This post has been updated on April 9, 2020.
Keeping up with classroom technology can seem a daunting task for teachers. They have students to teach, papers to grade, and meetings to attend — and that barely scratches the surface of what teachers do each day.
That is why it is usually easier to stick with the same tools, even if they no longer serve the educational process. It is also very true that the best tools in the world cannot replace the expertise of dedicated educators.
It is obvious that schools need to find a balance between the two, and choose the type of tech that serves them best. They also need to know what works best for their infrastructure, teaching methods and capacity to train staff in using said tools.
At the same time, it can be unclear what are the actual benefits of tech in the classroom, especially if they haven’t been used by teachers before.
Facts about the educational benefits of technology
The facts are clear. Students do learn better when the chosen tech is complementary to the school’s educational methods. For example, blended learning cannot function without said tech. Here are more facts about the benefits of classroom technology:
- Seventy percent of students report higher grades and better attendance in active-learning environments that use technology than traditional ones.
- Ninety-two percent of teachers say they would like to use more technology in their lessons than they already do.
- Fifty-nine percent of students who use social media say they use it to discuss educational subjects with their peers.
- Schools that use more software related to assessment reported higher student outcomes than those that didn’t.
Examples of technology in the classroom
Technology in the classroom has come a long way. It is now more accessible than ever to create interactive lessons, implement PBL projects, offer personalized learning, and organize classroom activities.
Using handheld devices as digital textbooks can enable students to have greater interaction with the material through mixed media. Students also can save money over the cost of printed books. As digital natives, they are also more comfortable in using tablets so it just makes sense to use them primarily for learning. In addition, they can easily access their school LMS anytime and anywhere, making it the perfect solution for students of all ages.
High-speed Internet can connect lecture halls in different parts of the world and allow students in different locations to participate in the same lessons. This also can be an effective way for learners to collaborate across large distances. In fact, video conferencing offers a wide range of opportunities, from teaching a class while being out of town, to organizing meetings with parents who cannot participate at face to face meetings.
Interactive, connected display boards can take the place of whiteboards in most classroom environments. This type of boards offer a much better, engaging and interactive experience for students. They can be used to display videos and photos alongside hand-written notes to create a multimedia approach to presenting material. Since they are easy to use, they can also function as an aid for students when delivering classroom presentations.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR devices allow students to experience their lessons as if they were right in front of them. For example, medical students can see a 3D model of anatomy and interact with it in a virtual environment. However, AR will surely become a staple in classrooms in the future, as students of all ages can benefit from an interactive learning experience.
Read more: 6 Awesome AR apps for the classroom
Students are able to access all of the materials they need through the cloud. This could eliminate the need for the traditional computer lab or expansive library facilities. Not to mention the fact that schools save a lot of money by ditching on-premises servers, which are expensive and require more personnel to run. Instead, they have time to focus more on professional development for teachers.
This technology has the potential to change the way students learn about engineering, giving them the opportunity to design and produce prototypes easily. It also can be used to create accurate 3D models for science classes or art projects.
Read more: 3D printing in schools: Is it worth it?
Schools have more tools than ever to pick and choose from, depending on their budget, infrastructure, and teaching methods. There are many good examples that show how technology can improve the educational process and yield better learning outcomes. Plus, integrating tech in the classroom is more than welcome — it is expected by students and teachers alike.