Currently, it is more important for classrooms to use technology to help expand a students’ learning than ever before. With the growth of the internet and invention of technology to make the internet more accessible and mobile, learning using technology and the internet has begun to increase. It is the instructor’s responsibility to select appropriate technology for the purpose of the class. Technology needs to be able to expand a student’s learning without detracting from it.
In my personal experience, technology can be both a blessing and a curse. Technology can be a blessing in the sense that resources and information not normally quickly accessed can be. However, the access of information, especially on the internet can come at the cost of plagiarism. Some instructors use digital-drop boxes and tools like turnitin.com to make sure that students do not plagiarize. Technology can also be a disaster if the instructor or student does not know how to properly use it. Instructors as well as students need to be advised and given instructions on how to use certain technologies. Properly integrating technologies into a classroom is also needed.
In chapter 21 of the textbook, Trends and Issues In Instructional Design and Technology, the ASSURE model is one such integration model of technology that is suggested. This model follows six steps that start with analyzing learners. Analyzing learners simply means identifying the students and their characteristics, learning styles, knowledge, special skills, and more. The next step is to understand and state the objectives of the class as well as the standards for technology that will be used. The third step is selecting the technology, media, and other materials. This step is based off of present skills of the students as well as what they expect to learn. Step four is to utilize technology, media, and materials, which means that the teacher will use the technology and other tools to help the students achieve their learning goals. The fifth step is to require learner participation through ways that will allow students to use and apply their new skills and knowledge that they have learned. The last step is to evaluate the achievement that has happened among the students mastery of the skills and the impact of technology and other tools in achieving this mastery of skills. This step allows for the instructor to change things about the course or technology and tools used if they need to.
Today, instructors in the United States and beyond are using technology in and out of the classrooms and conducted studies have shown the success of using technology. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131210-ipad-learning-education-space-science/. This link will take you to an article that discusses the use of IPads and tablets in the study of science. The research discussed in this link suggests that studying with a tablet can stimulate learning gains even in a short amount of time. It also suggests that tablets may be beneficial when studying complicated scientific concepts such as time or other large subjects. This article is just one that shows how the use of IPads and tablets is helping students in the classroom.
Another use of technology in the classroom that I find interesting is the innovative idea of flipped schools. Flipped schools or classrooms are where the student learns at home first and then does homework or projects at school. This idea is one that will need a lot of research to show its success but many parents seem pleased by it. This idea takes the cost of technology and the use of it almost away from the school and puts it on the parent. With most libraries offering computer and internet access and a lot of people having personal computers, this idea might help cut the cost of technologies that schools would have to pay for while also promoting technology and learning. This innovative idea is getting a lot of attention as some schools are showing improved test scores. Students in the case of flipped schools are watching lectures, that were prerecorded, outside of the school day and then doing homework and projects together during the school day. This allows students to ask instructors for help if they run into a problem. Two articles/links that I feel discuss flipped classroom well are http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/what-does-a-flipped-classroom-look-like-2/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzPJ6XNWcwY. Time and research will show and tell if this new innovative model of teaching is successful and useful or not.
Overall, technology is important in today’s society. Most jobs want people who have basic computer and internet skills. I think that it is important to integrate appropriate technology into the classroom at an early grade level so students can learn and improve not only their learning but their skills with certain modes of technology. Today’s society is becoming more and more connected and quickly accessing information. Instructors need to incorporate the internet and other resources into classroom instruction so students don’t fall behind in skill level. Technology has also been shown to be helpful in teaching difficult concepts to students. More research is needed on what technology is appropriate to use with students and just how it impacts them. Instructors need to move from a traditional classroom into a 21st century classroom.