Does Technology enhance learning? In a short answer… Yes it does! Students are driven by technology. Technology is at ours and our students fingertips. Technology is not going anywhere. As a classroom teacher, I have had to embrace technology. By no means do I consider myself to be tech savvy, but I am learning to be. Beginning my teaching career in a Grade 2 classroom was very humbling. You definitely take things for granted with what you know and sometimes what you just figure your students should already know. As a young teacher I quickly learned that my students didn’t know much, so it was my job to help guide them. Fast forward to 2020 and the educational world was turned upside down and we were forced into the world of online teaching. Having to change my wheelhouse into an online teacher and think about the different ways I was going to reach all my students, made me VERY thankful that I had spend the time at the beginning of that school year teaching my students how to use and access their Google Classroom page, because it definitely made my world a lot easier.
Over the past couple of years I have begun to explore the world of coding, after being introduced to it by a colleague. I first explored Hour of Code with my classroom and most recently my students participated in the Go! Code Programs workshops offered by the Saskatchewan Science Centre. The best part of this program, was that they sent the facilitators to work with your classroom, and here is the best part, it was ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! I was blown away by what my students were able to create!
Now that I work with middle year students, I let them explore a little more, when my students complete inquiry projects, I am quite often amazed with what they can do with the technology that was given to them. They aren’t afraid to try new things and take chances. Yes there can be some frustrations as they try to figure some things out, but I find most times before they turn to the teacher for help they are turning to their classmates to help them troubleshoot.
Sam Kary, an educator, instructional coach, and advocate for educational technology in schools, argues that educators need to take a holistic approach to technology in education. On the New Ed tech classroom website, he lists 14 ways technology can enhance learning:
- Use Digital Classrooms for Organization & Accessibility
- Create Student-Centered Personalized Instruction
- Increase Engagement
- “Ditch” Textbooks & “Flip” Classrooms
- Differentiate How Students Show Knowledge
- Teach 21st Century Skills
- Bring Abstract Experiences to Life with Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
- Expand Classroom Walls
- Teach Digital Citizenship
- Promote Social Sharing
- Develop Collaboration Skills
- Develop Metacognition
- Enhance Family Engagement
- Improve Teacher Practice
Technology, definitely is not something that is going away, so we need to embrace the technological world and use it to work alongside our students.