3 Ways Education Technology Enhances Student Learning

May 02, 2018 by Paul Heckathorn, Practice Director for Education IT Services

3 ways technology improves learning Why do many contemporary classrooms work the same way they did 50 years ago? Almost every other industry has moved into the 21st, integrating technology like computers and the Internet deeply into their business. So why not most schools?

Teachers might be writing on a whiteboard instead of a blackboard, but that feels more like a distinction without a difference. “We're still running an educational model developed for the industrial revolution, designed to prepare workers for factory jobs,” writes Stanford d.school co-founder George Kembel.

Today’s schools need to incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs into their curriculums to prepare students for tomorrow’s jobs that will require graduates whose minds are optimized for technical skills, critical thinking, and collaboration. Fortunately, schools that invest in their technology solutions are rising to meet the challenge.

Here are three things that today’s teaching technology can do to enhance the learning experience:

1: Individualized – and more internalized – learning

Interactive technology in the classroom tosses the one-size-fits-all approach in favor of more personalized learning approaches that fit each student’s pace and level of interest.

Technology like interactive boards and mobile devices in the classroom encourage greater engagement with the material, while increasing collaboration between teachers and students. For instance, instead of scribbling on a whiteboard, teachers can present lessons “as an attachment via a cloud-based teaching tool; pupils can present work as written word, diagrams, photos or video clips,” explains Ian Kay, Head of Technology at Edge Grove School.

“This allows pupils more comfortable with non-verbal communication to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the work.”

A recent study at the University of Adelaide bears out the results: the use of interactive whiteboards that connect to individual mobile devices “lead to an enhanced interactive classroom environment,” as the University of Adelaide's Dr Amrit Pal Kaur puts it. “Students are more likely to adopt a deeper approach to their learning. As a result, the quality of the students' learning outcomes improves.”

2: Lessons no longer limited by materials or location

For schools concerned about the supposedly high costs of bringing tech into the classroom, there is another way.

Now, with the use of educational technology, medical students can dissect a cadaver without needing a physical cadaver present; elementary school students can take a field trip without leaving the school; and high school students can work on intercontinental projects right from their classrooms.

Texas students, for instance, benefit from “virtual field trips” arranged by Connect 2 Texas, whose member museums and science organizations sponsor lessons via videoconferencing. Since the program began, over 1.7 million students have benefited from virtual visits to partners like George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and the Fort Worth Zoo.

The technology works just as well across oceans, not just county lines. Over on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, high school students work on projects with counterparts in Ghana and Palestine: the videoconferencing system works out particularly well for Alaska’s isolated rural communities, who are typically at the mercy of the weather and road conditions.

3: Students & teachers break out of old roles

Technology has a funny way of breaking down hierarchies while improving outcomes. In classrooms, interactive technology allows students to gain more control over their own learning – allowing teachers to become better cheerleaders and coaches for their newly self-motivated charges.

A self-paced mathematics instructional program, for instance, might be designed to allow students to progress at their own pace, collaborating with other students or seeking the teacher’s help as needed.

“It creates multiple levels of connections that strengthen relationships among students and teachers, and drives the engagement that motivates all learners,” explains Chris Liang-Vergara, Chief of Learning Innovation at LEAP Innovations. “When the digital content augments the teacher’s ability and works collaboratively with him/her, it’s a win-win for all parties involved — especially the students.”

These three outcomes need not be expensive or difficult to implement. Partners like All Covered help schools reach their goals in educational technology, maximizing resources while minimizing budgets. If you’d like to see how All Covered can help you leverage modern technology to advance your curriculum, just give us a call.