Technology has become ubiquitous in society, and its presence is increasingly felt in schools. Many school districts have invested significantly in hardware, software, and digital resources for teachers and students. However, some educators remain reluctant to use technology in their classrooms. This blog post will discuss four reasons students need to use technology in school.
Why is it important for students to use technology in school?
Technology allows students to engage in authentic tasks requiring them to synthesize multiple information sources and effectively communicate their findings.
In the past, many classroom tasks were limited by what materials were available in the textbook or on the library shelves. With technology, students can now access a wealth of information with a few clicks of a button.
They can also collaborate with classmates around the world on complex projects. To prepare our students for the global economy, we must provide them with opportunities to use technology authentically.
How does using technology reinforce learning and memory encoding?
Using technology also reinforces learning and memory encoding. Studies have shown that when students interact with digital content, they encode information more deeply and retain it for longer periods of time.
This is due to what cognitive scientists call “the testing effect” – the finding that retrieval practice (i.e., testing oneself on material) enhances subsequent retention.
With technology, teachers can easily create formative assessments that help students practice retrieving information from their long-term memory storage. These formative assessment activities can be games, quizzes, or other types of interactive activities that are engaging and fun for students.
What are some of the best digital tools for making meaning?
There are also many great digital tools available for helping students make meaning of complex concepts. One example is Google Earth, which allows users to explore specific locations from a bird’s eye view or even go on virtual field trips to places they would never be able to visit in person (e.g., the bottom of the ocean floor).
Another example is SketchUp Make, a free 3D modeling program that can be used to create visual representations of mathematical concepts like volume or surface area (see image below). There are literally thousands of other examples out there – the possibilities are endless!
How can teachers use technology situationally to demonstrate knowledge?
Finally, teachers can use technology situationally to demonstrate their own expertise and understanding of specific content areas. When teachers effectively integrate technology into their instruction, it sends a message to their students that they value using 21st-century skills and believe that these skills are important for all learners – not just those who are “tech savvy” or “good at computers”.
In addition, by modeling effective uses of technology, teachers can help their students see how these tools can support deep understanding and provide additional ways of knowing beyond what might be possible without technology.
Technology has become ubiquitous in society, and its presence is increasingly felt in schools. Although some educators remain reluctant to use technology in their classrooms, there are many reasons why it is important for students to have opportunities to learn with technology – including increased engagement with content, deeper learning and memory encoding, exposure to new digital tools for making meaning, and Situational demonstrations of teacher knowledge.
As school districts continue to invest in hardware, software, and digital resources, it will become increasingly important for educators to understand how they can use these tools effectively to support student learning.