5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Way Kids Learn
Classrooms are evolving as technology changes the way students learn. Some parents are so concerned about these changes they’ve chosen to send their children to technology-free schools, but for most students digital devices are now an integral part of school life.
Below are five ways technology is transforming learning.
Entertainment as Education
To an untrained observer walking into a classroom to find children playing video games, posting photos to Instagram and watching Youtube clips on iPhones, it would appear these students were having a break. Educators, however, are increasingly using the games and apps kids enjoy in their leisure time as teaching tools.
The benefits of this include increased enthusiasm and engagement and more opportunities to discuss internet etiquette and digital citizenship. Educators claim virtual games equip students with valuable decision making and critical thinking skills.
Students as Experts
Young people today have grown up with technology and have no trouble adapting to change. It’s not uncommon for students to take on the mantle of expert and explain new programs to others in the classroom, including the teacher.
According to teacher Kayla Delzer, giving students the chance to learn about new apps, devices and programs on their own is beneficial for everyone. “You don’t need to master every single tool before you hand it over.”
Allowing students to take on the role of expert turns the traditional student-teacher dynamic on its head, helping children develop confidence and problem-solving skills.
One of the great boons of technology is the opportunities it provides for personalised learning. Students can now pursue their own areas of interest, independent from the class. They have access to activities and assessments tailored to their learning style and can proceed at their own pace.
Kayla Delzer has put this into practice in her classroom by giving students time to pursue special interest projects. Activities chosen by students include filming and editing movies and building a robot from tin cans based on Youtube tutorials. “It really gives kids ownership in their learning,” she said.
Collaboration and Interaction
A major concern of parents who send their children to tech-free schools is that digital devices don’t allow students to develop strong interpersonal skills. When used as part of a balanced teaching program, however, games and interactive devices encourage participation, collaboration and cooperation.
Interactive whiteboards, for example, are designed to foster active involvement in lessons. Many video games require students to work together to solve a problem, negotiate a solution and build something as a team.
Transformed Learning Spaces
The traditional classroom set-up, consisting of rows of desks facing the front, reflects the ‘talk and chalk’ style of teaching that is being replaced by more interactive tools and methods.
Classrooms are moving towards more collaborative seating arrangements which include group seating and ‘nooks’ were students can withdraw to work independently on projects. In addition to being able to participate in digital classes with others from all over the world, virtual reality is providing immersive experiences that bring lessons to life in ways previous generations could only dream of.
Classrooms will continue to change as technology evolves, offering new and exciting approaches to learning.