■ Metro Service / Contributed
Technology in and out of the classroom can be a polarizing subject. Proponents of tech in schools contend that students must be skilled in the ways of the world, which is increasingly being governed by technology. Detractors to tablets and smartbooks in the classroom may say it contributes to excessive time in front of a screen and can prove distracting over other means of learning.
It is hard to deny the ways that technology has helped shape and improve education. Students who may not excel with the traditional tools of learning might benefit from applications geared toward offering assistance for their particular needs. Furthermore, technology, through its globalization, can put educators and students in touch with a wealth of resources — all at their fingertips. The following are the myriad ways that technology can enhance lessons in the classroom.
Technology can provide various online resources that go beyond the study guides and other materials offered by textbooks. These resources can be very low-cost or even free, helping educators save money. For parents who need to reinforce lessons at home, the internet can help them collaborate with other parents and teachers and find fun ways to help their children learn.
Technology can process data more quickly and efficiently than humans. Algorithms can be developed to help students learn faster. Tech can be customized in unique ways to help students learn. Not every student learns the same way. Technology provides for a multimedia approach that can combine visual and auditory tools to better teach students.
Teachers can embrace technology, such as YouTube-powered guides to show students how to complete assignments or to go over information in the classroom. Students who missed class or need a little reinforcement can benefit from a second look at lessons in online videos available at all times on the internet.
Some teachers employ QR codes on assignments that students (and parents) can scan to access further information or support materials. This can help kids further explore topics after school hours.
Technology can connect people by voice, text or video, which means that learning is not limited to geographic location. Notes and materials can be shared with teachers or study groups through digital connections around the world in real time.
Students can go beyond their school districts or communities to discover how others learn. High school or college students can rely on internet communities to provide a second set of eyes on papers to proofread for grammar or spelling mistakes or even to assist in brainstorming sessions.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in occupations related to STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — is projected to grow to more than nine million by 2022. Technology plays a strong role in STEM careers. Honing these skills in the classroom can prepare students for professional arenas in which technology figures to play a sizable role.
Technology plays a major role in benefitting today’s educational structures.