Today’s society is enamoured with digital gadgets and cutting-edge technology. There are a number of ways in which digital technology can be used to improve education. Nevertheless, how can we choose which technology to use in our classrooms, given that it should be a means to an end rather than an end in itself?
For educators, evaluating technology means looking at how it improves the learning experience of students and whether it has a positive impact on learning. We should not be using technology just for the sake of using it, especially where there is little or no evidence to support the theory that it improves learning. While there may be some scepticism about the use of educational technology, this can often be alleviated by showing how it addresses specific traditional classroom challenges.
A few points to keep in mind when considering the adoption of new educational tools:
- Is the technology obstructing the learner’s ability to focus on the task at hand?
- Is there going to be a steep learning curve and a significant amount of time spent on learning how to use the technology if it’s implemented?
- Are teachers and learners able to easily and regularly communicate and provide feedback in a collaborative atmosphere supported by the technology?
- Does the use of technology help you teach better? Complex concepts can often be better taught via simulations and animation, for example.
- How will learners benefit from using the technology in the classroom?
- Can learners work at their own pace?
- Does the technology boost the learners’ engagement and participation?
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should help you narrow down your options when it comes to selecting educational technology for your classroom. However, before making a final decision on which technology to use, always make certain that the features and benefits of the technology are based on sound pedagogical practice.
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