Technology in the Classroom: Benefits

  (Updated June 9, 2022)
Michelle Bouslog
Michelle Bouslog
EdTech teacher; M.A.Ed. in EdTech, Concordia University St. Paul, MN
A teacher helps her student by showing him something on a tablet.

Technology in the classroom brings many educational benefits, which should come as no surprise. Not only does it engage students, help teachers differentiate their instruction, and foster connections that would otherwise have been impossible, but technology also prepares students to be college and career ready.

Not to mention that technology helps with organization, lesson planning, and classroom management. Below is a deeper look into the benefits of technology in not only these realms, but more.

Student Engagement

Holding students attention and keeping students engaged has always required tricks up a teacher’s sleeve. While technology can be a cause of distraction amongst students, it can also be used as one of the biggest forms of engagement.

Gamification is a buzz word in education today that describes using programs and apps that have a video game-like interface, but where students are practicing their math and reading skills as they play.

TEDx Talks such as How Games Make Kids Smarter and The Power of Gamification in Education preach the benefits of using games to engage, excite, and motivate students. Technology also makes it easier to cater to students’ engagement styles when it comes to differentiating instruction.

Differentiation

Technology makes it easier to meet all students’ learning styles and students’ educational needs. Many programs adjust the rigor as students participate in them, meeting the student where they are at and building on that foundation.

Prodigy, eSpark, and Kids A-Z are three programs that provide this kind of differentiation. Students begin by taking a placement test and are put on a path at the level they are starting at. As they achieve learning goals and work through standards, they move through the levels at their own pace. These apps also provide teachers with real time data and a deeper look into where students might be struggling.

Connection

Technology is helping foster relationships amongst students, whether that be with the classmates at their table group or with students on the other side of the world. One virtual classroom tool that has become popular is called Empatico. This website combines live video with research-based activities that are designed to foster meaningful connections among students.

There are currently 154 countries connected by Empatico and nearly 60,000 students who have used it. Empatico gives students a voice to share their experiences and perspectives and create global citizens. Without technology, the ability to build relationships with someone on the other side of the world would be significantly more difficult.

College and Career Readiness

According to Achieve, being “college and career ready” ultimately means that students are prepared for their next steps after high school. Being college and career ready means that all doors remain open to students as they continue to pursue the next chapter in their education and ultimately in their careers.

Technology can help take students to that next level by giving them the skills needed to live and work in the 21st century. Without the exposure to technology, students could be lacking in the technology skills that will likely encompass the future work they do. This makes technology proficiency, in many ways, equally as important as reading and math.

Collaboration

Technology helps students collaborate. Students can work together with the confidence that comes from being behind a screen. Technology also gives students a voice who may not otherwise have had one (think English language learners, students with certain learning disabilities, and even simply shy students). Students can work together on a project, answer and ask questions, and contribute in ways they otherwise may not have had the confidence or ability to.

Padlet  is a “virtual wall” which promotes collaboration as students write responses to a discussion question, add resources for a collaborative class project, or work in small groups. KidBlog also gives students a voice in an area that doesn’t come easy to many: writing. Students can use KidBlog to write to an authentic audience, and have the digital tools readily available that build confidence (think spell check or dictionary).

Beneficial for Teachers

Technology has so many benefits for students, but let’s not forget all the advantages it has for teachers as well. Technology helps with organization. Think about the switch from filing papers in filing cabinets to desktop folders. Technology helps with planning. Think about working on lesson plans using Google Docs with your grade-level team. And technology helps with classroom management. Tools such as ClassDojo, Too Noisy, and iReward work to motivate students, track noise levels, and collect data that can be used to reward students.

Classroom Technology Post-COVID

Now that we have all lived through (and continue to navigate) a pandemic, many things about technology stand out as beneficial to students. It is a language students speak, a major learning tool, and helps the classroom experience move forward better than ever before.

Students Are Technology Masters

Technology is the language students have spoken for the past two years. They learned how to learn in a way that nobody ever had. Class zoom meetings, small group breakout sessions, virtual homework assignments, and learning management systems (Seesaw, Schoology, etc.) are all ways students have become digitally literate young learners.

With this background students have in technology, teachers can now spend less time introducing technology and more time using it. It is recognizable, innovative, and the platform they will continue to use throughout the rest of their schooling and into the start of their careers.

Because students are so familiar with technology and using it as a powerful learning tool, incorporating technology into lessons helps students feel at home with their schooling. They recognize technology and are comfortable and confident using it. They know what to expect with technology.

For shy students, it gives them a platform for sharing their knowledge. For creative students, it gives them a world of avenues to explore. And for students who need extra support (English language learners, low achieving students, or special education students) technology is there to help strengthen and reinforce their learning.

Best of Both Worlds

Technology is familiar to students and a tool that can solidify learning. When it is paired with in-person instruction, it can be the best of both worlds. Students get to learn in a way they are most comfortable with (using an iPad or other tech devices) but still have a teacher and classmates close by.

Teachers are readily available physically to answer questions and guide their students through assignments (unlike during online learning when students would have to schedule a Zoom meeting and wait until that meeting to receive help.)

Students learning in the physical classroom don’t miss out on social cues, hand gestures, tone, or body language from both their teacher and peers. They get to interact with each other, build face-to-face friendships, and still utilize the benefits that technology offers.

Students can take the tech skills they learned throughout the pandemic and use them in the real-world physical classroom and experience better than ever before. The pandemic has made that possible, and it is a bright spot at the end of a long tunnel.

Conclusion

It isn’t surprising that technology in the classroom has so many educational benefits, from increased student motivation and differentiation to global connectivity and college and career readiness. It also helps teachers improve organization, master classroom management, and streamline lesson planning. Jump on the technology train if you haven’t already, it’s sure to be worth the ride.

Have an interest and want to make an impact in educational technology? Check out our available educational technology graduate programs and advance your career today!

*Updated June 2022
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