In the most primitive years of formal education, students learned on chalk tablets and books were a prized rarity. In the modernized educational capabilities of today, technology is opening new doors of learning with every student. With each innovation, the limits for learning are continuously raised, and the design of curriculum reflects the expanding possibilities created through technology.
Technology in the Classroom
Joseph Hardin said, “Technology is affecting education in revolutionary ways, and the momentum toward these changes is irreversible.” Technological change is redefining communication by leaps and bounds, but in turn, is also changing how educators need to teach. A significant viewpoint for all teachers to consider is that networking signifies not just an innovative toolset, but a novel environment for learning and teaching. New communication technologies encourage new possibilities and enlist an unlimited database of knowledge for students.
Preparing for the Future
97 percent of teachers had at least one computer in their classroom in 2009, and Internet access was available for 93 percent of computers. The average ratio of students to computers was 5.3 to 1. It cannot be denied that this is now a digital world. Computer literacy skills and internet know-how are a requirement for many facets of daily life and learning these skills at an elementary level arms student with a toolset that can only improve their chances for success in the future.
Benefits of Technology in Educational Curriculum
Educators are discovering new ways to incorporate technology into curriculum, and are finding the following outcomes:
- More engaged students – Students take an interest in new technologies and find more interest when material is presented through these new mediums, as compared to simple reading from a textbook. Technologies actively engage the students, through problem-solving games, quicker study methods and unlimited potential for research.
- Simplified materials – One in five children were found to carry a backpack that weighed at least 15 percent of their body weight, and these heavy packs have been shown to cause chronic back pain and in extreme cases, scoliosis. Technology can put a wealth of material literally into the palm of a student’s hand. Lightweight new laptops and digital books can easily take the place of heavy, cumbersome books and notebooks.
- Increased motivation and better-developed collaboration skills – Teachers utilizing technology within their curriculums have reported that new technologies in education have increased student motivation and cause a sense of teamwork within the class.
- Overall increased student achievement – Technology not only puts the fun back in learning, but has also been shown to cause a significant rise in academic success. It has been suggested that because technology makes learning enjoyable, students are more likely to succeed academically. It has been suggested that because technology makes learning enjoyable, students are more likely to succeed academically.
Effective Technology for Successful Curriculum
Numerous forms of technology can be implemented to support and enhance learning. The types of technology that can be combined with a well-planned curriculum include:
Digital Books - More books and textbooks are being made available in digital format, or e-books. E-books for preschoolers and kindergartners can be combined with literacy software, assisting the child with learning to read by providing audio cues and highlighted words and phrases. Curriculum design for older students can include testing options after passages within the text, to check for understanding of the material.
Classroom Clickers – When designing curriculum, educators must always consider ways in which to keep the class engaged in the material. Classroom clickers, sometimes called e-clickers, allow instructors to get immediate feedback from the classroom during lessons or lectures. In addition to being able to test the students, this method also allows the instructor to receive an accurate picture of who in the classroom might need more attention and assistance.
Interactive Whiteboards and Tablets – The quick-response factor also comes into play with interactive whiteboards, and paired with software on the teacher’s computer, this type of technology is an excellent way for the teacher to visually demonstrate points on a large scale. This type of technology is especially wonderful for math and science curriculums, as it allows the teacher to save whiteboard notes for students and quickly ‘clean the slate’ for the next lesson.
E-instruction and Distance Learning – The E-learning sector has grown exponentially in the past decade, with more than 6.1 million students taking at least one online class in 2011. E-learning curriculums are designed with the distant learner in mind, making it possible for many students to obtain an education without disrupting professional or family lives. Initially available for higher education only, e-learning is now helping students receive high school educations and elementary students to connect with students from around the globe in online classroom settings.
Curriculum designed with technology in mind can be fundamental in many students’ educational success stories. Effective instructors recognize these new capabilities and are working to apply them to existing curriculums, ultimately providing students with advanced tools for achievement.
If you are ready to make a difference as an educator and learn new ways to implement technology in educational curriculum of the future, earn your M.S. in Education in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University Online. Within this convenient online platform, you can reach your goals of higher education at an accelerated pace.