Technology spurs innovation. Innovation improves education. Instead of the teacher being the only source of knowledge in the classroom, students have access to the Internet which fosters student achievement. Here’s why: Learning does not start and end in the classroom, but continues throughout the day as students have access to their teachers’ lesson online, tutoring online, collaboration with other students, and the ability to reach other teachers across the entire world.
There is, however, a significant issue stifling the advancement of technology in the classroom: the lack of training. As Don Nielsen states in his book, Every School, “Usually what they [teachers] need is to be trained on what new technology to use and how to use it. Unfortunately, most schools of education are not staffed with professors who have great competence in technology and its employment in learning.”
Successfully implementing technology in and out of the classroom involves several key steps. Training, as stated above, is the first step in revolutionizing the classroom with technology. The second step would be to consider a rollout of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOC. MOOCs are primarily used in high school; they provide online educational opportunities which allows students to study curriculum outside of the offerings at their physical school. This would also permit gifted teachers to reach students all across the world, enhancing their effectiveness and reducing costs.
Preparing teachers to employ technology in the classroom is the third step. As Nielsen states “understanding how to employ technology to enhance student learning, to assess student progress and to determine student needs will greatly increase the effectiveness of tomorrow’s teachers.” The fourth step is related to the curriculum itself. The one-size-fits-all model is washing away. Students have the ability to access work any time on their own time and the curriculum needs to adjust to this fact. The outdated technique of one teacher presenting material to a collection of students for a precise time and then moving on to another topic is now no longer practical. Technology allows for individualized learning to occur.
Employing effective learning assessments is the fifth step to successfully implementing technology, which can be done by the built-in measurements already in online courses. Continuous testing takes stress off of the students and ensures learning is taking place.
The last step is student preparation. Many students will not have the access to these technologies at home, which puts them at a disadvantage. Enforcing individualized attention paired with a longer school day and year can bring these students up to speed with their peers.
Technology has already proven to give students and teachers new opportunities to learn. It not only magnifies the efficacy of the teacher, but can also minimize the cost of a good education. In short, technology is one of the most effective, and underutilized, educational tools.