Educational technology is becoming incredibly important in the classroom and to student learning in general. This lesson will detail some of the trends of educational technology so that you can best implement this technology into your own classroom.
Walking into a classroom today is very different from walking into a classroom ten years ago.
Though that may seem like a short period of time, the many advances in educational technology have created a drastic change in teaching and learning. For example, students are able to access information more quickly and easily without needing to leave the classroom to do research. Also, creation tools are more widely available, leading to an increased emphasis on student created content. Educational technology can be defined as any digital device that aids or enhances student learning. In order to incorporate technology effectively into the classroom, it is important to understand the current trends in this area.
Trend 1 – Flipped Classrooms
As more people gain access to technology tools and the Internet, flipped classrooms are becoming more prevalent.
A flipped classroom is one in which students learn important information at home on the computer through videos and recorded lectures and explore the concepts and complete activities in the classroom.The concept of a flipped classroom came about when two high school teachers in Colorado realized they were able to record presentations and post them online for sick students. When a student was missing a lot of class time, these teachers shared their lectures and presentations online for students to access at home. Soon, the videos gained popularity and started to spread. This led to the creation of the flipped classroom.In this format, the teacher is responsible for creating videos and lectures and sharing them with students online.
Then, when students come into the classroom, teachers act as a guide on the side as students explore the concepts more in-depth. In actual practice, teaching and learning in a flipped classroom is more complicated. As a teacher in a flipped classroom, you must set clear expectations and be ready to act if students are not completing the required work at home.
Learning in a flipped classroom requires that students take the initiative to work at home, meaning that parents, teachers, and students must be a team in education.
Trend 2 – Social Media in the Classroom
With the increased use of technology came a boom in different forms of social media. Social media is a digital tool you use to connect with other people around the world. More and more students are becoming active and familiar with social media, and teachers are beginning to use this tool in their classroom. For example, a lesson that incorporates social media could have students using a classroom blog to write posts and respond to others.
In this lesson, students would be required to write a blog post responding to several prompts related to something learned in class. Students would also be required to comment on each other’s blog posts, creating a social media classroom discussion.Students and teachers can also use social media to connect with students somewhere else in the country or the world. As a teacher, you would need to work to make these connections. Students would then communicate with each other via social media (Facebook, for example) to learn more about different cultures. This can culminate with a presentation or essay about what the students learned.When using social media in your classroom, whether to interact with students, connect them to someone around the world, or one of the many other possibilities, it’s important to remember to teach students how to be safe online.
Social media can be a great tool to teach many different subjects, but student must know how to use the tool and stay safe when doing so. Since students will most likely be using tools that are available to everyone, there is always the chance that someone will try to prey on young people’s naturally trusting nature. Students should be taught how to handle these situations and what information is not okay to share online.
Trend 3 – Mobile Learning
Similar to a flipped classroom, educational technology is also making it easier for students to engage in mobile learning. portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets, allow students access to the Internet from wherever they are. This has opened up possibilities for students to learn while they are out in the world. For example, when on a class trip to the zoo, students can use an Internet-connected tablet to further research different animals. Some may argue that if they are using the devices at the zoo, they are missing out on crucial experiences; however, if these devices are allowing them to explore information further, they are only enhancing their experiences.
Mobile learning is also not just limited to class trips. Students can use smartphones to practice concepts they just learned in school while on the bus ride home. They can also do school work while they are on a trip or absent from school. There are many educational apps that students and teachers can use to help students continue learning even when outside of the classroom.Think about where you are right now as you are reading this lesson.
Some of you might be at home, comfortable on the couch. Others might be on a train, traveling to or from work. Still others might be riding on a bus full of your students, going to the zoo for a class trip. How you are learning right now is a great example of why mobile learning is so important for all ages. Mobile learning gives students everywhere the opportunity to learn something new wherever they are and whatever they’re doing.
Trend 4 – Student-Created Content
Educational technology tools allow students to have much more control over learning than they did previously. This has led to the trend of increased student created content. Computers and tablets provide opportunities for students to express their learning in new, creative ways. By using educational technology, students can create a wide variety of content that allows them to expand upon their knowledge.
This content includes presentations, essays, artwork, and 3D models. Now that students can demonstrate their understanding in a wider variety of ways, differentiating instruction and assessment becomes easier, too.While students could create essays, presentations, artwork, and 3D models before using educational technology, the increased prevalence of these tools has allowed students to incorporate a wider variety of information and sources into their work. For example, using educational technology, students can embed video, graphics, and images into their presentations.
Whereas before, students would stand in front of the room and read from cue cards, they can now use a projector and a multimedia presentation when talking in front of the class.
Trend 5 – Collaboration
Finally, the increase in educational technology has made collaboration inside and outside the classroom much more convenient and productive. Through computers and the Internet, students can create work together, whether they are sitting next to each other or at home. They can also connect with other students from around the world. This connectivity helps students broaden their horizons and improve their ability to collaborate with other people.
Modern society requires that people be able to work with each other using technology in order to meet a common goal. For example, imagine you work in a company and you are tasked with creating a pamphlet about one of your company’s products. A mock-up of the pamphlet is due by the end of the work day. In order to create an accurate pamphlet, you must collaborate with many different individuals involved in the creation and marketing of the product.To complete this task, you must be familiar with using a variety of technology tools, such as a word processing program, a joint-editing program, a messaging program (such as e-mail), and communication tools (video chat). By having experience with using a wide variety of tools, you will be able to complete this task successfully and quickly. Educational technology gives students the ability to practice using these tools to collaborate so that they are prepared to meet the demands of a modern workforce.
In order to effectively include educational technology (digital devices that aid in learning) into the classroom, you should be aware of some common trends in the field. These trends include flipped classrooms (classrooms in which students learn at home and explore at school), social media (digital tools used to connect with people around the world), mobile learning, student-created content, and collaboration. Knowing how educational technology is being used in other classrooms will help you to implement it effectively in your own.