Role of Technology in Education
“Technology” (like any tool) should only be utilized when it is appropriate to the situation at hand. The term “instructional technology” has changed significantly recently, describing any tool that is used to enhance learning. By this definition, even the textbook was, at one point, a “technology” available to students and teachers. Technology does not replace good teaching, however. While a textbook might contain all the information that might appear on an exam, a teacher can’t simply assign the reading of a textbook and expect a good outcome on the test. Teaching is more than just connecting students to materials… it’s about creating a learning environment that takes into consideration all that we know about students (their prior knowledge, experiences, and preferences), the brain (how we learn), and the subject material and puts it into practice.
Digital instructional technology has the benefit of permitting access to research-supported instructional strategies that we, as educators, value within the classroom. When used appropriately, they have the benefit of promoting the increased use of:
- Formative assessment
- Peer assessment
- Revision of student work
- Student-created work
Due to its ever-increasing role in the lives of all individuals, technology must be thoughtfully integrated to be truly effective. Its ability to promote communication, collaboration, and creativity is a valuable asset in the pursuit of engaging instruction. Through this integration, students can become responsible users of the tools that are quickly becoming ubiquitous aspects of our daily lives.
“Blended Instruction” is a term that describes the incorporation of online-based instructional tools into the face-to-face instructional environment, creating a “blend” of online and offline instructional strategies. By thoughtfully incorporating instructional technology into the learning environment, teachers can maximize their role as "coach" and help students develop the skills they will require to be lifelong learners.
Through the use of multiple modalities, teachers can increase their use of instructional tools that allow a more personalized educational experience - valuing the best aspects of each method of instruction.