Use vs. Overuse: Balancing Tech in the Classroom
Technology is just as much a part of today’s world as reading, writing, and arithmetic. To advance in higher education and the job market, students must be able to leverage a set of digital skills along with traditional subject area knowledge. In keeping with these trends, teachers are tasked with integrating technology into their classrooms. Here are a few tips for balancing technology and regular classroom instruction so that you can do your job more effectively and improve student outcomes.
Use the Right Tools
When used properly, technology can add value to the classroom. Andrew Marcinek at Edutopia says that many teachers find it helpful to use Google sites for keeping their students’ portfolios organized and easy-to-access. By giving each student a Google Docs folder to upload their assignments, teachers have to worry less about keeping track of paperwork.
Enhance Traditional Modes of Learning
Prevent tech overload by using it as an adjunct to classroom instruction instead of the main focus. For instance, Janelle Cox with Teachhub.com suggests introducing students to videos, podcasts, or blogs that expand on information discussed during the lecture or in the textbook.
Develop Good Research Skills
The plethora of information available in the digital age can be overwhelming for students. Since information is merely at the fingertips of every student, teaching critical research skills is even more significant, according to Harris O’Hanlon with Education Week. Teachers can help students switch from passively absorbing online data to actively questioning and analyzing the information they take in. One great way to do this is teaching them to use the library databases to gather good quality references. It can also help to evaluate and compare the credibility of different virtual sources like blogs versus magazines versus peer-reviewed journal articles.
Technology promotes learning and engagement in the classroom, but too much can hinder students’ ability to develop interpersonal communication. Cox recommends establishing tech-free periods when learning is facilitated through classroom discussions, group collaborations/presentations, or critical thinking exercises. These “unplugged” activities can help your students learn to brainstorm and problem-solve with one another without relying on technology.