Using technology in the classroom to improve learning (2023)

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Using technology in the classroom to improve learning (1)

Educational technology is here to stay. Teachers at all stages of their careers have a responsibility to keep up to date with the latest tools, platforms, and methods that can help their students engage with course content and thrive in the classroom and beyond.

What is instructional technology?

Why use technology in the classroom?

Integrating technology into the classroom

Benefits of technology in schools

Challenges of technology in schools

Use of age-appropriate teaching technology

(Video) Using Technology in the Classroom

Become a technology-enabled educator

What is instructional technology?

instructional technology' is a broad term that refers to any technology-enabled tool that teachers use to deliver course material to their students. This includes physical tools such as laptops andSmartboards, as well as learning activities like gamification and vlogging.

Instructional technology not only helps with classroom presentations, but helps teachers stay organized, plan their lessons, communicate with students and their guardians, and make their lessons more accessiblestudents with different abilities. All of the following fall under the umbrella of instructional technology:

Learnhow to use new educational technologiesallows teachers to practice an innovative approach to teaching, so they are always on the lookout for tools that can improve student engagement and academic success.

Why use technology in the classroom?

We live in a connected world, so it stands to reason that our classrooms reflect society's dependence on technology. Educational Technology (or Edtech)is on the risefor most of recent history, from overhead projectors to graphing calculators to personal Chromebooks. In 2020 alone, theEdtech usage increased by 90%, in large part due to the postponement of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

When students returned to face-to-face classes after COVID-19 cases subsided, many edtech tools remained in use. Both teachers and students saw how some of these tools helped them more easily access course materials, track grades and assignments, and communicate with each other.

There are numerous arguments for maintaining pandemic-era technologies:

  • Student-friendly technologies keep learners engaged with course material.
  • Edtech enables teachers to createdifferentiated learningEngagements for students with special needs.
  • The students refine theirtechnical competenceas they prepare for life outside of school.
  • Using technology for schoolwork raises awareness of the challenges involved, including plagiarism, source verification, security and privacy issues, and maintaining respectful discourse online.

Integrating technology into the classroom

If you're new to the concept of edtech, you're probably better informed than you think! Teachers looking to incorporate more technology into their practice can start as easily as they like, using tools that have been embedded in classrooms for years.

(Video) Integration of Technology in the Classroom

The classics

  • Power outlet:Translate lessons into digital presentations and save paper and whiteboard markers. part ofMicrosoft Office-Suite, PowerPoints can be shown in class with an overhead projector or made available to students for review outside of class.
  • Education:How do you get students excited about topics like the US Constitution or the phases of the matter? By introducing them to media with the sole purpose of having fun while learning! ClassicEducationsuch as Bill Nye and Schoolhouse Rock may appeal to many of today's younger teachers, and with the Internet at their fingertips, all teachers have access to itunlimited content in each subject.
  • Internet homework:Since the early days of the personal computer, teachers have set assignments that require students to use the Internet. This helps students learn how to do their own research and find and cite reputable sources. Now common practice, teachers should keep that in mindnot every studentcan access the internet at home.

More advanced tools

  • Virtual Excursions:This technology became particularly popular during the COVID-19 lockdown as it gave students the ability to "travel" together at home. Educational and cultural centers such as National Geographic providevirtual, immersive experienceswhere students can learn about the solar system, Black History Month or ocean plastics from anywhere.
  • Create digital content:Given they have access to the right tools, students may find that they connect more strongly to course content by creating videos, podcasts, apps, games, blogs, or other digital media rather than writing essays or book reviews.
  • Social media:Integrating TikTok or Instagram into the classroomcarries some risk, but these platforms can also be useful for teaching statistics, virality, current events, and even psychology. Teachers can also create private Facebook groups so students can chat about projects and post updates outside of class.
  • MINT-Work:With theDemand for STEM professionalsOn the rise, schools are under increasing pressure to provide solid science, technology, engineering and math education. STEM-enabled classrooms can include tools for learning about robotics, programming, chemistry, drawing, and more.

When it comes to physical tools, not every school or teacher may be able to provide cutting-edge technology to their students. If resources are available, tech-savvy teachers should consider using these tools to support the suggestions above:

  • Digital Projector
  • Personal Chromebooks in the classroom
  • iPads oder Tablets
  • Smartboards oder andere digitale Whiteboards

The following can also help teachers connect with students' parents and guardians, whether to check grades and progress reports, or just to forward messages:

  • PowerSchool:Breaks down visibility barriers between internal teams and those at home, helping teachers and admins stay organized.
  • Table:Assignments, lessons, assessments, grades and communication all come together on one digital platform.
  • ListServ:An email solution for teachers to deliver messages to large audiences with the click of a button.
  • Common class calendar:Whether through Google or another platform, a shared online calendar helps both students and their adults stay on the same page when it comes to due dates and scheduling.
  • Survey:Parents of students often need to proactively engage with their child's teacher. Quarterly surveys allow teachers and administrators to gather and act on feedback on a set schedule.

Benefits of technology in schools

While there are some challenges and risks associated with using technology in schools (see next section), the benefits for students and teachers are many. Teaching and educational technology can:

  • Engage students with course content
  • Help students take responsibility for their learning
  • Facilitate both collaborative and independent work
  • Make course content accessible to students with different abilities and study habits
  • Make coursework accessible outside of the classroom
  • Help teachers create differentiated learning commitments
  • Allow students to work at different speeds and at different levels
  • Prepare students for life after school
  • Support digital competence and the responsible use of technology
  • Enable better and more efficient communication between teachers, students and their guardians
  • Invite students to engage with course materials through tools relevant to their lives and future
  • Help students discover new interests that can influence their future careers
(Video) Ways to integrate technology and digital tools in the classroom to enhance student learning

Of course, many of these benefits depend on both teachers and students using classroom technology properly and responsibly.

Challenges of technology in schools

In the immortal words ofStan lee, "With great power comes great responsibility." As useful as technology can be in schools, it is theresome challengesteachers should know.

Abuse of tools and platforms:From plagiarism to fraud to cyberbullying, students face all kinds of digital pitfalls when asked to use the internet for schoolwork. At the very least, access to the internet at school can lead students to use it for entertainment rather than instruction.

Lack of access:Although it may seem like everyone in America has a smartphone or access to a laptop, this assumption can be detrimental to students whohave no internet connectionoutside of school. Teachers must be careful to assign work that requires specific technology they do not provide and make provisions for students with limited access.

Replacements and Updates:Today's technological developments seem to be moving at the speed of light, and schools with limited funding may struggle to keep their edtech tools up to date. The same applies to replacing a technical part if it breaks or support is no longer offered. When a teacher introduces a state-of-the-art tool in their class, they risk the same tool becoming obsolete within a few years.

Lack of internal technical support:When a teacher proposes new technology for their classroom, they may also be responsible for troubleshooting and solving problems. The lack of an in-house IT team familiar with the latest edtech tools can lead teachers to abandon classroom technology altogether if they can't troubleshoot problems themselves.

Over-Dependency:The teachers have busy schedules. It may be tempting to replace a lesson with a self-directed computer activity or "free time" where students can use technology tools as they please. If they do this too often, teachers risk relying on technology to get the lessons done for them, which can result in students being less interested in teacher-led engagement. Likewise, if they do not receive proper training in responsible use,Students may over-rely on technologyto learn and communicate for them.

To get the most out of technology in schools, teachers and administrators should establish rules and routines for specific tools so students learn to use them responsibly.

  • Before introducing a new technical tool, teachers should be familiar with its use, demonstrate its use to students, and troubleshoot problems.
  • For problems that teachers cannot solve themselves, they should know how to access technical support.
  • If students use specific tools on their own, teachers should introduce each new technology with a how-to tutorial and general rules for use.
  • Instructions for use should be made easily accessible to all students and visiting teachers (and guardians if students are using the tools at home).
  • Create a sign-up form and/or schedule for the use of technological aids outside of class hours.
  • Consider limiting the use of technology to academic performance-related activities.
(Video) Google Classroom Is 1 Of 3 Ways To Use Technology In Classrooms & In Education

Use of age-appropriate teaching technology

It's important that teachers research edtech that their peers think is successful and choose tools that support students at the right grade level. For example, edtech tools that are widely used in high school classrooms may not be appropriate for elementary school students and vice versa.

Fortunately, there are thousands of tools and technology-enhanced teaching methods that, when used properly, serve learners of all ages in unique ways.

Technique for Younger Students (Pre-K–Elementary):

  • Builds fundamental skills such as sharing, independent learning, communication and collaboration
  • Reinforces core subjects and skills such as math, science and reading
  • Helps learners practice their skills at home with their parents and guardians
  • Presents concepts for responsible use of technology

Intermediate Technique (Grades 5-8):

  • Helps students develop independent thinking and work skills
  • Continues to support life skills such as critical thinking, communication and collaboration
  • Keeps students engaged with course material
  • Prepares students for more advanced schoolwork in higher grades
  • Makes coursework accessible to students with special needs

Technology for Older Students (High School–College):

  • Provides opportunities to apply tools for higher education or a future career
  • Continues to support students' digital literacy and adaptability amidst changing technologies
  • Connects students to their teachers for feedback, help, etc.

Of course, every teacher will find that classroom technology benefits their students in unique ways. The sky is the limit!

Become a technology-enabled educator

When teachers commit to using technology to empower their teaching, they demonstrate a desire to help their students become empowered, responsible digital citizens. TheTechnology and innovation specializationUSD's online Master of Education program helps teachers blend cutting-edge tools with traditional pedagogies, training them to be adaptable, innovative leaders in their schools.

(Video) How To Use Technology in Classroom Discussions to Support Learning and Enhance Comprehension

In this field of study, M.Ed. Students will learn how to:

  • Develop a deep understanding of how traditional educational research, standards, frameworks, techniques, and best practices can be integrated with technology
  • Promoting equitable and engaging digital learning experiences for all learners
  • Become comfortable integrating traditional pedagogical practices with current technology tools
  • Become transformative, connected K-12 education technology leaders

Are you ready to transform your classroom practice to meet the needs of tomorrow's students? Download the guide below to learn why now might be the right time to earn your masters degree, orContact a USD filing advisorto start the conversation.


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