Technology Is Improving Education. In 1997, laws were enacted requiring all teachers to demonstrate competency in the use of computers in the classroom. The deadline was January of 2000. Even at that, there was much resistance. Most schools had computer centers where the students received a small amount of training in technology for an hour, twice a week, many classroom computers remained “in the box.” There were several reasons for this.
Technology Is Improving Education
One reason was that most classrooms only had one computer for 30 students. Another was that although teachers now knew what a ‘mouse’ was, but they were sorely lacking in knowledge of how to integrate computer technology into classroom instruction.
Colleges and student teaching programs soon began to include classes in Educational Technology, which was primarily the science of integrating computers into the classroom environment. The new crops of teachers were very knowledgeable about technology.
As a result, in the last decade, computers have come into their own in classrooms all over the world.
Here are just a few ways in which computers are improving education:
- Global Awareness. Now students are able to communicate with students in other countries. They can set up exchange ideas and even arrange for language lessons with a native speaker via videoconferencing.
- Technology has simplified the process of demonstrating concepts to students. Models and simulations help teachers explain concepts that are difficult to demonstrate in a regular classroom.
- Multimedia Projects. Many lessons now involve multimedia that engages all of the senses.
- Reality Games. Simulation games place students in roles like city planner, journalist, or engineer, and allow them to solve real-world problems. Gaming is a very effective way for students to comprehend subject matter.
- Manipulatives. If the class is studying fractions, decimals, and percentages, the teacher can create graphs or give students a “virtual manipulative ” to help them achieve a better understanding of the mathematical relationships.
- Website Creation. Classrooms can publish their own websites. The students can exhibit their drawings, poems and short stories, and teachers can post homework assignments and information for parents.
- Assessment. Teachers can create their own tests online. There are now many software programs that correct students when they give a wrong answer, providing immediate feedback. Efficient assessment of students has enabled teachers to tailor their teaching strategies to their students’ individual needs.
- Individual Education Programs can be planned on line for students whose disabilities require the use of assistive technology in order to take full advantage of their educational opportunities.
- Toys, communication devices, and special software is available for students with special needs.
- Software programs have been created for teachers on topics such as assistive technology, alternate computer input, and environmental control.
For a long time, the utility of the Internet was restricted in terms of what it could do and in who could use it. Today, most teachers are computer savvy, and are beginning to appreciate the benefits of using technology in their classrooms.
Some schools are buying ‘portable classrooms’. These packages consist of laptops on a LAN so that students can use the electronics at their desks. If the laptops are attached to a printer, the students can also print from their pc to the classroom printer.
Today, computers help teachers at all grade levels to expand their teaching beyond the texts and engage students who learn best in other ways besides the traditional teacher-based instruction. Technology has evolved from the ‘computer center’ to a real-life learning tool that has altered the ways teachers demonstrate concepts, assign projects, and evaluate student progress.
Technology is revolutionizing the educational process, as we know it, and changing the emphasis to focus on tailoring learning to the particular needs of the students.
Learning instruments are becoming much more flexible, enabling each student to find the learning approach that works best for them.
Test scores have become political, and principals are being pushed to bring up the total test scores at their schools; teachers, in turn, are being urged to raise the scores of their classes. Technology is a very dynamic tool for education. Computers are a fantastic resource for both students and teachers. Technology provides new and different ways to learn, and to create. It can be used to help lead our students to excellence in education, and to success in life.