Let’s face it, students today learn things that we never even knew existed when we were in school. From social media and video to computer games, technology plays a strong role in educating today’s youth. For some reason, we think this is bad.
You hear it all the time: Kids today and their cell phones, they’re rotting their own minds! I never used computers in school and I turned out fine! Why do we have this idea that technology in school is a bad thing? The role that technology plays depends entirely on how it is used. Technology has shown to have very positive results in the classroom, here’s why:
It keeps kids engaged
You may remember sitting at the back of the classroom, doodling in your notebook while your teacher talked for an hour about the significance of To Kill a Mockingbird or Lord of the Flies. Do you remember what they said? Probably not. When students are not engaged in the learning process, they lose focus.
Technology allows students to actively participate in the lesson, rather than simply listen to it. Take the Flipped Classroom for instance; the idea that students watch videos of the lesson at home, then come to school and complete assignments with their teachers and peers. Studies have shown in groups where the Flipped Classroom was implemented, failure rates in both English and Math decreased by over 30%. It is changing the way kids learn, and so far the results look good.
It brings people together
Geographical borders no longer exist thanks to the internet. Students in Canada can video chat with students in China or Germany, with the click of a button. Imagine what they can learn about cultures in other countries from people actually living in those countries.
Ray Zehab uses this idea to bring hundreds of students from all over the world together. Ray is an endurance athlete, who recently ran across the Sahara desert… the SAHARA DESERT! Now, he brings students from different countries on his expeditions. While on this journey, they video chat with a virtual auditorium of students from classrooms all over the world. Talk about breaking down barriers!
It brings play back into learning
Remember when you were in kindergarten and playing in the sand was actually considered part of class time? Those were the days! Well, just because students grow up, doesn’t mean that play is no longer part of their education.
Computer games and virtual worlds put students in situations where they must use real-life skills to navigate their way around. Heidi McDonald, for example, taught her fourth-grade son multiplication by playing the computer game Minecraft. He learned how to multiply and didn’t even know he was doing it. In situations like this, kids think they are just playing a game, but they actually walk away with new skills they can apply to the real world. See, learning can be fun!
If you are still unsure about the role that technology plays in education, just check out events like the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference. Educators from all areas come together to share their thoughts on new trends and developments, including how they use technology in the classroom. Corel will be at the conference this year, as we provide a lot of the software that educators use to teach their students fundamental skills. Follow the hashtag #EDU13 to join the discussion.
What do you think of technology’s role in the classroom? Do you think it’s an opportunity for better education, or are we relying too heavily on it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.