Sunday, April 13, 2014

Relative Advantage of Using Technology in the Content Areas

Educational Technology is constantly changing.  Educators need to continuously study and practice facilitating this learning process using the most appropriate tools available.  These tools enhance the classroom experience by providing various ways to engage and teach our students. As classrooms are becoming more student-centered, we need to evaluate how to effectively integrate technology.  As more and more teachers are using technology, we are finding that students are more engaged and interested when we are integrating quality tools.  As educators know there isn't "the best tool" for everyone. There also is specific time that the teacher-centered classroom is necessary. Effective evaluation of our content areas and standards are necessary. Below are a few examples of the way information technology can support and enhance teaching and learning of the content areas:

  • Telecommunications and video tools such as blogs, google hangouts, or skype provide a means for dialogue, discussion, and debate -- interactivity that leads to the social construction of meaning. Students can talk with other students, teachers, and professionals in communities far from their classroom. Telecommunications tools can also provide students access to many different types of information resources that help them understand both their culture and the culture of others.
  • Networked writing programs such as Google Apps, blogs and wikis, provides a unique platform for collaborative writing. Students can write for real audiences who respond instantly and participate in a collective writing activity that can include global cultures as well.
  • Schoology, Edmodo, and Blendspace are providing a place online where teachers can virtually set up their assignments or activities and students can communicate, write, watch videos and collaborate with their classmates and teacher while learning.
  • Simulations can make learning meaningful by situating something to be learned in the context of a "real world" activity such as building a volcano or experimenting with matter.
  • Scratch and are a few sites that encourage children to learn code in a fun and effective environment that includes a social aspect to it.
The use of technology allows new connections between students and their learning within the the classroom. Students are able to apply their knowledge in student-centered learning environments more than ever before in large part to the use of technology.  As the development of technology applications continue to grow, online learning will also grow.
Technology also is providing unlimited ways for learners to interact locally and globally.  This authentic learning by connecting classrooms with other classrooms, professionals or experts, provide a meaningful experience for the students.

Honey, M., Culp, K. M., & Spielvogel, R. (1999). Using technology to improve student achievement. Pathways to School Improvement [Online].

Angelina, S. & Jimoyiannis, A. (2012). Educational Blogging: Developing and Investigating Students' Community of Inquiry. In A. Jimoyiannis (Ed.), Research on e-Learning and ICT in Education (pp. 169-182). New York: Springer.