01st May 2017
The past decade has seen big changes in educators’ approaches to using technology. High school students now communicate with their peers and teachers via online forums. An aspiring multilinguist can connect with an online Chinese tutor on Preply and start learning over Skype in mere minutes. Smartphone apps provide game-like learning environments for children learning the basics of coding.
Technology has the potential to revolutionize how classrooms function, a fact that has not gone unnoticed over the years by teachers and legislators alike. Determining how schools should best capitalize on that potential has been a process of trial and error, with some approaches proving, ultimately, ineffective.
Discovering How Tech Transforms Classrooms
A Stanford review of over 70 education studies has managed to pinpoint what seems to work, and why. Not every approach is equal, but overall, the addition of tech to classrooms and the utilization of online learning environments seem to be having a positive impact on student achievement. This article highlights a few of the reasons technology can empower both students and teachers.
Students interacting online can learn about a subject without fear of being judged for their academic enthusiasm by their peers. It’s a sensitive period of life for following social norms, and unfortunately sometimes dreams of pursuing math, science, or another subject perceived as difficult—or nerdy—are squelched by the desire to be “cool.”
Behind the anonymity of a computer screen, students can pursue their academic interests in a subject without worrying about the social opinions of their fellow students. And for teens in the throes of popularity woes, that freedom from image can provide an excellent academic opportunity.
A benefit of inquiry-based learning—versus book memorization—is its potential to get students thinking outside of the box and developing a more robust grasp of concepts. Creative group projects within the setting of an online classroom help students build their skills of communication and collaboration with less pressure than many students feel in the physical classroom.
Increased Student Engagement
In many threaded online classrooms, a student posts their idea on a subject, and every other student must respond to it, building upon the original post. The nature of such a forum allows the students to take the time to think and consider and create more thoughtful responses. It also ensures that every student participates in discussion, something that can be difficult to achieve in a traditional physical classroom. The delayed response timeline is often helpful to ESL learners, giving them the chance to focus on the material and contribute without worries about pronunciation or accents
Classic heavy, bulky textbooks have a couple of flaws -- one of which is the high cost of an upgrade. Because of that expense, textbooks were replaced infrequently, and information became outdated instead of keeping up with changes in the field of study. The digitalization of learning materials means incorrect or antiquated information can be quickly adapted to reflect new standards and new information.
Getting Parents Involved In Education
In many traditional classroom formats, teachers find it difficult to foster parent engagement. Parent experience is often detached from classroom happenings. Students aren’t always adept at communicating their learning experiences to their parents—typically, that desire for openness doesn’t come naturally to teenaged students. In addition, parents who are busy with work or have conflicting schedules are frequently unable to physically observe what their child is learning or working on.
The advent of online-based learning opens up the classroom environment to parents—they can go to a website to see what their child is learning, or even work through problems with the child. It’s easier than ever to contact teachers, via online platforms which mend the seams in mismatched teacher-parent schedules.
Education Tech and the Bigger Picture
Outside of school, the ability to utilize technology effectively and creatively is a critical component of most careers and fields of study. By providing students with a great base of knowledge and experience, online-based education gives kids the tools they need to be productive, successful members of society. Tech-based education broadens horizons for students—both in their academic achievement and their long-term career success.
How Teachers And Students Benefit From Technology
From classrooms to smartphones, technology is revolutionizing education – can it empower students and teachers to greater achievement?
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