Technology Creates New Educational Opportunities
When technology is first introduced into a classroom, the first thought is often that it is merely another way for students to play games and have fun, not a serious learning tool. As part of the new educational system that embraces digital learning, schools are seeing technology have a serious impact on the rest of their environment. Technology is changing the way students interact with each other, the way they interact with instructors and the way professionals collaborate. Professional educators must take into account these technological changes when planning for the future of their institutions.
New Devices (and New Ways to Use Them)
The obvious change in a classroom comes in the way of new devices being implemented. From television to computers in the classroom, the amount of interaction has increased, as has the access to information. Today, the upgrade from computers to mobile devices, including tablets, is taking center stage. According to Educational Leadership, encouraging students to use a tablet isn't enough. Instead, leaders must carefully consider how they will integrate this technology in the classroom. Rather than a passive experience, learning can be a strongly interactive experience including social media and worldwide information gathering.
Innovation on a Smaller Scale
When considering the ways that digital learning could alter the educational landscape, big changes are easy to notice. Taking out computers and bringing in tablets may change the dynamic of student interaction, but sometimes much smaller changes can have a larger impact. One example is a new project called the “Digital Scaffolding for English Language Arts,” a research project at the University of California-Irvine, that edits the appearance of text in a passage. Instead of presenting a solid block of a paragraph, this project will split the text digitally to show line breaks and indentations that will assist readers. Changes can be as small as the white space between words on the page but still might be able to assist struggling readers.
Integrating technology in the classroom can be a difficult task for educators. Administrators strive to offer opportunities for professional development but this is an area where teacher leaders can really shine. Teachers and support staff who have been trained to facilitate the transition to new technology can serve a valuable role. Once staff is on board, students can be taught to utilize new devices and methods to enhance their learning.
Learn more about the Lamar University M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership online program.
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