Schools and technology use have been inseparable for decades. How we use technology is changing.
The 21st century requires skills far different than those of the last century. Today’s workforce incorporates technology in nearly every aspect of their jobs and lives. Digital computing not only assists in task completion but in many cases, it has taken over repetitious duties. Technology also allows people to conduct professional and personal business on the go. We work, bank, socialize, learn, and entertain ourselves online.
Our students are growing up in a digitally connected world. They’ve never known anything else. As of June 2019, an estimated 7.7 billion people accessed the internet for labor and leisure purposes. That number is expected to grow as internet penetration expands throughout the world.
To prepare students for living and working in a quickly-evolving world that centers around technology, we must provide differentiated support, teach collaboration skills, and make learning fun. Technology makes those goals possible.
1. Differentiated support
Technology use in schools allows teachers to differentiate learning in ways that would be nearly impossible without machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Today’s classrooms require differentiation for every student. That differentiation may be scaffolded instruction, where students take in small bites of learning. Each lesson builds on the previous one. Student-paced learning is another form of differentiation. Students move through lessons at different rates. They can work ahead or take additional time for learning, depending on their understanding of the concepts.
Differentiation makes learning accessible to every student. No child gets left out of a lesson.
Individualizing instruction takes a lot of time. Technology gives the teacher an advantage when designing instruction. The students benefit from the customization.
2. Collaboration skills
Any work is easier and more productive when done as a team.
Team members can bounce ideas off each other, and often they think up unique ideas. Diversity in the membership encourages out of the box thinking, which in turn, stimulates creativity.
Technology use in schools encourages teamwork and collaboration by having students work together on meaningful projects to solve problems. Students who develop strong collaboration skills are likely to be better problem solvers, demonstrate greater creativity, and foster better relationships.
3. Learning is fun again
Some teachers bemoan having to make learning fun. They aren’t entertainers, and learning isn’t all fun and games, they say. Masterful teachers, however, know that engaged learners are likely to achieve more academic success than peers who don’t get wrapped up in instructional experiences.
Students who enjoy learning are less likely to become frustrated and wander off task. Playing games in the classroom increases the production of brain chemicals that trigger the need for socialization, experiencing joy, being positive, and feeling content.
Technology makes learning fun through gamification.
If our students are to be productive citizens, they must receive the differentiated support they need. Learners require opportunities to develop collaborative skills with others. They especially should find learning fun.
Technology use in schools provides what students will need for their futures.
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