Is technology effective for your classroom?

Technology has revolutionized almost every industry we know of. But a significant question educators grapple with today is, does education needs a tech revolution? To begin with here’s the story told by the numbers. According to a 2015 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, 94 percent of children had access to a computer at home but only 64 percent of them had internet access. On the higher education front, a report by Statista says that 81% of students reported technology helping them boost their grades, the most common use being online practice quizzes. This has two implications for educators to consider: technology is widely available and familiar and that it is overwhelmingly used as a means to assess and reinforce learning. Yet, educators are still faced with uncertainty when implementing technology in their classrooms. The question is, why?

 

The role of technology in classrooms is widely debated to this day.

The role of technology in classrooms is widely debated to this day. This report by Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning effectively summarizes the dichotomy between those for and against technology. Although it can be viewed as a significant source of distraction for students, the authors warn against dismissing the potential benefits of technology and instead call for integrating it into the classroom. This idea of repurposing technology is gaining traction among educators, evidenced by the increasing support for technology-enabled classrooms aimed at enhancing the learning experience.

Is technology effective in YOUR classroom for YOUR students?

However, it’s important to be cautious. The fact still stands that to a significant degree, every educator has their own teaching style shaped by the nature of the material being discussed. Furthermore, each student has their own set of needs and disadvantages that need to be addressed when considering the role of technology in classrooms. To some, technology might act as a perfect complement in the learning process while for others, lack of access might severely undermine their ability to perform well. Under these constraints, it becomes a challenge of weighing the potential benefits and the costs associated with designing technology use into a course. So in effect, the question now becomes: is technology effective in YOUR classroom for YOUR students?

With a dizzying array of options for educators that do want to integrate technology into their classroom, it might seem as though the costs outweigh the benefits. However, research has shown that overall, technology benefits students by accommodating their differences and leveling the playing field. Additionally, when combined with effective in-class instruction, technology use allows educators to bridge the generational gap that affects the medium of education. The next step is to evaluate HOW to incorporate technology into classrooms. Educators are well aware of how they like to teach and what they can expect from their students. Combining this knowledge with what technology can do for them can result in a constructive relationship between teaching, learning, and the classroom environment.

Technology is often polarizing in its effects. In which case, it falls upon educators to decide what works best for them. After all, the classroom is built for students with the hope that they leave in a better state than when they find them.

 

Sagar Shetty

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