By Lani Aquino
The more exposure students have to technology, the better. Technology is rapidly evolving, and it has a huge directional impact on education. From the latest in technology for presenting information, processing data, and directing learning, there are numerous entry points for utilizing technology to enhance the educational journeys of students.
The key to positively embracing technology is to utilize it in ways that enhance the journey. Teachers shouldn’t be tossing in tech for the sake of checking off a box on a strategy list. Teachers need to find ways to infuse technology into the curriculum, so it is a natural and integral part of the learning process. If a technological component isn’t the best way to deliver content or master a skill, then it shouldn’t be the chosen strategy. When technology is used to engage students and enrich their journeys, it becomes a powerful tool for learning, and these are 5 impactful ways to utilize it.
Adaptive Learning- A technology that automatically differentiates skill levels is a lifesaver. When teachers utilize adaptive learning platforms, the programs are able to meet students at their current levels and scaffold them toward mastery in needed skill development. There are a variety of programs available at a variety of price points. These programs offer multiple beneficial uses. They can be utilized to bridge achievement gaps, pinpoint current understandings, and/or offer extension activities. Adaptive learning is a perfect technology for blended classrooms as it engages students at levels they can understand independently and gives teachers an opportunity to work with individuals and/or small groups.
Production/Presentation- As a means for storing, sorting, shaping, and sharing learning, technology is a perfect streamlined component. With programs like Google Suite, students and teachers are able to collaborate in real-time and easily check for understanding throughout the learning process. Google Docs is a key player when written expression comes into play, but there are a variety of other presentation forums and templates within the Google Suite and other streamlining platforms. Students don’t have to be pigeonholed by a singular format for showcasing learning. The real world isn’t comprised of only written papers, and the learning world shouldn’t be either. Through technology, students can find a variety of platforms and modes for showcasing learning.
Coding- This foundational computer literacy skill is a must add. When students are given opportunities to work through the coding process, they are building an invaluable understanding of logic and problem solving. Not every student will become a computer coder, but every student can benefit from exposure to and an understanding of the elements of the coding process. For those with tight tech budgets, there are even games and activities that teach these processes without powering up a device.
Apps- The expression there’s an app for that holds true in education too. The lists of apps for education are endless, and all teachers can spruce up their toolkits by pinpointing apps to enhance their curriculum and/or offer students additional support and practice when it comes to key concepts. Not every app touted for the classroom will be the right fit though. Vetting contenders with an app checklist can help. From ELA to SEL and everything in between and beyond, there are a host of apps that can make a difference for an entire classroom or a single student.
VR/AR- Virtual and Augmented Realities are no longer exclusive to the science fiction scene. These two elements can easily be infused in any curriculum to bring learning to life. Virtual reality allows students to travel to places that no field trip budget could ever cover. While augmented reality brings elements right into the learning space for observation and manipulation. Both of these disciplines can be used with nearly any curriculum, and they can also be blended for a mixed reality (MI) experience to enhance the learning on multiple levels.
Technology is an integral part of today and will be an integrally evolving part of the future. By creating opportunities and experiences for utilizing technology, teachers are preparing students for that evolving future. When technology becomes a part of the learning process and isn’t viewed as a separate entity, student are able to glean all the benefits of a technologically enriched learning journey.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.