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In today’s world, more and more children are gaining early access to technology. With this influx of tech-savvy children, more and more teachers are being encouraged to use a wide variety of technological resources in their classrooms. These resources are both a blessing and a curse. Many aspects of online educational tools are great ways to encourage learning with multiple intelligences. The use of technology in the classroom has by far increased levels of learning and understanding in the classroom.
One of the many aspects of technologically advanced classrooms is the online school. Many states and even countries are beginning to adopt this method of schooling to allow students more flexibility. According to Blaylock (2005), “most secondary students will receive all or part of their education from internet-connected computers.” While in high school, I had the opportunity to take concurrent courses through a local community college.
One of the classes was an online format where we discussed literature. I found this to be very beneficial because it lessened my overall course load here, but also because it allowed me to work at my own pace but also have enough structure to hold me accountable.
Many schools are adopting similar formats for classes, whether it be Google Classroom or other avenues. Blaylock (2005) reported, “within the next three or four years, most high school students in the United States will take all or part of their courses from the internet.” With all the different mediums through which we can access technology, why shouldn’t we use this in the classroom? In today’s world, students need to be prepared for work environments that are fast-paced and very technologically integrated.
By providing them with the resources early, they will be able to be even more successful than previous generations. One of the best reasons for using online classrooms specifically is their cost effectiveness. Many rural and urban areas lack the funding to have the proper tools for students to succeed. Using an online school setting can help give students more options for classes, while also being more cost effective. According to Blaylock (2005), “properly designed Internet-based instruction addresses the reality of curtailed budgets that exist in many school districts and state departments of education.” With the large amounts of students, we are building more and more schools to accommodate all of them. Rather than spend large amounts of money on building schools, they can use that money to convert schools to all online formatting that can accommodate everyone with ease.
Blaylock (2005) stated, “This has the potential to be a lifesaver for our public school system.” Another benefit of technology is the students’ reaction to technology. Not only are students more likely to participate in a class that is not entirely lecture-based; they are also more likely to be more confident in their learning. According to Restuccia (2018), “numerous teachers saw a jump in students’ classroom engagement when using technology.” Students are not only responding well to the use of technology, they are also gaining a better understanding for the future. This also gives students who may work best with hands-on experience a chance to become active in class discussions or activities. Restuccia (2018) stated, “students who had previously been non-participatory members of the class were willing to participate when presented with a tablet or computer to express knowledge.” Not only are internet-capable devices a great tool in the classroom, they are also a great way to incentivize and encourage students to participate and apply knowledge in their classes.
The use of technology is a great tool for students who are in ESL (English as a Second Language) Programs or students who are disabled and cannot articulate their thoughts in the same way as their peers. Computerizing classrooms not only makes them more progressive but also more diverse. The ability to articulate real-world issues into a classroom has never been easier since the advent of computers. This has become even more prevalent today where most people have smartphones that can access the news and Google at the tap of a finger. Students like being informed, and if you can include real-world issues in your discussion this can help them become more engaged and increase discussion. According to Lynch (2018), “[H]elps students understand that the lesson being taught refers to real problems and real people.” Technology also encourages the use of simulations and role play to help enforce ideas and cultivate higher thinking about a subject. Not having a budget for field trips is now a thing of the past with the advent of applications like Google Earth and Oculus Rift. Lynch (2018) articulated, “these tools allow students to see the dynamic characteristics of models.” Students enjoy a hands-on style classroom and allowing them to use applications like those listed can allow them to be as hands-on as they can be without touching anything. Some believe that giving students access to the technology rather than the teacher hurts students in the long run.
However, it has been shown that by providing students with the technology that teachers have (with minor restrictions) has helped them learn things in new ways that we could never have thought of. Many classes use the added computers/tablets to get creative with project-based and inquiry-based learning. According to O’Brien (2018), “students who received a blend of inquiry-based and more traditional teacher-directed instruction had the best outcomes.” This means that a teacher who used typical lecture and worksheet-based class time, along with more student-led activities, was more successful. If a student has a class that implements the use of technology, it helps them develop connections to material outside of the course that they may have never had the opportunity to experience. The use of technology in the classroom has by far increased levels of learning and understanding in the classroom. Students who have access to technology have many ways to expand upon their project-based and inquiry-based learning.
Technology also makes it so much easier to incorporate simulations and real-world issues in a classroom that might not otherwise have that opportunity. It has also been proven that students are more likely to participate when they have internet-capable devices available at their disposal. It is also more likely to boost students attitudes towards a subject, as well as make learning easier for those who may not be able to articulate as well as their peers. Technology can also make it more affordable to reach large amounts of students at a lower cost than building more schools. Soon it would not be crazy to think that everyone will be learning online in the comfort of their own home. Technology is making more and more things possible each day, and it would be crazy not to take advantage of the great qualities it has for education.
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