The increasing use of technology in the modern classroom creates new questions for teachers and students. What possibilities does this trend open up for student learning and classroom interactions? What impact does it have on curriculum? What are the challenges it might present for teachers and students alike? As classroom dynamics change, teachers must examine the pitfalls and promises of technology. By learning the best it has to offer, teachers can customize how they engage, inspire and facilitate learning in innovative ways.
The Challenge of Technology
Technology can be exciting. But, if not managed correctly, it can hinder social interactions and collaboration in the classroom. Even if teachers have technical savvy, they may not know how to use it productively to promote camaraderie and collaboration.
How can technology be used appropriately and creatively? "To provide more interactive learning experiences, many teachers are now using gamification as an instructional tool to motivate and engage their students," says an article on GoGuardian. The "fun" and "familiar" nature of gamification — turning lessons into games with activities and rewards instead of lectures and quizzes for example—can keep instruction and learning from becoming stagnant.
In addition, classrooms become more productive when technology is used well. In the past, classrooms focused on following rules and meeting educational benchmarks. Current trends focus more on reaching students how and where they learn best. Whereas in the past, the lecture ruled the classroom as students passively took notes, there is a drive now for classroom techniques in which students are actively learning, such as lessons involving simulations online. Students remain engaged and focused and teachers have access to the tools they need to customize lessons for a variety of academic needs and skill levels.
Students are more likely to stay engaged and on-task when they are given age-appropriate opportunities to self-direct and make individual choices. The effective use of technology can provide both.
By using familiar, interactive platforms, technology has the potential to provide high-quality, self-directed discovery and instruction. "The learning approach of 'self-directed learning,' an instructional strategy where the student takes ownership over their learning process, catalyzes students' natural curiosity," notes GoGuardian.
For quite some time, experienced educators have recognized the value of adding choice to student work and assignments. "Student choice makes students active participants in their educations, thereby increasing levels of engagement. Notably, researchers highlight the fact that such autonomy is generally associated with greater personal well‐being and satisfaction in educational environments as well as in terms of academic performance," according to Hanover Research. The use of well-designed computer and online programs provides both choice and independence in the classroom, giving students the environment they need to succeed.
The thoughtful use of technology in daily classroom experience decreases the all-too-frequent reality of passivity in students. A Master of Science in Education in Curriculum & Instruction — Teaching Technology Online from Northwest Missouri State University will give you the necessary skills and strategies to harness the promise of technology and prepare you to use it effectively in the classroom.
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