5 Ways Technology Improves Learning
If you think back to those days when you were a freshman, how much of a part did technology play in your education? Compared to today, probably very little. Computers have transformed our lives completely, and no more so than in the classroom.
But why has technology become such a big part of education? For those who are yet to adapt to the digital age, or are doing so but with hesitation, we have listed five ways in which technology is improving learning.
1. A Limitless Supply Of Knowledge
Thanks to the internet, it is now far easier for teachers to get their hands on resources. In turn, this means you have more choice on what to use in class, how to teach your class, and what knowledge you can pass on to them.
Children having instant access to the web via school and home computers, as well as tablet devices and smartphones, means they can find out anything they ever wanted to know via just a few clicks of a button. This is particularly useful for when they are doing homework and need to research a particular topic.
However, when allowing children to access the internet from school, be sure to have appropriate guidelines in place, to promote e-safety and protect students from accessing inappropriate material. With the right guidance, the internet can improve the learning experience of your students in ways that never before seemed possible.
2. More Opportunities for Collaboration
Many feel that technology isolates young people, by encouraging them to stay locked in their bedroom glued to a computer screen. Nothing could be further from the truth though – particularly when it comes to technology in education.
Technology allows people to stay in touch wherever they are, at any time of the day. As a teacher, you can use it to allow children to collaborate more on projects. Most LMSs and e-portfolio systems have messaging systems that allow teachers and students interact with each other, both inside and outside of class. Some will also allow students to comment on each other’s work and help each other out with projects – in a similar way to social network systems, but in a safe, secure environment.
There’s also Google’s versatile Apps – docs that can be ‘shared’ between students, and worked on simultaneously. More interaction and collaboration like this improves social skills and give students the opportunity to discuss ideas and take on suggestions more easily. These kind of skills are vital for when they move into the workplace.
3. More Engaging Learning
Not so long ago, computer games were seen as the root of all evil. They turned ordinary children into rampaging zombie killers, eating up hours of their time when they should have been finishing homework, or eating dinner.
Things have changed somewhat recently though – and many schools are now finding ways to replace books with games. Why? Because they want learning to have the same effect on children as those computer games; that is, to engage them fully, and ultimately become something children will love and want more of.
This new phenomenon is called gamification. This literally means applying game-based elements to learning and, according to the schools who now use it, it works. How could it not? Learning is made more fun, with the addictive elements of games utilized in a positive way for education, engaging students and helping them find learning more rewarding.
4. No More Excuses
There are many advantages to something being ‘virtual’ rather than ‘physical.’ In terms of books, an ebook takes up far less space; in fact, online books – of which thousands are now available for schools – don’t even require a library. You don’t even have to worry about finding space for a bookshelf in the classroom.
Other advantages include not having to worry about students ‘sharing’ a copy of a book or waiting until another student has finished it, or having to cover a book in order to protect it from getting damaged.
But one of the biggest advantages teachers will enjoy is that students will no longer come into class in the morning with the age-old excuse of ‘I left my book at home.’ Because ebooks are available anytime, anywhere (via an internet connection from a computer, tablet, or smartphone of course), accessing and reading them is completely flexible.
5. Greater Ability To Track Progress
Tracking a student’s progress is now more important that it has ever been; it’s a huge part of a teacher’s remit. Technology makes this far easier than traditional methods, and can even do some of the tracking for you. For example, many LMSs available can self-mark tests for you – and some will provide graphs and charts to show how well a student is doing over the course of a year. Having automatically-marked tests means less work for the teacher, and easily accessible reports means students’ needs can be catered for more accurately.
Plus, of course, less time spent doing admin means you can spend more time delivering quality class content to your students – or giving them valuable one-to-one time.