Technology has become an essential tool in our lives. Schools should find ways of integrating new technologies into classrooms so that students find it easy to learn new subjects as well as enable teachers to explain subjects in detail using visual formats. Using technological tools like computers will make education more fun and interesting for the students. The past ten years have seen tremendous change in educational technologies and it is time to bring these technologies to our students in the classroom so that they learn easily and efficiently. Teachers will need to learn how to use these technologies so that they teach their students on how to use them.
We have seen that the private business community has found ways of improving the way we learn by creating educational applications for both computers and mobile phones, with a good use of these applications, schools can improve on how students learn and how they get access to academic information. New content delivering applications like Youtube.com can be used in video and visual education. If a student can learn through visual or video illustrations, they will always remember that subject being explained, because the brain can easily understand and remember visual objects.
The development of online and offline educational environments will make learning so simple. Now it is up to us to implement these educational technologies in the classroom and make learning easier.
Irish students in class using laptops to learn as their teacher guides them.
Below are some detailed points on the use of technology in the classroom and how it can be implemented.
- Use technology to bring real-time data in classrooms: Many times most subjects in our education curriculum have old examples which do not relate to the present day, so students will find it difficult to relate those old examples to the present situation. But when teachers use technology tools like internet and search engines, they can drive new examples on a specific topic. It is better to show these examples to students using visual technologies like projectors and white boards. If a student gets an example on subject and that example is live in their society, they will always remember and learn that subject better. Inviting new and innovative practices into the classroom can help enhance a students learning experience. Learning how to properly introduce new technology as a learning tool into a class setting can be achieved through taking courses in a variety of masters programs for teachers.
The internet is updated daily with thousands of publishers, websites like Youtube.com, Pinterest.com, scribd.com store large amounts of data which can be used to illustrate academic subjects. For example, if a teacher is teaching about ”The effects of human activities on the environment ” they can use sites like Youtube.com to show students real-time effects of human activities as uploaded by Youtube users. A teacher can use a video of landslides happening in real-time so students will see the effect of human activities now but not in the past. The old system of education prints images of past distractions on a subject like this, but a student will find it difficult to relate that example , because it happened long ago.
- Use of technology devices to encourage peer learning: New technologies like iPad , Galaxy , Microsoft Surface and other portable tablets can be used by students while in class. These technologies can foster peer to peer learning. Students can form a group of 2- 4 students and share a particular technology, each of them will have different experience on how to use the device and the teacher can guide them on how to use complicated applications on these devices. It is very easy for students to learn through group or peer discussions, so if a teacher provides them with these tablets and they all get the information from a centralized unit controlled by the teacher, these students will enjoy that moment in class and learn more. Although these students can still use the same technologies to interact with each other while not in class, in my opinion, the classroom creates a learning environment with fewer distractions as compared to learning outside of the class. Also teachers can uses services like Piazza.com to set and answer questions from students in the class, also students can use Piazza.com to create or join a specific group in their class. Many students and teachers are using this service both in class and out of class. Piazza has proven to be an ideal forum for many teachers. Compared to conventional bulletin boards
- Use Interactive Demonstrations Tools to help students learn easily: It is quite expensive to implement these devices but once installed in the classroom, teachers will easily explain subjects in a visual form with illustration which helps students learn easily. Devices like 3D projectors, Electronic whiteboards and motion capture technology are getting cheaper and accessible. Science teachers can easily use these 3D projectors to illustrate Biology or Physics subjects. In Biology, there some topics which require visual illustration for a student to understand the concept. Without these technologies, it can be very difficult for an average student to understand and remember what the teacher has taught them. The same with Geography, it can be very easy to illustrate topics like ”Volcanicity and Earth Plates ” using visual images and real-time activities of Volcanicity ” if a students gets these explanations in using 3D projectors, they will deeply understand the concept.
- Use of word processing applications in the classroom: All computers have this application installed. Most computers come with a full setup of Microsoft Office, this setup includes all basic application needed by a student to compose or organize data. For example, students can use word processing applications to write notes and they can even use clip art or graphics in their notes for easy understanding. They can also use this word processing application to improve on their vocabulary because of its auto correct function which suggests correct terms as they take notes in the class. It also has an inbuilt thesaurus dictionary which will help the student discover new words. Teachers can easily teach their students on how to use these applications while in the classroom. So instead of writing notes on the black board, the teacher will simply dictate the notes, and the student will just type the notes on their computers using a word processing application.