Technology Takes Center Stage in Education
The three “R’s” in education have a new friend – “T.”
Reading, writing and ‘rithmetic are still educational mainstays, but technology is the vehicle teachers will use to present those and other subjects in the not-too-distant future. The result – experts predict – will be more interactive and effective education that prepares students for future challenges.
“Whenever a college student asks me, a veteran high-school English educator, about the prospects of becoming a public-school teacher I describe what I think the public-school classroom will look like in 20 years …,’” wrote Atlantic contributor and English teacher Michael Godsey, “[I anticipate] a large, fantastic computer screen at the front, streaming one of the nation’s most engaging, informative lessons available on a particular topic.”
Long ago, teachers had few tools other than their own knowledge with which to guide and instruct students. In the past century, teachers had the good fortune to gain increasing access to tools such as textbooks, films, and computers to advance knowledge. Today, teachers continue to use these tools, however, many are already incorporating additional tools that are not only cutting-edge technology, but also cutting-edge teaching methodology. These tools, such as online games, interactive video, and advanced simulators, are acting as a welcome supplement to the traditional tried and tested methods of student instruction.
The seemingly endless bounty of media and resources available through technology can keep lesson plans current, unique, and engaging. But in order for teachers to effectively adopt new teaching technology, they must be educated themselves on the new technology as well as best approaches for implementation.
Teachers that want to help lead the development of high-tech classroom expertise will find invaluable guidance in the University of Delaware’s online Master of Education in Teacher Leadership offered by the College of Education & Human Development. This program, which includes courses such as Designing Professional Development, Coaching Teachers, and Fostering Technology-Based Collaboration, gives teachers the skills and expertise needed to help them facilitate the shift to effective teaching technology instruction.
Think the need for such expertise is farfetched? Consider the myriad reports on the topic including one from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.
“Computer-based delivery of education is one of the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology,” according to the Nellie Mae report. “[Experts] predict that by 2019, 50 percent of all high school classes will be taught over the Internet.” There are myriad reasons such skills are not just in high demand but imperative for professional educators and, in turn, students. Foremost, of course, is outcomes. Although researchers have focused primarily on higher education and professional development when comparing educational methods, it’s believed that specific uses of technology can improve student outcomes as well, reported the Nellie Mae Foundation. Specifically, the authors of the report suggest several benefits from high-tech classrooms including:
Diagnose and address individual needs. Teachers can more rapidly and precisely assess students’ strengths and needs. The two technology-supported methods include one that enables teachers to benchmark students as they progress through a standards-based curriculum, and another method which allows educators to use technology to clearly analyze a student’s thinking. Report authors state that “both approaches help establish a clear baseline from which teachers can then serve as coaches and advisors, steering students to the right mix of resources and projects that meet curricular requirements.” Bottom line: Technology moves toward more precise assessment of students’ learning needs.
Equip students with skills essential for work and life in a 21st century global society. Many employers find job candidates lack critical skills including writing, research and analysis. Educators have worked to shore up that deficit with a barrage of drills and practice. Educators can now use technology to enhance student competencies including problem solving, creativity, collaboration, data management and communication. Bottom line: Creative technologies, which students enjoy, can replace less effective teaching methods and bolster outcomes.
Although some school districts are more technologically advanced than others, it’s no secret that even very young children respond positively to learning via technology, according to the report.
Indeed, the U.S. Department of Education has underscored the need to not just train teachers in technology but to continually update their skills. As technology changes, educators will need to shift the learning experience for all learners, according to Education World. So basically, those that don’t boost their technological skills may find themselves deficient in state-of-the-art education techniques.
It’s becoming increasingly imperative for educators to learn all they can about incorporating technology into their curriculums. And there’s no better way to play a role in facilitating this evolution than obtaining an advanced degree that gives you the knowledge to be at the forefront of the charge. An online Master of Education in Teacher Leadership from the University of Delaware equips today’s educators with the skills to lead their peers into the new technology-driven classroom.