Plugging into Classroom Technology

Imagine your boss just issued a memo stating you can no longer use the Internet—for anything work related. Safe to say, your immediate reaction would probably range anywhere between frustration and utter confusion; however, one thing is certain: you need access to the Internet to do your job. Not to mention, your entire office is probably baffled as to how they are going to stop using something so integrated into their everyday lives. Now, consider how you would react to this situation if your boss was a teacher and you were a student.

For years, teachers have considered electronics to be a distraction to students, a personal irritation, and an overall impediment to education. However, as technology becomes more pervasive in day-to-day life, classroom technology should no longer be considered a nuisance, but more so a necessity.

While the effectiveness of eLearning is continually evaluated, no one can deny that we are living in a technology-driven society. Numerous entities, from retail stores and restaurants to financial organizations and government agencies, rely on eLearning to educate and train employees. This approach works equally well in the classroom, no matter the age or intellectual level; it simply needs to be tailored to suit the needs and requirements of the class and curriculum.

Productivity within the classroom may be enhanced through personal computers, software, and even educational games. That said, this relies on the teacher’s own ability to use and incorporate technology effectively in their teaching style. According to Shelley Pasnik, the Director of the Center for Education and Technology, “Incorporating technology into the classroom requires a double innovation.”

Simply handing students a laptop and telling them to research is not effective. There must be structure to implementing the use technology. If not done effectively, students will drift to social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), games (e.g. Trivia Crack, Candy Crush), and Internet surfing to read about other topics typically not related to their course work.

Not only does technology support traditional learning, but it also teaches students valuable professional skills.The implementation of technology jumpstarts the process of instructing students on how to use and maneuver through various devices, applications, and websites. In the ever-changing requirements of an extremely competitive job market, people must understand how to navigate through various technologies effectively. If a prospective employee is unfamiliar with basic applications, most employers will quickly find another candidate with a higher level of technological expertise.

Administrators at all levels of education are currently struggling with understanding whether technology can be effectively used to supplement teaching or if the traditional mindset – that it will always be a distraction and makes the mind lazy­ – still holds true.

The truth is, technology should never be cast aside as a resource because some assume it is a distraction; many schools have shown it can be extremely worthwhile if presented in a constructive and engaging way.

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