Leveraging New Technologies in Schools

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Innovations in technology are permeating schools more and more every day. In fact, a recent survey of more than 360,000 K-12 students conducted by A Project Tomorrow revealed that ”80 percent of students in grades 9-12, 65 percent of students in grades 6-8, and 45 percent of students in grades 3-5 use smartphones.” (Source) This survey is significant because it shows that a large number of students are using technology at a very young age and incorporating technology into the classroom will provide another means for continued learning and growth for these students.

In order to help facilitate the use of technology in teachers’ lesson plans, many school districts have begun to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy or a 1:1 policy (1 device for each student).

What does this mean for the classroom and teachers? Quite simply, teachers can now incorporate technology into their lesson plans with the expectation that most students will have mobile devices readily available. Below are just a few examples of how teachers and schools are currently using technology as a resource for transforming the way students learn.

The Flipped Classroom: The Flipped Classroom is a teaching methodology in which students watch lecture videos online for homework and teachers carry out classroom discussion the following day. This allows students to learn the material at their own pace and saves precious class time for interaction and discussions between classmates and teachers.

Online Assignments: Teachers have begun to assign homework to be partially completed online. By assigning online homework that’s completed via web portals, teachers can now grade the assignments faster and more efficiently. Gone are the days of “my dog ate my homework!”

Using online homework portals also allows students, teachers, and parents to track progress and address any issues early and often.

Mathematics: There have been numerous studies conducted about the effects of technology in education, particularly about how technology can help students better learn mathematics. In a recent study by John Hopkins University with a sample size of 56,886 K-12 students, results showed that computer-managed learning, comprehensive models, and supplemental CAI technology (Computer Assisted Instruction) all had a positive effect size on mathematics achievement scores. (Source) Although the effect size is small, this study is still significant because it shows that using technology can have a positive impact on how students learn mathematics, which could translate into increased technology use in other subject areas, too.

In short, the increasing use of technology amongst children will allow teachers of all subjects to more easily incorporate a higher amount of technology into their lesson plans. By using these technology tools, teachers not only provide a familiar platform for student learning, they are also able to communicate more readily with both students and parents.

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