Technology in the classroom used to involve playing Oregon Trail on one of the four available PC’s in the “computer lab.” The 21st Century has made great strides since then, and children today have unprecedented technology tools at their disposal.
Despite the positive trends towards adopting technology in the classroom, the full menu of technology is still not universally available to all students. Many schools struggle with nearly-crippling budget cuts and teacher shortages, and some have had to make difficult choices. Furthermore, IT leaders are given the challenge of balancing technology integration while protecting students and staff from cybersecurity threats targeting their personal information.
Using technology at school has become an important talking point across all campuses from K-12, an on through higher education. This article will explore the importance of technology in the classroom.
10 Benefits of Technology in the Classroom
1. Instructors Can Personalize the Education Experience
A PBS teacher survey found that teachers like and support technology in the classroom. Tools like websites, apps, learning games, e-books, and virtual tutoring help the student learn at their own pace. Digital materials can support classroom learning topics, and introduce different teaching methods for each student’s unique learning needs.
2. Instant Access to Knowledge
The Internet gives students instant access to answers beyond what’s in their textbooks. In fact, today’s kids are already familiar with “Googling-it” to find answers to questions. The gift of the internet to the classroom gives teachers the chance to give their students a holistic view of any given subject while still giving students the guidance to find the right sources. In-classroom internet research gives teachers the opportunity to teach their students how to assess the quality of the information they find online while removing the one-sided restrictions of a textbook.
3. Student Preference
A study by Educause found that K-12 and college students prefer to have technology integrated into their curriculum. Computers, tablets, smartphones, and the internet are the same tools that they use at home. Students are already comfortable using these tools to connect with other students, their instructors, and their institution. In fact, the Educause survey found that 54% of students would typically use at least two devices simultaneously for school work.
4. Student Workplace Readiness
One of the greatest benefits for technology in the classroom is student workplace readiness. Mobility is currently the next great movement in the workplace, and students who use technology in the classroom today will be more adapted to using it in the future. The importance of technology in the classroom goes even beyond simple digital literacy: it promotes workplace soft skills like critical thinking, independent research, and cross-technology proficiency.
5. Trend toward Blended Learning Environment
The Educause survey found that 75% of students currently have experience with blended online/on premise learning. This offers several benefits, including a cost reduction for some schools. Blended learning programs often use e-textbooks to allow their students to have unlimited access to their learning material. Blended environments also support online submission of electronic documents, cutting school costs on paper and other materials. Cost-benefits aside, students say that they enjoy the benefits of blending both online and in-class learning styles.
6. Teacher Support
A 2013 PBS LearningMedia study found that 74% of teachers agree that technology enables them to reinforce their lessons. Curriculums, learning trends, and student engagement can rise or fall on the basis of teacher support. Technology in the classroom would never flourish without the support of instructors, and an overwhelming percentage of teachers are eager to use even more technology in the classrooms. Huffington Post found that, “78 percent of Kindergarten through Middle School teachers agree that technology has had a positive impact on their classroom -- and that's just the start.”
7. Proven Student Engagement
An article by the National Math and Science Initiative shows that blended learning styles keep students focused longer and makes them more excited to learn more, especially for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects.
8. Tools are improving at an Alarming Rate
Technology toys, like interactive whiteboards, tablets, learning apps and websites, are always improving. Even the ways students access and interact with information is always improving. Developers are conscious of the benefits of technology in the classroom, and a lot of money is being spent on developing mobile apps and e-Learning courses with proven results. Also, social tools in Web 2.0 provide a learning opportunity for students to learn about internet safety while staying engaged with their educators.
9. Website Creation and Access are Cost-Effective
According to a PBS survey, websites are the most commonly used tech resources in the classroom with 56% of educators citing the use of a website. Some teachers even say that they create websites of their own to bolster their in-classroom lesson plans. The cost to develop and maintain a website are significantly less the investment in additional textbooks and workbooks. (Web sites are also easier to update than a printed textbook).
10. The Teaching Industry is Ready for Emerging Technology
Teachers the foot soldiers of education, and they’re ready to implement technology in the classroom through was many ways as possible. Unlike in previous decades, modern teachers recognize the critical importance technology plays in teaching tomorrow’s leaders. If a school district decides to implement or encourage technology, they probably won’t experience much (if any) backlash from educators.
The Importance of Technology in Education
If students, parents, and even teachers are convinced of the importance of technology in the classroom, what obstacles are standing in the way of implementing them?
The National PBS Survey found that 63% of educators say that the cost of technology is too high to successfully implement technology in the classroom. However, there are still cost-effective solutions that can help educators get the technology they need and deserve in their classroom.
Partner with an IT solutions company that already works with school districts throughout Texas and Louisiana to learn about your options for mobility, VDI, 1:1 deployment, and more. Contact Centre Technologies for more information about our education technology solutions today.