George Couros, a leading educator in the field of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning, once said that “Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational.” True enough, technology’s primary purpose should be to aid educators in improving the learning experience in the classroom. With the evolving needs and interests of learners, teachers will have to keep up and make lessons more fitting to the digital age.
How can technology be incorporated into teaching? There are various types of technologies for various purposes. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools are tools that allow individuals, organizations, and companies to interact with the digital world. These tools can be used to produce, disseminate, store, and manage information. Components of ICT include cloud computing, internet access, data, software, hardware, transactions, and communications technology. Some ICT tools that exist in education include learning management systems, like Edmodo and Kahoot.
Edmodo is an education technology company that promotes collaboration and communication between students and teachers through its online platform. Its teacher-centric design allows teachers to create learning activities (assignments, quizzes, discussion boards) and upload files that can be accessed by the students. Its social media feature allows teachers to interact with students via chat or email and provide feedback and recognition through student badges. With some features similar to Edmodo, Kahoot’s main objective is to make learning fun through games and trivia quizzes. Its interactive interface and child-friendly graphics attract young learners and encourage participation more effectively. Aside from Edmodo and Kahoot, the most popular and best-rated online LMS platforms also include Moodle, Duolingo, ClassDojo, and Science 360.
Technology is also utilized in the form of advanced technological tools to replace traditional chalkboards and hand-written visual aids. Smartboards are digital boards that can be used to present lesson slides, facilitate classroom games, and run video clips and sound files to support the classroom discussion.
Tablets and phones have the capacity to replace notebooks and pens as tools for taking notes, answering quizzes, and completing lesson tasks. These devices can also replace paper books as they are also used as electronic readers. These empower students to carry as much material as they can in a small, compact device.
Other digital tools use robotics to enhance learning. Lego education tools combine physical Lego blocks with motors, sensors, and data encoding software to develop students’ problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills and enhance their STEM skills in preparation for future careers in the STEM field.
VR headsets utilize the virtual and augmented reality technology to enhance the classroom experience. It uses 3D images, sound effects, and animations to make learning fun and interactive. This technology is especially helpful in teaching abstract concepts or in describing concepts that cannot be easily seen by the naked eye. For example, VR headsets can allow students to view planetary objects or hold a human organ and truly experience it. Virtual objects, in this medium, are blended with real-world views to transform learning into a more remarkable experience.
There are also digital tools for assessment in the classroom. Electronic student response systems allow real-time evaluation of the students’ understanding. These can also be used in gamification of class discussions. These tools can promote classroom interaction by allowing students to vote in polls or in classroom decisions.
Touch tables are used to promote collaboration and cooperation among students. Students are able to interact with this digital device simultaneously, perform assessments, and contribute to each other’s ideas to produce a combined output.
Possibly one of the most important advancements of the century, 3D printers have transformed the industry of printing to new heights. These high-tech printers can be used to produce objects that well-illustrate abstract concepts and make intangible objects into more tactile ones. This improves students’ spatial skills and hastens their understanding of the physical world.
Incorporating technology in Education is only possible if the teacher is comfortable with using digital tools to enhance learning. Even more, technology should be well-integrated in the curriculum to ensure that there is a proper transition in between discussions and digital activities, that the technology promotes interest and does not cause the students to lose focus on the lesson, and that the devices support learning and do not result to confusion or information overload. Technology has the power to transform classrooms, but teachers equipped with the right set of the technology can transform education itself.