Technology has become a controversial topic in the education setting. Questions I have heard over and over again include “How much is too much?” and “Isn’t this a little expensive?” Whether or not we agree with the increasing presence of technology in the classroom, many educators are already using new, innovative technology on a daily basis.
Some of the most prevalent technology in the classroom includes the use of Smartboards, iPads, document cameras, and Chromebooks. Each of these devices has an impact on the way educators teach. One of the most influential ways these devices are affecting students is by increasing accessibility. Each of the tools mentioned above provides teachers with the ability to get creative with how they deliver instruction. Using Smartboards allows teachers to easily display effective visuals for students who learn better through visualization. When each student has his or her own iPad or Chromebook, settings can be customized to fit the needs of each individual. For example, if a student is colorblind, settings can be turned on to make websites more readable. Other accessibility features readily available include magnification of text, audio to text, text to audio and screen brightness. The accessibility features allow teachers to serve a diverse population of students effectively.
As we’ve seen a push for increasing technology in schools, many schools have adopted the use of iPads. While iPads are a great resource for students to take notes and complete projects, some of the most beneficial aspects of using iPads are implemented through the use of apps. I once had a student who was interested playing the piano but did not have the resources at home to learn how to play. This student was able to successfully learn how to play the piano through her iPad. I’ve also witnessed a classroom full of kids who wanted to create their own movie using a green screen. In previous years, this task would have been extremely challenging and frightfully expensive, however, with the touch of a button on the iPad and a cheap piece of green fabric, students were able to film themselves using a green-screen. The movies that they made were incredible!
Technology in the classroom isn’t only used for classroom instruction. In addition
to classroom instruction, technology has been adapted for behavior management. If you walk into a typical elementary classroom, it’s likely that you will at least witness one or two students with problematic behavior that affects their peers. Technology can be used to potentially change and monitor student behavior. I’ve seen technology being used in a classroom to control the behavior of an entire class and it appears to be a highly effective method. Through using programs such as Class Dojo, students become responsible for their own behavior and learning. Not only does this increase the amount of learning occurring in a classroom, but also teaches students skills that they can use throughout their lifetime.
There are so many ways that technology can be utilized in the classroom to benefit students behavior and learning. While purchasing technology for a school might be costly upfront, in the end, it seems to be a worthwhile investment. With an increasing number of jobs that focus on technology, providing students with technology in school will aid in preparation for the constantly changing workforce.