The next step in the process of education is to increase the use of technology. It is an excellent idea that has everyone excited. It is not an entirely original idea, but everyone seems to agree that this is the right time to take the next step.
Connectivism, mobile learning, and blended learning are just some of the new approaches derived from more tech in the education process. However, it’s unfortunate that most public schools in Canada aren’t ready for that. Some Canadian K12 schools now have laptops but no laptop storage cabinets, let alone the much-needed IT infrastructure to support that type of education.
It’s also quite unfortunate that there is a lack of data showing what’s done and where. Furthermore, there isn’t much data on how the involvement of technology in the educational process expands knowledge, ignites curiosity, and improves critical thinking skills.
In the following lines, we will analyze some of the most common uses of technology in classrooms:
- LMS – Learning management systems
- Online learning tools and social media
- Reading programs
- Clickers, smartboards, and calculators
LMS – Learning management systems
Learning management system is not a recent invention, but one that has been around for some time. However, like all things, it has evolved a lot, and today the most common LMS in K-12 classrooms is the Google Classroom. Thanks to technology, all information presented in class is more accessible, more searchable, and packed with multimedia.
The biggest challenge here is the lack of resources and time to make the most of tools such as Google Classroom to create the best possible learning experience for the students. Consequently, teachers opt to teach their curriculum the way they used to do it in the past, and students also learn like before. This arms the naysayers and those opposed to the use of technology in classrooms. Their mantra is that technology is too complex, and the expense can hardly be justified.
That is why proper funding is seriously needed. In addition, technology in the classroom is a fluid matter that needs to be constantly evolving. Therefore, an adequate learning management system based on technology needs to be subjected to constant iterations and training. That’s how students can receive the best possible education.
Digital tools and social media
Social media and websites enable students and teachers to easily share academic lesson plans, homework, videos, and digital resources. In theory, this is great, but in practice, there are challenges. For example, there are some restrictive curriculum maps or district filters.
Then there is the issue of privacy and student safety. All these are legit concerns that do need to be addressed sooner than later. According to experts, accepting some progressive teaching concepts and safe use of all digital tools and social media are the ways to resolve this. That’s the path to an enhanced learning experience that all students will benefit from.
Computer-based programs enable monitoring reading levels. But the thing with literacy is that the students need to start reading books on their own, not only when they are in the classroom. Often, the student learns to read the given school materials, and their interest in improving their reading stops there.
The challenge here is to find a way to motivate students to read more and do it outside of their classroom hours. Technology can work to their advantage only if they are willing to do the work as well.
Laptops, clickers, smartboards, and calculators
Teachers using laptops, clickers, smartboards, and calculators can engage students and enable students a diverse platform to express new ideas and demonstrate how well they comprehend the given material. With the help of these tools, teachers can also gather data in real-time, which also benefits students as they can get instant feedback from their teachers.
Ten years ago, this wasn’t that practical and rarely accepted in the teaching community. Today, all this is possible and can be replicated with the widely available tablets and smartphones.