Tablets are replacing textbooks. Keyboarding is replacing cursive. Coding languages are just as important as developing conversational Spanish, French, and Mandarin. Technology in the classroom is changing schools just as much as it has changed the world we live in; it has made the world smaller as we become exposed to the different-yet-similar lives that live upon it, and made it bigger in revealing all there is still left to learn about the planet and the universe it swirls in.
Here are seven ways technology has improved the classroom experience.
- Technology makes classrooms more fun.
Technology allows teachers to reach students with ways and means that interest them, whether by digital cameras and Smart Boards or a deep-dive into a subject matter with videos, interactive STEM experiments, and self-guided learning opportunities.
- Classroom technology preps kids for life beyond school.
Studies have shown that students believe technology helps them prepare for life in the digital future. Almost every career—even the sought-after trades like mechanics, electricians, and plumbers—has been transformed with technology, and the advancements aren’t slowing down. Students need exposure at every level to keep up with trends and to be able to positively contribute to them.
- Technology creates an improved classroom experience.
We’re learning more and more about learners; it turns out we all absorb, retain, and process information in a myriad of different ways. Technology helps teachers identify the specific ways their students handle new material in order to teach them where they are and in a way they best understand it.
- Technology connects students.
Technology, when used appropriately, connects us to the world in ways we've never seen or experienced. Social media can bring cultures to life, live streaming videos can connect us to current events, and digital libraries can bring a wealth of knowledge and adventure right to our fingertips. Forming the connections is an important part of making the most of them, and that’s advice we could use both online and in person.
- Classroom technology makes teaching more effective (and enjoyable).
Technology has allowed teachers to move away from abstract theory and into hands-on learning by tapping into their collective knowledge, skills, and resources. Audio-visual presentations, online videos, live interviews with experts—the opportunities are endless to give students the breadth of knowledge needed in any subject.
- Technology makes communication smoother.
Parents have more access than ever to their student’s progress in the classroom. Google Classroom, Blackboard 24/7, Dreambox, and more allow parents to check in on their students from time to time, giving them big-picture and detail access to the ins and outs of their child’s day. It’s not quite eyes-in-the-back-of-their-heads, but it’s just as useful as a conversation starter and a way to connect more deeply at home.
- Technology has improved collaboration.
Online apps and tools offer a unique way for all students to engage in a group project without having to fight for attention or the turn to speak. Contributions are tracked, and students are held accountable for their roles and responsibilities so that no one is left out and no one is left doing it all.
Naysayers protest that classroom technology is disruptive, and supporters may agree wholeheartedly; disruption, after all, is what keeps us moving forward. Classroom technology allows us to teach kids as the world continues to learn, preparing them for the future as it forms around them.
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