As technology becomes more prevalent in everyday life, schools have an obligation to ensure that students are prepared to use that technology in the workplace. Beyond the obligation, however, are myriad advantages to using technology and electronic gadgets in the classroom.
Quality of Information
With technology and the availability of Internet in the classroom, an entire world of information opens up to students. No longer restricted to outdated textbooks or the knowledge of the teacher, the students have access to the world's most up-to-date and relevant information from diverse global sources. They also have access to sources with a more exciting or interactive approach to the subject. With experience, students learn to quickly distinguish between reputable and non-reputable sources, enabling them to glean large amounts of information in a short time.
The constantly evolving nature of technology encourages students to work collaboratively to find information and complete projects. It also facilitates peer tutoring, with the quicker and more adept students taking over a teaching role to help the weaker students. The vast amount of information and possibilities that technology brings also invites discussion among students, who are quick to comment on others' work and ask for feedback on their own. Technology in the classroom encourages (and perhaps necessitates) the sharing of knowledge and skills among students with disparate backgrounds and abilities, and thus has a unifying effect on classmates.
Behavior and Attitudes
A U.S. Department of Education study on technology and eduction reform found that mastery of technology is a significant source of increased self-esteem and self-confidence, particularly when students use their knowledge to help other students. Students realize how important technology is to future success; thus, technical aptitude can become a crucial motivator. The George Lucas Educational Foundation has also noted among students a stronger tendency to stay on task and reduced behavioral problems when students are engaged in an activity that utilizes technology.
Technology has none of the barriers of traditional teaching methods, such as lecturing, which is typically structured toward a specific learning style. It caters to virtually every learning style. With technology, students have the option of learning visually, textually, through auditory means or even with a hands-on approach, manipulating physical objects instead of simply watching or reading about them. One student may extract understanding from a well-written article online, while another may get the same information from a YouTube video. Teachers now have far more flexibility in their lesson plans along with resources for reaching and engaging every student. With so many technological options available to accommodate different learning styles, the chances for student success increases significantly.
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