Today, technology plays an integral part in every aspect of our lives— from business, to our personal lives, to education. Over the years, technology has become more important in education, and schools all over the county are integrating the latest technologies into their curriculums. No longer does a student’s school supply list just include the basics like textbooks, notebooks and pencils; now they’ve come to include digital technology, including mobile devices, tablets, and laptop computers.
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Despite technology’s growing importance in the classroom, there have been reoccurring debates about whether or not it actually improves learning. Opponents of using digital technology in the classroom would argue that it distracts students from their coursework and inhibits their ability to develop the valuable skills that can only be obtained through human interaction.
On the other end of the spectrum, proponents of technology in classrooms say it stimulates student interest and engagement, as well as their access to valuable information. Additionally, they claim immersing students in technology allows them to develop modern-day skills and knowledge, including research and analysis skills, which are crucial to success in college and the workforce. With technology, students can become self-directed learners.
With the right strategies, schools can reap the benefits of technology, while minimizing its potential pitfalls. In fact, there are numerous studies that prove technology can improve learning and student achievement when implemented properly. Let’s take a look at some examples to gain a better understanding of the importance of technology and how it can be used to improve student success.
Technology Closes Student Achievement Gaps
Research shows that when employed correctly, technology can close achievement gaps and improve learning outcomes. According to the report, technology can generate significant improvements in student achievement and increases engagement, especially among at-risk students. The report, which is based on a review of over 70 recent research studies, offers concrete examples of how technology has made a great impact in classroom environments, including making a positive difference in the students who are at risk of failing courses or dropping out.
The report also provides valuable suggestions on how schools can incorporate technology in classrooms to produce a positive outcome. It recommends the following:
- Schools should provide one-on-one computer access and speedy Internet connection.
- Schools should provide technology that’s designed to promote high levels of interactivity and engagement and make data available in several forms.
- Instruction plans should allow students to use technology to create content and learn material.
- Educators and policy makers should plan for blended learning environments involving high levels of teacher support and opportunities for interaction among students.
Technology Promotes Personalized Learning
Not every student learns at the same pace or using the same approach. For instance, one student may be a visual learner who learns by observation, while another might be an auditory learner who prefers listening and taking notes. In a typical classroom with around 20 students, it can be difficult for teachers to cater to every learning style. And, with this many students, teachers teach the curriculum at a pace that suits the majority of the students in the class. This can leave advanced students feeling bored and unstimulated. It can cause students who need more time to focus on a particular lesson to fall behind.
It’s clear that there is no single approach to education, and this is where technology can prove very beneficial. Technology provides more tools and options that allow teachers to cater to each student’s individual needs. Technology is designed for both self-learners and those who learn best collaboratively; it enables students to learn how they learn best and work at their own pace, while allowing teachers to better track student progress.
Not to mention, technology also takes students from passive learning to active learning. In traditional teaching involving lectures and taking notes, it’s easy for even the most intellectual students to become inattentive. But, with technology, which involves hands-on learning— whether clicking buttons, viewing videos, or thinking out problems— students remain stimulated and engaged.
A number of studies indicate that the use of technology, particularly iPads, is linked to better test results. One study found incorporating these tablets into academic instruction increases learning and comprehension, especially when it comes to literacy. The study looked at kindergarteners in Auburn, Maine, and found those who used iPads scored better on literacy tests and were more excited about learning than those who didn’t.
Tablets aren’t just beneficial for younger students; they’re a very powerful tool for students at all levels.For instance, another study shows middle school students using iPads increased their math test scores by 20% in a single year, compared to students using traditional textbooks. Similarly, iPad-equipped students in the University of California Irvine’s iMedEd program scored 23% higher on national exams than their non-equipped counterparts.
As previously described, digital technology allows students to remain engaged and interested in their coursework, as well as provides student-centric tools and resources that cater to their learning style and pace. As a result, the use of tablets helps students study more effectively and perform better in their classes and on exams.
In addition to the countless ways technology benefits students in the classroom, it also proves advantageous in after-school instruction. Aside from digital technology that’s put in the hands of students, there’s technology that works behind the scenes that’s also worth noting. For example, , online tutoring software programs such as Oases improves the efficiency of tutoring and instruction in a number of ways.
A cloud-based technology, tutoring software integrates all the scheduling and management applications tutors need to run their tutoring program. As a result,educators can access everything they need in one convenient place, from any location and device. This means they can review a student’s test results or perfect their lesson plans, from the classroom, their home, and on the road.
Another perk is this software reduces administrative errors, allowing teachers to spend less time resolving reporting inaccuracies and more time where it matters most— with their students.It also eliminates the risk scheduling conflicts, so tutors won’t have to cancel important sessions, causing students to miss out on valuable learning and study time. Advanced tutoring software even allows parents to maintain an active role in their child’s education; they can easily access their student’s test results, progress reports, and curriculum by logging into their account.
As you can see, when utilized properly, technology can vastly improve a student’s education and stimulate their interest in learning. As spoken by MahtabNarsimhan, “A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.” A quality education sets students up for future success, and it’s important that educators provide students with the highest quality education possible.