Power of Technology in the Classroom
As Google and other search engines are becoming more comprehensive, the ability to discriminate between useful and misleading information becomes essential. In our classrooms, we encourage critical thinking to facilitate integration of presented material and to aid in the acquisition of new material.
By learning how to think critically, students gain access to a world of useful information. We strive to establish a learning environment that fosters the exploration beyond text and lectures. Through class activities, group discussions, use of technology, and promoting intellectual interaction, we challenge students to extrapolate beyond the boundaries of the classroom and to integrate the world outside of the classroom.
While I believe the human element is one of the most powerful instructional tools available, new technologies present themselves that allow instructors to increase their effectiveness.
Today's education and training agencies mandate a responsibility to focus on the development of occupational competence which requires a balance of knowledge (know-what) and ability (know-how).
Students’ traditional classroom tools (pencils, notebooks and texts) are still vital. But for students to assemble and modify their ideas, access and study information, they are inadequate. Computers, video, smart phones and other new technologies engage students with the immediacy they are used to in their everyday lives, and bend it to a new pedagogical purpose. It is not what equipment is used in the classroom, but how that equipment is used that will make the difference. Technology must be thought of as an integral component of the curriculum that can be used with almost any content.
With technology, the classroom can be like a space without floors or walls and hence no ceiling to learning. Technology can connect teacher to teacher, teacher to student, student to student, and campus with library, universities, schools, and home in ways not previously possible.
Technology alone, however, is not a complete teaching system; it needs to be augmented with a knowledgeable teacher. The teacher as primary source of knowledge no longer suffices in a world where knowledge doubles every 7 years and 100,000 scientific articles are published every day.
An education process that pushes students to the center changes the teacher’s role to one of facilitator, guide, and coach. It places emphasis on students as active participants in the process of finding, organizing, analyzing, and applying information in novel ways to solve problems. Students become part of a learning community where they collaborate to discover information from a variety of sources, including peers, teachers, experts, real world data, simulations and experiences.
Ultimately, they apply that information in novel ways to solve problems, communicate ideas, and continuously add to their knowledge base.