There are many benefits of technology in the classroom, so we’ve picked five of the most significant for this handy list. From increased engagement to more inclusive environments, the correct application of EdTech improves a wide range of learning outcomes. And of course, using the latest tech help prep students for the future in a variety of ways.
So read on for our top 5 advantages to technology in the classroom.
It’s no exaggeration to say that technology has transformed the classroom and brought in enormous benefits. In a fairly short time, amazing innovations like iPads, laptops, and smartphones have opened up a new world of information for students of all ages. Adapting to this exciting new reality can be challenging for both teachers and students. But for those who embrace it, the advantages are virtually limitless.
Let’s take a look at the biggest benefits of technology in the classroom, starting with something you really don’t want to miss: its powerful effect on student motivation.
Benefit #1: Makes Students More Engaged and Helps Them Retain Information
Picture a bored student. The cliché easily comes to mind because it is so common. He or she gazes out the window, recalling that movie or TV show from last night. Perhaps drumming fingers on the desk, the student tunes out the teacher’s words with more entertaining thoughts. In short, they are entirely unengaged.
Now, take that same young learner or teen and plug them into a tablet or other device and watch the involvement in the learning process take flight. The interactivity excites, drawing the learner in. Not only do students feel motivated and energized by technology in the classroom, but they also participate in active learning, a most worthy educational goal.
It should be no surprise that studies show engaged students retain more of what they have learned. This is just as true for the elementary classroom as it is for the lecture hall. A six-year study of students at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York State is a case in point. In an attempt to reduce the number of students who failed or quit the institution’s engineering-technology program, more technology was introduced into the teaching process. An astounding 90 percent of the students involved said that technology helped learning and retention.
Benefit #2: Accommodates Multiple Learning Styles
It is tempting to use a one-size-fits-all approach with students. It’s faster and easier, of course, but it’s not that effective. That’s because students – like the rest of society – are individuals. That is, they have different strengths and respond differently to various teaching approaches. It’s useful to break learning styles into three broad categories and to see how technology can benefit each group:
- Auditory learners respond best to spoken rather than written words. For these pupils, recorded lessons, audiobooks, and podcasts can effectively be woven into lessons.
- Visual learners rely more on sight than sound, however. They read faster than auditory learners and tend to pay more attention to details when reading. When it comes to integrating technology into the classroom for these types of students, ebooks and interactive whiteboards are good choices. In addition, PowerPoint lessons with graphs and other visually-oriented materials such as videos are beneficial.
- Tactile learners find active learning best, so teachers can encourage them to use their sense of touch. This often presents a challenge for them and their teachers. Especially in the past, traditional teaching was primarily thought of as a one-way street. Under that model, students were forced to sit in seats for a long time listening to the teacher or writing exercises. Tactile learners are more likely to get bored and distracted under those conditions. Fortunately, this is where technology shines as it is very hands-on. Allowing students to hold devices, click on mice, and swipe screens is especially tactile. It helps these kinds of learners by appealing to their sense of touch.
Simply put, accommodating multiple learning styles allows education to be delivered in a more personalized way. That makes it a definite win for the students.
Benefit #3: Encourages Collaboration
Among the many advantages technology brings to the classroom is that it promotes working together. Through the Internet, ideas and opinions can be shared just as easily as files and images can be transported digitally.
Outside the classroom, students love to share their experiences on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. So, it is only natural that bringing technology into the classroom will lead to greater collaboration. Internet connectivity can join students from one class, an entire school or country, or even other cities from around the world. Imagine the excitement a kid from America would feel when collaborating on an assignment with someone from Peru or Italy.
The Net is filled with apps and sites for encouraging students and teachers to work together. Here are just a few:
- Twiducate is a free platform that teachers with classes from kindergarten to Grade 12 can use. It’s basically an educational social networking site that encourages collaboration
- epals is a place for students to connect and have online pen pals.
- myViewBoard is a collaborative software suite that includes powerful digital whiteboarding and sharing features for free.
There are two big advantages to using technology in the classroom to foster collaboration. One is that the collaboration can be tracked (i.e., who is doing what and how much), which is related to the next point. The second is that it encourages teamwork, a useful skill for the future, which is the subject of the last point of this article.
Benefit #4: Provides Instant Feedback for Teachers
When teachers can communicate and monitor students through EdTech, they obtain a lot of feedback. This information exchange can be a two-way, interactive process. On the one hand, teachers may write assessments, or give audio or visual files regarding student performances directly to them. On the other, students can discuss questions or concerns directly with the teacher in a similar manner. They could even be asked to respond to a poll in real-time. These are timely and quite efficient methods that may also form a more permanent record for both students and teachers.
In other words, teachers and students are able to look at the content of these messages at any time they want to refresh their memories. All in all, the feedback loop is enhanced and sped up through the benefits of technology. This makes the process that much meaningful and productive.
Benefit #5: Prepares Students for the Future
When it comes right down to it, the education system is all about preparing young people for the rest of their lives. A big part of their future will be the work world. Increasingly, this means being comfortable with new technology. Schools and universities need to keep up to date with trends. In fact, a nation’s competitiveness depends on having a population that is well informed and capable. Failing to incorporate and benefit from the technology available would do students – and everyone – a terrible disservice.
A forward-thinking school can do even more to future-proof its students: How to Build a Modern School- 6 Key Elements to Embed in Your Groundwork
As the saying goes, “The future is now.” This has never been truer than it is today. What’s more, it will be even more accurate tomorrow. If the classrooms of tomorrow fail to keep pace with the forward march of technology, the future is destined to be problematic.
If, however, schools can rise to the challenge presented by the ever-changing nature of technology, students will be able to discover their limitless potential and take advantage of the many opportunities that have yet to present themselves.