When today's students head back to school, they are just as likely to see a "smart" board facing them as they are to see a chalk board at the front of the room. Their pencil and paper may be traded in for a tablet and stylus. As technology continues to grow in importance, it is finding its way into the classroom, and with great results. Teachers and other education professionals need to understand the ways that technology can be used in the classroom, how this benefits students, and what potential challenges they might face as a result.
Increased Technology Use in Schools Brings Multiple Benefits
Both students and teachers benefit when schools embrace technology. According to the Department of Education, technology has been shown to support the thinking process and problem-solving skills that students need in today's academic environment. It also stimulates self-esteem and motivation. Providing kids with the resources available through technology promotes equity by putting all potential resources in the hands of students, regardless of income and home life. Finally, supporting technology use in school prepares students for the future, which is one that will be packed with technology.
Types of Technology in the Classroom
Today's classroom tech is going beyond the classroom computer, although computer-based drill and instruction is still important, and you may even find schools which provide each student with a laptop computer. Today, teachers are using technology to supplement their teaching.
Smartboards, for example, allow teachers to demonstrate problems and questions in a more dynamic way. Smartboards help teachers accommodate the different learning styles in the classroom, and also creates less of a mess than chalkboards and white boards, which means less cleanup at the end of the day.
Tablets are another innovation being embraced in the modern classroom. Students are using tablets to do worksheet-style lessons, and some schools are ditching textbooks in favor of tablet-based texts, which are more affordable to purchase, and easier to update. Digital textbooks are also more interactive, giving students the ability to take notes, bookmark passages, and even highlight, all within the text.
The Challenges of Introducing Technology in the Classroom
One of the primary challenges of introducing technology in the classroom is the learning curve required. Most students can adapt to technology quickly, but sometimes teachers will struggle to learn and embrace the new programs. Schools can help encourage the use of technology by providing learning seminars and support when implementing new technology.
Another technology challenge is upkeep. Schools will need to have dedicated IT personnel on staff to help maintain the technology pieces they bring in. Replacement batteries need to be on hand to ensure that the technology can always be accessible. These are minor problems, and some that most schools are already tackling, but they are issues that will need to be addressed.
Whether you are wondering about replacement batteries and IT concerns, or are wondering what ways are the best ways to implement technology into your school, the fact is that you can't ignore technology. It is here to stay, and students will benefit when you bring it to your classroom.