Technology in education has basically revolutionized teaching. For many years people in the teaching professions, parents, students, as well as policymakers have been looking at the benefits of technology for education and weighing these up against the possible negative consequences.
Technology has enabled experimentation in education and promoted more democracy in the classroom. But some would argue that technology promotes cheating in the classroom. Whichever way, things have changed considerably since the Covid-19 pandemic and technology is now crucial as face-to-face teaching has been replaced with distance learning as well as distance playing like logging into an online casino and other forms of entertainment.
We know that classroom technology increases student engagement, flexibility and is able to personalize any face-to-face or online program. Below we will look at a number of technologies that are really useful for use in the classroom and will be helpful in meeting the needs of students.
Technology can help students reach their learning goals.
Technology for students today has become second nature. They have grown up with it. Technology skills are now a basic requirement in schools and in the workplace. The use of technology begins during elementary school and continues through high school and then of course into higher education. But computer technology is not only to do with devices used in class but is anything that helps or enables interaction between the teacher and pupils. This technology can be seen as positive, or sometimes even negative.
According to David Goodrum, the Director of Academic Technology and Information Services at Oregon State University “Digital education is generating new learning opportunities as students engage online, digital environments and as faculty change educational practices through the use of hybrid courses, personalized instruction, new collaboration models and a wide array of innovative, engaging learning strategies.”
He goes onto say that “a 21st century view of learner success requires students to not only be thoughtful consumers of digital content, but effective and collaborative creators of digital media, demonstrating competencies and communicating ideas through dynamic storytelling, data visualization and content curation.”
Different forms of classroom technology
It is possible with education technology to become involved, interact and motivate students inside and outside of the classroom. Furthermore, some technologies, for instance podcasts or video streaming platforms can help when it comes to unusual learning styles of particular groups.
Many technologies are used when operating education programs online. These include lectures, labs, group meetings, and tutorials. Some of them are already being used in many educational institutions in their degree programs.
Student engagement using technology: pros and cons
It can assist with gaining full participation.
Digital tools and online polling do help in engaging students, even very shy students who in a face-to face situation would not engage. Online platforms enable you to check in with students at any time concerning their assignments and to get feedback. Getting students’ feedback helps to highlight those areas where students may be struggling.
These response systems help students figure out their level of understanding while their teachers are able to see what needs to be reviewed. For example, iClicker, asks students questions, multiple choice or true or false. Students need to choose the correct answer and will receive participation points from a teacher. This is a good engagement tool for teachers. These digital response systems enable students to engage in the classroom and get rewarded for it too.
Another learning strategy of education technology is using quizzes. Students are able to do a quick quiz at the start of a class to test their initial understanding of the subject. This can be very informative and shows what needs to be focused on. Doing a quiz again at the end of the class can show students what they have learned and what they still do not understand.
Technology in the class allows for more experimentation and to get instant feedback
Technology promotes active learning. It increases engagement via online polling or quizzes and the results can be immediate. By using a digital textbook, the content and subject matter is dynamic and will be linked to other relevant materials.
Being up to date with the latest technology will help in terms of your credibility with students and also with colleagues. Feedback from students can be gathered from Video conferencing software, discussion boards and live polls.
Technology can make learning more fun and effective
There are so many tools that can literally transform the classroom. Some teachers are using competitive scenarios and the giving out of points and rewards that make online classes more fun. Obviously, these need to be an effective means to supporting your learning objectives. Digital storytelling, allowing students to use simulations in a fictional environment, can be a lot of fun for students. It promotes engagement in the classroom and can introduce some healthy competition. Technology can be used to play classroom games and this often motivates students to finish their assessments. Blended learning is also effective whereby some studies are in person and some are not.
Technology can aid students and promote collaboration and group work outside of the classroom
Technology has enabled students to work collaboratively on a project using social media, interactive boards and other platforms. Students are able to work together at any time and any place and have the ability to engage in unplanned discussions and get answers to questions they are seeking.
Students may get distracted
Students may find it hard to focus in class when they are surrounded by many digital devices. For instance, it can be difficult to lecture students and hold their attention from behind a screen. According to Matthew Numer, assistant professor in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University “Our students are capable of making their own choices, and if they choose to check Snapchat instead of listening to your lecture, then that’s their loss. Besides, it’s my responsibility as an educator to ensure that my lecture is compelling. If my students aren’t paying attention, if they’re distracted, that’s on me.”
Therefore, it is all the more important to create a “structure and culture of respect”.
Technology can interfere with normal student social interactions
There are those who argue that technology reduces everyone’s ability to verbally communicate with one another. However, this can be circumvented by using both technology tools and also having oral presentations and collaborations.
Technology can aid in cheating on assignments and in the class
True it may be easier to cheat in the digital age, although cheating is not new. It is pretty easy to copy/paste someone’s material or hiring someone to do write your essay from an online essay site. It is possible that technology could diminish students’ personal and professional development. However, there are ways to reduce the possibility of cheating. Educational software like Turnitin is pretty well established in educational facilities and is used to “maintain academic integrity from a distance”.
Technology does not equal students being more accountable.
Using technology in the classroom doesn’t necessarily mean that students are fulfilling all the tasks required of them. Are they viewing and reading all their assignments? Hard to know. Educational platforms and social media don’t always show whether work has been completed. They may just show that the student has opened the file. It is difficult to know whether students have gone through all the material assigned.