As our technological world continues to grow and expand so too do our uses of that technology. Cloud computing and mobile technology have greatly impacted the way in which we interact with technology in our everyday lives.
Academia is one area that both mobile and cloud technology have influenced greatly in the past several years. Where at one point cell phones in the classroom were considered purely a nuisance and distraction, today have become tools for learning and engagement in the primary classroom. Likewise, while at one time the digital classroom was frowned upon and considered lesser to the traditional one, today online education and online learning are praised by some of the greatest minds in academia.
Because technology is such a central element to our society as a whole and our progression as a global community, technology must also play an important role in our educational system today. By integrating things like social media, cloud computing, online communication, and other forms of educational technology, our students can learn more comfortably and effectively in the classroom today. Consider the role technology plays in the academic world today for both students and teachers:
1. Easier Access to Knowledge
Possibly the largest and certainly the most obvious advantage of utilizing technology within the classroom is the immediate access to a wealth of knowledge online. Finding ways to utilize online resources and tools within an academic curriculum can really liven up a classroom and stimulate learning.
While studying textbooks and classroom material will always be important, there is such a wealth of knowledge and information online, that not utilizing it is truly a waste. Teachers and administrators can find ways to incorporate web searches, online resources, and educational tools to energize their classroom and expose their students to the fullness and richness of the online world.
2. The Idea of the Flipped Classroom
The flipped classroom has become one of the shining examples of the use of technology in the classroom and curriculum. In a flipped classroom, students watch video lectures online at home as homework and complete assignments and “homework” at school during the day with their teacher there to assist them.
This restructured classroom facilitates learning in many different ways. Students are able to take in the lecture information on their own time, in their own way, and at their own pace. Because it is a video lecture, students can pause and rewind when they get confused and can fast forward through areas they already understand. This helps students better understand the material and keeps them more carefully engaged. Teachers are then able to utilize class time to actually help students use the material in assignments. Rather than sending kids home with homework and no one to help them with it, the flipped classroom allows teachers to offer help on work when it is immediately needed. While this structure can be a drastic change for many schools and teachers, even just adapting small aspects of the flipped classroom by integrating video learning opportunities can be beneficial.
3. Material Becomes Relevant and Familiar
Technology is a huge element of the youth generation’s lives today. Almost every student in the classroom today spends time on social media, social networking, on their smart phones, on the internet at home, and so much more. For this reason alone, it makes significant sense to integrate the familiar world of technology into students’ learning world.
By incorporating social media, online communication techniques, and other technological aspects into the academic world and classroom, students can feel more at-home in their schools and with their learning materials. Students respond better to material when it feels familiar and relevant to them. By integrating technology like forum discussions, video lecturing, online research, social media based class discussion, students recognize the worth of the subject at hand more readily.