In this modern era of 21st century, the infusion of technology into teaching and learning has a remarkable influence on the instructional strategies of the educational institutions. The traditional teacher-centric method which has been going on for decades
has now been modified and enhanced, owing to technology. In contrast to the traditional methods, the modern learning environments, students play an active role in their learning process and determine how to reach their desired learning outcomes on their own.
This student-centered approach empowers students to build up their knowledge and enables them to think critically, work in teams and solve problems collectively. Students are always enthusiastic and demonstrate positive attitudes towards the student-centered learning environment.
The student-centered learning approach is constructivist in nature, it enables students to visualize a problem with multiple perspectives and allows them to participate in their own learning process. Students are now challenged to develop skills in problem-solving and to exercise analytical, critical and creative thinking in their work and are encouraged to learn more about their subjects. The role of the teacher now alters to being a facilitator and a consultant to the students, supporting them throughout their learning process, rather than just being a dictator in the entire process.
For teachers who wish to create a more student-centered environment, things are not always easy, since creating such an environment is an intensive process which requires a lot of consideration and knowledge. First of all, they need to come out of the practice of being the ‘sage on the stage’, and also the students who are not used to being active participants in their learning need a good deal of adjustment. Technology can help pave the way for both teachers and students, but it certainly requires a teacher who is adept at creating a course that raises the pedagogical benefits of that technology has towards helping students meet the desired learning outcomes. A roadmap needs to be followed for matching technological tools to learning outcomes, so that technology can be used to get students to interact with course content in an engaging and productive fashion.
Here are some of the ways in which technology can help facilitate a student-centered classroom:
- Empower the learner: Interactive online assignments can help students assess their learning themselves, counter their drawbacks, improve and be responsible for their own learning. Online assignments also give students opportunities to practice mastering the study material at their own pace. Teachers are not physically present while the students tackle their assignments, but their help could be sought online or afterwards, whenever students feel the need for it. The technologies that support these activities could include wikis, online quizzes, blogs and discussion boards.
- Organize activities: A structured and logical flow for the courses is always appreciated by students as well as teachers. If you can organize your activities well, then any kind of confusion can be avoided. Organization simplifies the workflow and approach towards learning; it eases out tasks in a systematic way. The technologies that support how you organize and communicate course materials could include an online syllabus, the learning management system and email or mobile notifications of important due dates.
- Adopt technological tools in the classroom to teach: When a teacher adopts technology in the classroom to aid him in teaching, he is able to create learning experiences that complement each other whether the students are learning online or are present in the classroom physically. This helps teachers to optimize their time, efforts and resources and focus more on guiding students, rather than doing all the intensive preparations and arrangements for teaching. The technologies that support this goal include online homework, clickers and surveys.
- Making the student responsible for his own learning: Teachers should create such courses that allow students to practice building connections with the material and proceed at their own pace. Rather than trying to match up with the learning style of the fellow students of his class, now the student can comfortably practice and develop his skills in his own learning style, which is any day more beneficial for the student in the long run. The technologies that can be used to help students take responsibility of their learning include blogs, wikis, online quizzes, and VoiceThread.
- Subjecting students to regular evaluation: Evaluation certainly fosters learning and is a necessity in the process of learning. Teachers can use a variety of low-stakes grading opportunities, such as online quizzes and games. The incorporation of motivator elements like online badges and medals keep the students encouraged to learn and succeed. There are numerous technologies that can help students track their progress, including online quiz banks and online platforms that enable collaboration and peer review.
Students in technology-supported classrooms are armed with powerful tools to help them gather information, consult with fellow students or teachers and present their findings. Their confidence increases as they rely less on their teacher and more on their own initiative for knowledge-creation. Technology enables students to manipulate information in a manner that accelerates both understanding and the progression of higher-order thinking skills. As a result, students gather more real-world data, share their findings with learners beyond their school, and publish their findings to the world; their role broadens from being mere learners and knowledge seekers to being creators of their own work. For teachers, technology amplifies the resources they can offer to their students. Rather than relying on the textbook for content, computers can provide online access to content experts and up-to-date information from original sources.
Although it is undeniable that integrating technology takes a fair amount of upfront time in terms of getting past the learning curve and choosing the correct technology to support each learning objective, the result is the creation of a more engaged classroom and improved student learning. I would encourage teachers and students to come out of the traditional classrooms, incorporate technology with education and accept the fact that learning, rather than being just a practice is an active responsibility of the learners and teachers with the help of technology should assist students to have a successful education. Share your views and knowledge with us. The Comment Box awaits you.