Learning is never stagnant – students and teachers are constantly evolving into better versions of themselves, and therefore need resources to evolve along with them. Technology has opened up a new world to the education sector, providing communication between teachers from around the globe as well as opportunities for students to learn in new ways.
According to a 2018 article by David Nagel, 75% of teachers this year are either entirely positive or mostly positive toward the use of technology in their classrooms, meaning they believed technology would have a positive impact on their students. We are growing into a world of out-of-the-box creativity and quicker responses. Teachers use technology for testing and games, for group interaction and studying. Included in this article are several specific examples of the ways educators are using technology to teach students.
As a teacher of students learning English as a second language, technology is increasingly valuable. Not only can the students use translating services like Google Translate on their phone, but they can also use internet services in their first language. With the internet on our phones, finding an image to illustrate a point can be done in seconds. Need to know the pronunciation of a word? Type it into the dictionary app and listen to a native English speaker say it. There are programs for messaging with a native speaker to practice conversation, as well as programs like Burlington English that “grade” pronunciation.
Beyond the ESL field, teachers are using technology to keep students engaged and excited about learning. For example, there are several apps, including Kahoot, that allow teachers to create questions and challenges which students can respond to on their smartphones. In projects about geography or in literature discussions where students need more context about a specific location, map features online are incredibly valuable. Using machines like Elmo’s and Smartboards allow students to interact with what’s going on in the front of the room. For example, I let my students label parts of a picture on the board, or draw their own versions of words. Research takes much less time with online search engines and scholarly article filters – just be aware of the potential for inaccurate information to surface.
IPads and Chromebooks have become a staple in many community schools across the United States. When students have their own computer or tablet in front of them, they can submit work electronically on their own into a shared folder, making it much easier for the teacher to access work to grade.
This is most easily exhibited in the concept of writing homework. In the past, students have spent hours creating, editing, and submitting drafts of projects. Crossing out mistakes, drawing lines to where phrases should go, and underlining important points is time consuming and can distract or confuse students. With word processing systems in computers and tablets, erasing mistakes is simple, and tracking progress of a document is much less time consuming. Spell check and dictionary searches can be completed with one click of the mouse. Technology also helps in providing assistance for specific subjects. If you provide chemistry homework help you can interact with students who need that help and they can learn and progress.
Of course there are always difficulties that arise with the use of technology as with any new educational development, such as lack of attention and the potential for inexperienced students to struggle. It can be daunting as a teacher with maybe less tech knowledge than the modern student to know how to handle all the change. However, in a global society moving ever forward in the world of gadgets and technology, the benefits easily outweigh the negative potential of technology in the classroom. Happy teaching!