Most adults spend much of their workday at the computer. Whether it’s teleconferencing with people in another country, emailing a dozen clients, researching legal regulations that might affect a new project, or exploring branding options, much of our lives center around technology. Yet many parents and educators are reluctant to invest in classroom technology. They worry that “screen time” is a distraction, not preparation for the real world.
Incorporating the right technology into your classroom can open a world of possibilities. Students will master the self-control necessary to wisely use this technology, while honing valuable skills such as typing, internet research, and critical thinking about clickbait. If you’re ready to make technology a part of your curriculum, here are some points you can make to administrators to secure their buy-in.
Technology Is Everywhere in the Real World
Parents are right to worry that their children will be distracted by the powerful lure of screens. Rather than shielding students from technology, however, a better strategy is to help them manage temptation. In the real world, technology is everywhere. Your students will likely work behind a computer at a desk, and they may carry smartphones or tablets everywhere they go. Making this technology a part of your classroom environment mimics the world your students will encounter as adults, teaching them to intelligently use technology now.
Technology Can Encourage Active Learning
Most students already spend a lot of time on computers and other devices. Incorporating technology into the classroom allows students to use a tool they love in a way that helps them learn. From educational games and projects to notetaking and monitoring online progress, classroom technology presents virtually infinite opportunities to engage students in meaningful lessons.
Students think learning is more fun on a computer or tablet. When students enjoy learning, they’re more likely to persist. By finding ways to make classroom lessons fun and meaningful, teachers can draw in students who feel disconnected, overwhelmed, or bored.
Better Connections to Students
Digital classrooms enable remote learning. So students who are out sick, traveling, or having surgery are no longer excluded from the day’s lessons. This can make a major difference in the lives of children who are frequently ill.
Teachers may feel a deeper connection to students when they can reach them via technology. That’s doubly true for students who are comfortable internet users but who struggle with in-person interactions. For shy students, collaborating online can offer a way to connect with others without the high stakes of intimidating playground interactions. Over time, teachers can use these connections to sharpen students’ social skills and ensure everyone is included in each lesson.
The Right Technology Can Individualize Learning
An educational style that blends traditional approaches with contemporary technology can be easily tailored to the individual needs of students. Classroom technology can tear down accessibility barriers for special needs students. It also affords students the chance to learn through videos, games, activities, and a host of other tools. This ensures that no student will be left behind, regardless of ability level or learning style.
Nurturing a Collaborative Spirit
For the rest of your students’ lives, they’ll need to collaborate with others—whether it’s negotiating household chores with a spouse or resolving conflicts with a difficult co-worker. Research from the U.S. Department of Education found that teachers feel students collaborate better when they use technology. Computers, phones, and other devices are already a part of your students’ social lives. Bringing them to the classroom can support a more social, collaborative approach to education.
It Saves Time
The right classroom technology can save valuable time. Rather than drawing up worksheets or correcting student work, teachers can easily assign relevant, engaging tasks tailored to students’ needs. This frees them to offer more individualized instruction and provide students with valuable feedback.
A shift away from the traditional classroom can be scary. It can also be liberating. Work with your school’s administration to forge a new approach to learning, and you may spark new creative thoughts in students and rediscover a passionate commitment to your work.