.2

Transforming Education

Now that you've read about different types of technology, here are some of the ways it is transforming modern education:

Tech allows for paperless learning. The days of using tons of paper on printouts are over! As mentioned above, teachers can use class management tools instead.

Tech introduces new models of learning and teaching. As discussed earlier, you can use software tools to conduct classes online, collaborating across the globe, or using new forms of audiovisual media for unique lessons. The possibilities are endless.

Tech-based learning is more suited to modern students. First, it's a proven fact that students retain knowledge more easily in tech-based lessons. Second, teachers who use tech in their lessons often see performance increases. Finally, lessons that use technology are more likely to engage students. They create a "vibrant learning environment" for the next generation.2

Tech is everywhere. Digital technology has become a staple of everyday life in the 21st Century. These technologies are tools, so using them to further education is a great thing in many ways.

Next Steps

To read more about technology in the classroom, check out this in-depth article from Jen Reviews.

Sources

1 https://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/technology-in-education/index.html

2 https://www.jenreviews.com/classroom-technology/

3 https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-05-07-five-myths-about-classroom-technology-and-what-to-do-instead

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