Monday, July 5, 2010
Using Technology in the Classroom
Technology is everywhere we look, and in most things we do these days. This is a critical reason that as educators we must include technology in our lessons to promote engagement, motivation and to familiarize our students with the many benefits it has to offer. This may have some challenges for educators not accustomed to using technology, but is very worthwhile for the success of our students. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce there are undeniable results in the area of student achievement when technology is introduced and used properly.
The benefits of using technology in the classroom are immense. Students are more motivated and engaged in learning when technology is involved. In their article about the success of reading instruction when using technology, Helen Kim and Michael Kamil state, “Computers offer engaging, interactive activities for general and targeted practice. They give immediate corrective feedback, and some programs provide incentives for progress to higher levels of difficulty. Teachers can also use programs to track student progress.” There is also evidence that at risk and special needs students also benefit greatly from the use of technology. In her article “The Pros and Cons Technology in the Classroom”, Andrea Hermitt writes: “In special needs classrooms, each student is able to go at his or her own pace with the help of technology. This allows the students get individual instruction directly from the computer, which allows the teacher to accomplish more while feeling less stretched.”
Although there are many benefits of using technology when teaching, there are also some drawbacks. As teachers we must also be sure to be the most efficient and successful with our instruction that includes technology. In other words, we need to make sure to get ‘the biggest bang for our buck’ with our students . One trap that many teachers fall into is relying too much on the technology when they have it. They tend to go faster than they students can process information. In the article “Student Perceptions of Technology in the classroom: the good, the bad and the ugly” Gabie Smith states, “The “bad” side of technology use in the classroom became evident when students described ways in which faculty members are ineffective in their use of technology. One surprisingly common response was that faculty members “speed up” or go too fast when using computer-enhanced technology (such as power-point presentations or internet resources). In fact, 36.8 % of the responses to this survey item mentioned faculty speeding up the pace of their teaching.” Smith also goes on to state that some teachers “hide behind the technology” in order to not interact with students. Technology is a tool to assist good instruction, but there is not replacement for a good, knowledgeable teacher. One last drawback is that technology can be very expensive. In our current economic conditions schools are struggling to find the funding for expensive software programs, applications, and hardware.
There are many different types of technology that are available for use. These can include computers, software programs, and access to the internet, distance learning opportunities, SMART boards, and even Ipods. Reading books to kids can even be done using technology now through the use of an Elmo. The possibilities are endless, and are constantly changing. It is for this reason that as educators we must also stay abreast of the new advancements. New things are novel to students, and are therefore more engaging and interesting. As a teacher this is something I am always striving for, as it is one of the most difficult parts of our job.
When you look at what our number one goal in education is, student achievement and success, it becomes evident through research that the use of technology is a wonderful tool to reach our goal. Although there are some challenges that go along with technology for some, the benefits outweigh the cons. As a teacher, I am very glad I have these tools to use.
Top Ten Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom:
Blackwell, K. (2010). The Importance of teaching technology to teachers. Retrieved from http://theapple.monster.com/benefits/articles/3468
Hermitt, A. (2010). Pros and cons technology in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5384898_pros-cons-technology-classroom.html#ixzz0rUpBqnJj on June 20, 2010.
Kim, H, & Kamil, M. (n.d.). Successful uses of computer technology for reading instruction . Retrieved from http://www.temple.edu/lss/LivingDocuments/PDF/kimkamil_summary on June 20, 2010.
Picardo, J. (Producer). (2008). Top ten tips for using technology in the classroom . [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiisteObuhk
Smith, G. (n.d.). Student perceptions of technology in the classroom: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Retrieved from http://faculty.mckendree.edu/ATLAS/student_perceptions.htm on June 20, 2010.