Today’s youths are practically glued to digital devices, which range anywhere from smartphones to personal laptops. With technology playing such a crucial part in students’ lives, teachers have embraced technological advancements by recognizing the value of emerging technology and integrating the technology into pedagogy.
Why should we integrate technology into our classrooms?
K-12 students improve academically and become more motivated when they are interested in and engaged with the learning material. Educational technologies can be great tools for creating these much-needed interactive learning environments because they encourage students’ active participation and provide easy-to-access information. Technology also enables individualized instruction and immediate and effective feedback while providing personalized learning opportunities for diverse learners.
With technology, teachers can deliver instruction in multiple ways, easily expanding learning opportunities for all students. For instance, many students struggle with math; so, teachers can include technologies such as graphing tools to draw and view graphs, multi-representative tools to decrease cognitive load (e.g., virtual manipulatives), visual aids to help support word problem-solving (e.g., graphic organizers), and game-based learning materials to motivate students.
What will future technology look like in K-12 classrooms?
Technology advances every day; it is becoming more precise, complex, and powerful. In the field of education, several technologies are regarded as promising tools for future K-12 classrooms.
One example is immersive learning, e.g., virtual and augmented reality. Immersive technologies have been referred to as the fourth wave of technological innovation, following the waves that introduced PCs, the internet, and mobile devices to the general public. Tech companies continue to invest heavily in developing immersive technologies. Virtual reality creates a computer-generated environment with realistic scenes and objects that provide the sensation of being immersed in artificial surroundings. Augmented reality overlays virtual 3D images onto the real world. This enables students to interact with virtual content in a real environment. These technologies are quickly becoming a part of daily life, and younger generations tend to be familiar with them.
In addition, artificial intelligence is drawing increasing interest among educators. Researchers believe that AI-based tutorials can eliminate barriers that hinder student learning (e.g., lack of qualified teachers and resources) and promote inclusive, equitable education for all learners. Although many educators are still concerned about new technologies, they will play a vital role in future classrooms. We can prepare for these changes now by thinking about how effectively we can use technology in our classrooms.
By Jiyeon Park, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education at the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership, EKU.
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