By Chigozie Nnodim
According to a 2014 Pew Research Study, 58% of American adults have a smartphone, 32% own an e-reader, and 42% own a tablet; people are adapting to new and emerging forms of technology, and the use of technology has become such a big part of the world we live in that many jobs that traditionally did not require the use of technology are now incorporating it. As Kevin C. Costley stated in his essay, The Positive Effects of Technology on Teaching and Student Learning, “We are an evolving technological society and in many ways have become dependent on its use. Thus, the use of technology, and teaching students… to use it, has become a high priority in… public schools.”
Technology positively affects student engagement, enabling students to retain and learn more information. There are a variety of ways in which technology can be implemented as tools in the classroom. For starters, tablets, videos, apps, and interactive whiteboards can be learning tools for students, as well as teaching tools for educators. A PBS LearningMedia survey of pre-K-12 teachers researched the types of technology teachers are using in classrooms, how they are using technology in their classrooms, and their overall attitudes toward technology. The results showed that three-quarters of teachers surveyed had a positive opinion of educational technology, stating that technology assists them in reinforcing and expanding on content. Teachers who have been teaching for several years find that using the same or similar lesson plans can become very repetitive. This repetition makes it difficult for them to keep students engaged and moreover, it makes it harder for teachers to stay excited about teaching. Interactive presentation tools, video clips, graphics, and other audio-visual elements are simple ways to keep lessons fresh and keep students actively engaged.
Another reason why technology positively impacts the classroom is because it motivates students to learn. Many students are more stimulated and eager to learn when they can interact with the hands-on learning tools that educational technology provides. According to research done by PBS LearningMedia, 74% of teachers surveyed felt that using classroom technology motivates students to learn. In addition, as stated by a fifth grade teacher in an article by the US Department of Education, “Technology is the ultimate carrot for students. It’s something they want to master. Learning to use it enhances their self-esteem and makes them excited about coming to school.”
With technology in the classroom, students gain greater control of their education and they can learn at their own pace. One important fact that remains is that no child is the same and every child learns at their own pace. Integrating technology into the classroom can aid students in learning at a rate that’s comfortable for them, enabling them to retain information better. For example, lessons or activities on tablets or laptops give students the opportunity to read directions, process information, and complete their work at their own pace. This also gives the teacher time, allowing them to give students extra assistance and attention when it is needed. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on the use of technology, we have a responsibility to teach children how to incorporate it into their learning. It is an added bonus that research shows that using technology in the classroom motivates children to learn. How have you successfully used technology in your classroom? We’d love to hear your success stories!