If you’re an educator who grew up with chalkboards, exercise books and H2 pencils, you may have some misgivings about implementing technology into the classroom. After all, you’re probably very familiar with just how distracting a mobile phone in the classroom can be. But studies have shown that embracing technology in the classroom can have a range of benefits for both educator and student. From more engaged students to more efficient lesson planning, here are just 5 of the top benefits of technology in the classroom.
Top 5 benefits of technology in education
1. Technology is more engaging
While some may view technology (like mobile phones) as a distraction in the classroom, for students who have grown up alongside technology, it’s simply their way of life. The students of today are digital natives. At home, they use iPads, SnapChat, TikTok and YouTube to engage with the world around them, and the classroom should be no different.
Many studies have shown that using technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning can boost student engagement and improve retention. A 2017 study found many advantages of computers in teaching and learning, with computer-based technology having a positive impact on students across three critical measures of engagement:
- Behavioural engagement: students were more inclined to actively participate in learning activities and interact with their peers and educators.
- Emotional engagement: students were more likely to hold positive attitudes towards learning and have a greater feeling of belonging within their learning community.
- Cognitive engagement: students had greater motivation to learn and were more likely to try to comprehend and master content.
The study found that digital games had the most significant impact on student engagement, followed by web-conferencing and, perhaps surprisingly, Facebook. The study found that class discussion and course material shared via Facebook had a much higher engagement rate than content shared via other delivery methods. Students also reported that they used Facebook to collaborate with their peers, studying for tests, problem solving, discussing course content and sharing resources.
Another study found that students who used technology in the classroom retained more information. More than 90% of students reported that technology in the classroom helped them learn and retain information better than traditional teaching methods. For these students, technology not only made note-taking easier (via the use of tablets), but it also enhanced how information was delivered and made the learning experience more immersive.
This demonstrates that technology shouldn’t be seen as a distraction but rather an opportunity for educators to enrich their lessons and better engage students.
Technology enables educators to provide content in more immersive ways. Take, for example, interactive displays and integrated teaching apps and tools, such as Promethean’s ActivePanel Titanium interactive display and Whiteboard app. These kinds of tools provide easy ways for educators to enhance their lessons, such as enabling educators to screen capture content for further discussion, annotate over content on the screen, create immersive activities and gamify lessons.
2. Technology prepares students to enter the workforce
There’s no denying that one of the most important skills young people will need as they enter the workforce is the ability to use technology. From agriculture to healthcare, there are very few industries that have yet to embrace digital transformation.
We may not know precisely what kinds of technology our students will face when they enter the workforce – it could be something as simple as using email or a word processing software or something as advanced as leveraging AI and machine learning. But the critical thing is that by introducing them to technology at an early age, students gain the skills they need to feel comfortable with new technologies.
Using technology in the classroom today gives students the skills to explore, adapt to, and make the most of technologies they may not be immediately familiar with. Technology is constantly evolving, so this kind of agility and ability to adapt will serve students well in the future.
3. Technology caters to different learning styles
Different students will benefit from different ways of exploring new material. Another benefit of ICT in the classroom is that it enables educators to cater to varied learning preferences in a more personalised way and allows students to explore content in the way that best suits the individual and the topic they’re exploring.
Take, for example, the three primary teaching styles and how technology in the classroom may help students with different learning preferences achieve better outcomes:
- Visual teaching: some students may respond best to interactive displays, videos, virtual excursions, and visual representation of information, such as diagrams and models.
- Tactile teaching: some information is most effectively presented through action and activities that get the students moving, such as interactive games and educational YouTube dance videos. Some students greatly appreciate the ability to learn more about a topic through physical interaction, holding devices and swiping on screens.
- Auditory teaching: some students may respond particularly well to recorded lessons, audiobooks, podcasts, and music and may benefit from tools that convert written feedback into speech.
Technology in the classroom also supports inclusion, providing special education students and those with unique challenges an opportunity to learn alongside their peers at the same pace.
A growing number of assistive technologies offer new ways to help special education students achieve better learning outcomes. These technologies include voice-to-text and text-to-speech software, eye-gaze technology, and virtual reality devices.
For example, an interactive display integrated with headphones and text-to-speech software can help students who have difficulties with reading. A dictionary integrated into a device may be beneficial for those of whom English is their second language.
Technology can be used to help teachers more easily reach those students who require additional support. Technology helps teachers to identify and keep track of students who may be struggling with course content. And because digital teaching tools allow for personalised content delivery, it’s easy for educators to tailor lessons for students who may need additional help. Students can learn at their own pace, while educators are better equipped to provide them with the support they need.
4. Technology encourages collaboration
Collaborative learning is critically important for building communication, teamwork, problem-solving and social skills. Technology facilitates collaboration in many ways, making it easier for students to share and collaborate on projects, give and receive feedback, brainstorm, create together, or simply chat.
Inside the classroom, interactive displays and lesson delivery software, like ClassFlow, encourage collaboration through digital games and team-based activities. For instance, interactive displays allow students to work together on a single problem. Students can individually add to the display, and their contributions can be annotated and discussed in real-time.
But this kind of collaboration isn’t confined to the classroom. Cloud-based communication tools, webchat platforms and screen sharing software enable students to easily collaborate with their peers and educators outside of the classroom too. Students can brainstorm, work on projects, and share videos, photos and learnings even when they’re not physically together.
5. Technology saves educators time
Another benefit of technology in the classroom is that it saves educators an immense amount of time. Apps and teaching tools can help automate mundane administrative tasks, facilitate lesson planning and make sourcing and leveraging valuable lesson resources faster and easier.
For example, technology can help educators create lesson plans more efficiently. Lesson-creation tools explicitly designed for teachers can help educators create dynamic and interactive lessons with much less preparation than would be required for traditional lesson plans.
Educators can leverage existing resources, create interactive activities and quickly tailor each activity based on the subject matter at hand. They can use polls and quizzes to encourage discussion, videos to quickly capture student feedback, and e-portfolios to keep a record of student learning.
The very fact that there is a digital record of all this information is another key advantage. Educators who communicate with students through technology have a permanent record of this exchange, as do the students. This means whenever a teacher or student wants to recall what has been discussed, they can easily revisit old conversations.
Then there’s the day-to-day administration of running a classroom. Tasks that would have previously required a significant amount of manual input, such as writing reports or taking attendance each day, can now be streamlined using time-saving apps and tools.
Now, teachers can communicate directly with parents through technology, rather than relying on students to deliver hand-written reports and notes. Attendance can be taken and submitted to administrative offices with the touch of a button. And that’s just scratching the surface of the time-saving capabilities of technology.
What’s clear is that teachers who leverage technology save an enormous amount of time that otherwise would have been spent on admin, freeing them up to focus on higher-value activities, like teaching.
How you can use technology in your classroom
There are many benefits of digital learning over traditional education methods. The best way to incorporate technology into your classroom is by adopting educational tools that have been designed specifically for educators. Educational technology, such as interactive displays and lesson-creation tools, saves educators an enormous amount of time and helps them create more engaging, inclusive, and collaborative classrooms.
To see how Promethean can help you integrate cutting-edge education technology into your classroom, get in touch with one of our experts for a free consultation and a virtual demo of the ActivPanel.