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The Evolution of the Classroom [Not the Edudemic Style]


By Jimmy Sorensen*

Everyday life has changed drastically over the past 20 or so years. Technology has penetrated every aspect of our lives including our schools. Computers, word processors, microphones, hardware and software, hand-held devices and TVs have now become common place items in our classrooms. They are used not only to enhance but also to support learning activities. Each of these gadgets is applied in different ways. Some of them are for the benefit of the educators, making teaching easier while some are student specific with the aim being to help students acquire skills and gather knowledge.

The Role Of Technology In Education

Researchers have found that there are two ways to learn using technology. Learning "from" computers and learning "with" computers.

When students use technology as a teacher to reinforce knowledge and basic skills they are learning "from". When applying it to various learning goals, develop creativity, higher order thinking, and research skills, students are learning "with".

Photo Credit: Extra Ketchup. Under license CC

Learning 'from'
Discrete Educational Software or DES is the nickname given to the learning 'from' role of technology. Teacher instruction is supplemented by software. This not only introduces topics but also provides a way for them to learn how to study on their own. The software applications come in different forms. Games, math and reading activities are fun motivators. A positive link has been found between DES and math and reading achievement right from preschool to middle school. SchoolIt has also been found that children with special reading needs got better grades as a result of DES.

Learning 'With'
Many researchers are of the opinion that technology can help students develop such skills as problem solving and higher order thinking. Published results of a study in Missouri supports these assertions. Learning 'with' promotes the growth of enquiry based thinking and problem solving skills. The children in a program called eMint that incorporates technology in learning scored higher grades in assessment tests. They provided new classroom equipment and peer coaching services are part of the program to help the teachers embrace and use technology effectively in classrooms.

The Internet
With the expansion of technology in schools comes the internet. 78% of approximately 2.1 million youth between the ages of 12 and 17 use the internet in school. They download study aides, use online tutoring services and also get help with their homework. The internet is a great resource for worksheets and games to support and reinforce academic skills.

Microphones
Other than computers, devices such as microphones are beneficial to young learners. Teachers are assured of being heard by their students. The use of microphones in classrooms decreased disciplinary issues and raised test scores.

The software and information industry association has examined 311 research studies based on the connection between student achievement and technology. Children in technology rich environments have consistently been found to have improved performance in school. Higher self-esteem and better attitudes towards learning have also been found to be some added benefits of using technology in education.

(*) offers an engaging insight on evolution of classroom in the era of technology. He has discussed about the role of technology in education in detail in this post. You can also find out more about such technology & tech courses which your child can incorporate in their learning to make their classroom more interesting.

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