Monday, January 20, 2014

The Effective Implementation of Technology in Education

By Sean Scarpiello

As more and more schools continue to invest in educational technologies, it is important that these technologies are being used efficiently and effectively. Just because a school buys a new set of iPads for a class does not guarantee they will help students learn. For students to get the most out of their new technologies in class, it is important that educators are ensuring that class time is utilized to include a balance of traditional education and application of these new technologies. If teachers can maintain this balance, students will be able to get the most out of their valuable class time while still reaping the benefits of technology.

There are some education professionals that feel as if technology will completely replace traditional education sometime in the future. In my opinion, schools should always retain some sort of traditional education components in schooling. While it is important for students to learn how to read, write, and understand basic concepts in math and science, education should still be about learning to make friends and communicate with others. Plus, teachers should be available to give individual attention to students in a way that personalizes each student’s education. One way this may easily be carried out is through the limited use of technology. If students are overexposed to technology, they can lose their motivations quickly. One way technology can be implemented effectively would be to implement the use of computers and tablets for homework and projects only. That way, students will get a personalized education during the day where they can interact with teacher and other students. Plus, students will not dread going home to pages of boring math problems or grammar worksheets. The use of technology will have students looking forward to completing interactive games as homework.

By over-stimulating students with technology, students will lose interest quickly. For example, if students play a math game on their tablets all day in school, the same students will probably get bored by the end of the day and any additional work to complete on the iPad at home would not be as beneficial to students. Further, some schools are implementing technology in areas of education that clearly did not need technology. I recently read an article discussing how students are using iPads in gym class. Students were able to videotape exactly how they played volleyball and then had the ability to playback the video and watch themselves later. While this seems cool, it really is a waste of schools funding on expensive technologies. Gym class should be about getting exercise and learning about physical education, not watching videos.

Despite this example of technology being poorly implemented during class time, tablets and laptops may still be effectively used during class in an effective and helpful manner. For example, new educational applications that mimic student response clickers as well as other technology-based diagnostic tools for teachers may also be implemented effectively. In that way, students can interact with each other and their teachers through technology instead of completely isolating themselves from others. Teachers will also be able to use technology to identify weaknesses and address them in class. This allows for class time to be utilized more effectively and efficiently so each student’s needs may be addressed.

In all, while it is important to implement technology in school, the benefits of technology are not guaranteed unless this technology is properly implemented. Like many things for young students, the novelty of technology can quickly wear off for students if they are overexposed to this technology. Therefore, by limiting the use of technology during class and as homework - when needed and in moderation, students will reap the most benefits from these technologies. Replacing valuable class time with time where students’ heads are buried latest tablet or laptop will not help them with developing interpersonal and communication skills which are vital to learn at an early age in school.

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