The question of whether or not technology should be a part of learning in the 21st century is an outdated concern. Nearly 74% of teachers use some kind of technology in the classroom on a daily basis, and more than two-thirds of teachers desire more technology in the classroom.
Many schools agree: as more jobs of the future require computer skills, computers technology must be taught in the classroom as a required 21st century skill. As technology becomes more widely accepted in the classroom, new concerns have arisen which ask not if technology has a place, but rather how to make the most out of them now that they’re here. One concern is knowing when technology is superior to traditional learning materials. A question many educators ask to determine the value a piece of technology has is: “How does technology enhance comprehension and engagement for the students?” For example, a paperback book that is translated verbatim to a digital format is no more effective than it was in its original format. However, an electronic book that turns a flat image into an instructional video with the tap of a finger, pronounces a hard to read word, and ends with a game to test your comprehension could be more effective to a student than a book without.
Now that technology has flooded many schools, educators are also left to wonder if all technology is developmentally appropriate for all students. Just as a sixth-grade algebra textbook is ineffective in a first-grade math class, an iPad might be best used for independent study in a middle school class rather than a first-grade class.
In the Education Week article, “Virtual Learning for Little Ones Raises Developmental Questions,” Robin Flanigan writes:
The key, whether students are in a virtual school or a regular classroom that incorporates online learning, is to use technology in highly engaging ways for each age group, and to leave enough time offline for open-ended questions and lessons about digital citizenship.
How are you using technology to make learning stick, lessons stand out, and engage young learners? What are your biggest concerns about technology in the classroom? See the infographic below from PBS LearningMedia for more on how teachers are embracing technology in the classroom.