Technology is a dynamic tool that provides students access to extensive amounts of information and helps them develop skills required to transform this information into useful knowledge.
It is an essential component of modern day education since it helps students develop essential learning skills and become lifelong learners. Research and case studies have continually proved that technology improves student achievement in Reading, Writing and Mathematics; it improves the productivity, efficiency and decision-making abilities of schools; it helps teachers in professional development; it improves learning skills such as problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills; helps schools create personalized learning environments to meet the needs of all kinds of students; it promotes equity and access in education; and helps students develop efficient workforce skills required in the future.
Technology ushers in fundamental structural changes that are integral in enhancing the learning outcomes. It infuses classrooms with digital learning tools; expands course offerings, experiences, and learning materials; supports learning even outside the classroom; builds 21st century skills; increases student engagement and motivation; and accelerates learning. Online learning opportunities and the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and other technologies can increase educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning; reducing costs associated with instructional materials or program delivery; and better utilizing teacher time.
To successfully implement and use technology to improve the learning outcomes, a planned approach needs to be followed. Here are some steps that can guide you on how to leverage technology to improve learning outcomes:
Foster school environments where teachers, students, parents, administrators and the broader community of the school support the adoption of technology in education and are comfortable with replacing and enhancing the traditional educational practices with the use of technology. Until and unless everyone involved with teaching and learning do not approve of technology integration, no benefits can be derived out of it. The community of the educational organization needs to be collaborative, supportive and open to the adoption of modern ways to teach and learn. They must not doubt the capability of technology in improving the learning outcomes. When this vital support is gathered, the organization can head towards the development of policies for the implementation and use of technology for teaching and learning.
Once technology is implemented and is ready to be used by the teachers, students and administrators for teaching, learning and administrative purposes, all should be provided with the necessary training to make them adept with the use of technology so they can make the most out of it. Teachers should be provided with effective professional development on the instructional integration of technology. They must be made aware of the extent to which they can use technology for teaching so that it doesn’t completely replace them and low down their value of being an instructor. Students should be taught about the regulated use of technology to aid their learning and should not at any point take undue advantage of it. Administrators can make a lot of school administration tasks easier for themselves but should carefully assess where technology hinders the effectiveness of their tasks.
After the necessary training and professional development on the effective use of technology, it needs to be embedded within the daily school schedule. This will alter the everyday teaching practices that take place within a school. It will modify how lectures are imparted and what learning materials and resources are made use of. Some schools may choose to flip their classrooms using technology and will utilize the class-time for student and teacher interaction, group discussions, brainstorming, quizzes and additional exercises, since now the lectures are imparted to students through videos at their home. So, technology integration will modify the school schedule to a large extent and teachers will need to re-model their roles accordingly.
Tailor your curriculum in such a way that it is supports the use of technology. The curriculum objectives being assessed through technology need to be directly supported. The technological practices need to be made part of the standard curriculum of subjects, as a result of which the curricula will require basic formatting. For instance, there will be a need to supplement the curricula of subjects like Science and Technology with advanced tools for experimentation and research, this will add a more practical approach to learning and make the overall learning experience authentic and experiential.
Adjust the incorporation of technology such that it suits the abilities of students based on the assessment of their prior experiences. Students should not take the responsibility of using technology all at once. Teachers should support and guide them to gradually adopt technology such that it becomes a significant part of their everyday learning. If students are capable of learning certain subjects better without the use of technology, then they should stick to their usual learning approach and practices. Students and teachers both must be provided with regular feedback about their performance and progress with the technological applications.
Provide increasing opportunities for student collaboration and teacher collaboration since it is evident that encouraging them to reach out to each other to solve problems and share knowledge not only builds collaboration skills but leads to deeper learning and understanding for improved learning outcomes. They can learn better with the new technology if they work in groups and discover its effectiveness on their learning. They can implement new ways of using the technology provided to them through innovation and advanced thinking. Collaborative learning will allow them to make the most of the technology embedded in their curriculum and also bring light to new and effective ways of using it.
Technology should not just be restricted to use in the curriculum but after students develop learning of their subjects, they should assess themselves and further their knowledge and skills by designing and implementing projects that extend the curricular content and learning and assess it through particular standardized tests. Taking on projects on whatever is learnt, allows students to apply practical skills to the subject matter and realize the significance of it in real-life contexts. Projects encourage students to apply their learning to real uses and the use of technology to better learning outcomes will be effectual when this step is successfully carried out.
The correct and timely application of these steps for the use of technology in education can help improve the learning outcomes. I hope this approach can help you for better learning with technology. Share more approaches and views with us. The Comment box awaits you.