How Modern Technology Helps Keep Students Engaged in the Classroom
Monday, March 27, 2017
Recent advances in modern technology have brought about numerous benefits for humankind. Because of it, our world has become increasingly connected, allowing for seamless communication and a free flow of information on a scale that we’ve never seen before.
One of the places where this integration is most evident is in the education sector. Because schools in Manila – international or otherwise – have adopted modern technologies into their classrooms, teachers are now able to access more sources which they can use as tools for a better and even more effective learning experience for their students.
There are a plethora of educational programs, films, games, e-books, and other digital media for students and teachers to explore. There’s no doubt about the fact that they’re helpful, but there are lingering questions from some who have doubts regarding its position as an added learning tool. Can they truly help?
Let us find out:
What is its place in classrooms?
A study by Keith D. Clark is only one of many which shows that teacher support for having technology present in their classrooms is high. Many believe that it is a natural addition to any classroom and that it should be utilized whenever possible.
That’s because, whether we like it or not, technology plays an important role in our lives. Our day-to-day is littered with moments where we use it to fulfill our various needs. Simply put, it is very helpful in helping get things done.
By adding it into our classrooms, we are allowing our students to practice its use while also providing them with the tools they would need to discover about the world around them without the need for their teacher’s constant assistance.
For example, an experiment by Julie Alex showed that her 2nd grade students enjoyed – and were even outright motivated – when they had to create powerpoint presentations for their classmates despite having to learn how to use the program in the first place. As Bob Hedges once stated, “presentation software makes writing more fun,” and his point is proven here.
In the end, it only underlines how both student learning and student engagement can be significantly positively influenced with the use of technology.
It is an invaluable information resource
Many books and encyclopedias have already made their way online, which is why the digital realm is so dependable when it comes to obtaining information. It also does not hurt that it is faster to do so.
Not to mention, unlike books, it’s not restricted to written words, either. Online information can come in a plethora of forms, such as: films, websites, apps, and even games. Users can freely choose how and what they would like to learn about, which in turn positively impacts their engagement and retention. It also helps that it’s more fun that way.
That’s not to say that students have to be online all the time. What comes with the beauty of modern technology is its convenience. Sometimes they can easily download whatever materials they need onto their smartphones and refer to them anytime, anywhere.
It addresses each student’s needs individually
Many of us are familiar with the usual classroom setting. Usually, a teacher stands in front and discusses whatever their subject is for a set amount of time. He tries to match the general pace of the class, though it can’t be helped that there are other students who are unable to keep up. Those who belong in the latter group, while free to ask questions, hampers the teacher from going any further and thus may set the class at a slower speed.
On the other hand, by using more interactive technologies such as films or games, students because they have better access to the teaching material. For example, should they find difficulty in understanding a certain topic, then they are free to rewind and repeat their lessons until they do.
In addition, because digital educational materials are inherently fun by design, its other features such as visual illustrations and audio cues make the learning process more memorable and more adaptable to the students’ different learning styles, thus increasing engagement and information retention.
The use of technology within a classroom setting do have a significant impact on how students develop their skills and knowledge, as long as it’s used properly. Successful technology integration can be achieved when the following criteria are met:
- Students play an active role in the learning process and receive frequent and personalized feedback.
- Students are able to apply their problem solving skills while using technology as a tool as opposed to simply using it to accumulate facts on certain subjects.
- Teachers blend traditional face-to-face teaching with tech-aided learning. (Ex: Traditional lectures mixed with short videos on the subject matter, the use of interactive e-books in lieu of printed textbooks, etc.)
Multiple studies (1, 2, 3) have also shown the positive effects of incorporating devices into the classroom, thus proving its effectivity as a teaching tool and incidentally, as a great attention retainer, as well.