HOW TO USE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM: ADVANTAGES AND EFFECTS
Technology provides instant access to information, which is why its presence in the classroom is so essential. Smartphones, computers and tablets are already a ubiquitous element in the daily lives of students and teachers. It is only natural to explore the use of technology devices in the classroom to create meaningful learning experiences for students of all ages.
Using different types of technology in the classroom, including the virtual classroom, creates students who are actively engaged in learning goals. Technology implementation also creates avenues for differentiated instruction that meets the unique needs of students as individual learners within the larger classroom climate.
WHAT DOES TECHNOLOGICAL INTEGRATION IN EDUCATION MEAN?
Integrating technology in education simply refers to the use of technology to enhance the learning experience of students. Using different types of technology in the classroom, including the virtual classroom, creates students who are actively engaged in learning goals. Technology implementation also creates avenues for differentiated instruction that meets the unique needs of students as individual learners within the larger classroom climate.
HOW TO INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
There is a common misconception that integrating technology in the classroom can be a financial burden for school districts, but students don’t necessarily need their own tablets or laptops to succeed with technology. Using technology during whole-class instruction can promote student engagement with auditory and visual learners. Integrating simple technology Power Points, games, Internet homework, or online assessment systems can make all the difference in student growth in the classroom.
Power Points and Games:
Powerpoint presentations can be used to introduce a class concept while providing an opportunity for engagement. Along with using graphics and bulleted information, links to videos can be inserted into the slides to accompany the ideas presented in Powerpoint.
Classroom educational apps like Kahoot can be used to review information after a lesson or unit. Teachers can create and share Kahoots with each other, while students can create anonymous usernames to participate in the game. This allows for whole class participation from students who are usually reluctant to participate in class. Kahoots can be played on phones or computers, and teachers can specify whether they want students to work independently or in teams.
Posting homework online (via learning platforms like Blackboard, Brightspace, and Moodle) is one way many teachers can begin to integrate technology into the classroom. Tasks are easily accessible, which can increase student engagement and help students become more organized.
Online rating systems:
Communication is a key element in education that helps teachers, administrators, parents, and students recognize student strengths and areas for improvement. Online grading systems like PowerSchool open and facilitate lines of communication where teachers can post grades, analyze student attendance patterns, and manage transcript data.
Tablets for the classroom:
For classrooms fortunate enough to have tablets for students, technology can allow teachers to differentiate instruction. Students can work at their own pace during assignments, and teachers have the option of one-on-one instruction.
Parents can receive updates from teachers on important announcements, bulletins and discussions, keeping frequent lines of communication open.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES FOR AGE GROUPS
The benefits of technology can enhance any current classroom. However, the way technology is implemented and used in classrooms of different grade levels and content areas will vary.
METHODS OF INCORPORATING TECHNOLOGY IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM
For younger students, technology can be used to build foundational skills that will prepare them for future independent learning. Students can use interactive games to strengthen math, spelling, phonics and reading skills. Sites like Spelling Training allow students or teachers to upload their own word lists to practice word pronunciation and create interactive games. Parents can also use these sites to practice basic skills outside of the classroom.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE MIDDLE CLASS
As students begin to take steps to become independent thinkers, they can use technology to develop essential life skills. Students at the high school level gain independence by having different teachers for each subject. Using technology to acquire skills such as conducting research can be applied to any content area. Websites like Easy Bib guide students to find credible sources through various search engines and teach students how to properly cite those sources to avoid plagiarism.
TECHNOLOGY IN SECONDARY CLASSROOMS
Once students reach high school, they can discover ways to use technology that can be beneficial for college and career development. Familiarity with Microsoft Office and Google Drive will teach students to create spreadsheets, presentations and share documents where they can get continuous feedback on their work. Many careers use these features from Microsoft and Google to organize information and collaborate between colleagues or clients.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
Using technology for learning has various benefits and effects, and some may argue that not all effects are positive. Having an endless stream of information and entertainment available at any time could be seen as intrusive, but if technology is integrated into the classroom with established routines that are monitored or assessed, the pros of using technology in the classroom outweigh the cons.
It helps students with different learning styles:
Not all students learn and retain information in the same way or at the same speed. Technology is an opportunity for teachers to differentiate instruction and tailor information to match their students’ learning abilities. The use of technology also allows students to work at their own pace.
Prepare students with life skills:
Technology has become its own form of literacy because of how often it is used in everyday life. Many professions use at least one aspect of Microsoft Office or Google Drive on a daily basis: balancing budgets in spreadsheets, creating packages or presentations to present, or attaching documents to emails to communicate important information. Allowing students to learn and hone these skills will prepare them for life outside the classroom.
For more information about programs or certifications related to technology in the classroom, see Drexel University’s Educational Technology Specialist Certification Program.