For over a quarter of a millennium, the chalkboard has been a teacher staple in the classroom; however, schools these days are focusing on e-learning tools that are literally changing the way students learn.
Technology in the classroom is moving at light speed, with teachers working overtime to keep up but recognizing its many benefits.
“Our kids are tech savvy when they enter school, so we’ve got to keep up with the way they learn best,” said to Education News Teresa Foreman, the Monroe City School System’s accountability coordinator. “We’re doing everything we can to keep our kids connected the way they want to be connected.”
It’s no secret school districts are investing in technology in the classroom and learning tools.
A 2011-2012 study revealed 65 percent of schools have a digital-content strategy, while 28 percent were planning to implement such a plan.
Gadgets for technology in the classroom
What smartphones were to cell phone users a few years ago – advancing faster than users could keep up – e-learning tools are currently to educators, with curriculum dollars now going towards online education technology, computers, laptops, tablets, e-book readers, interactive white boards and more.
“Technology has a built-in individualized pacing mechanism,” said to Education News Ronnie Donn, a Neville High School teacher. “Students receive an individualized learning experience based on the way they do a web search or connect one text to another.”
According to Donn, the innovative technology in the classroom allows teachers to leave behind unit-based learning for theme-based instruction.
More so, clickers – think game show remote controls students can use to answer questions interactively with a white board – are becoming the norm. The kids stay focused, while teachers are able to monitor individual student’s progress.
A PBS LearningMedia survey released earlier this year shows pre-K to grade 12 teachers are embracing technology in the classroom.
Nearly 70 percent of educators would like more e-learning tools at their disposal however. That number jumps to 75 percent of teachers in low-income school districts. More so, over 70 percent say the use of technology in the classroom helps them reinforce and expand on content, motivate students and embrace different learning styles.
“Technology is a critical part of learning and teaching in today’s classrooms,” said PBS Education’s Alicia Levi. “Teachers today need access to high-quality digital content to keep pace with schools’ investment in interactive whiteboards, tablets and other devices to maximize the educational benefits of technology in classrooms.”
Finally, the government is also promoting high-tech learning tools with $1.1 million in grants targeting high-tech early-intervention and preschool programs for disabled children.
“It’s no longer about buying big desktop computers and sticking them in labs in schools,” said Dept. of Education Office of Educational Technology Director Karen Cator. “It’s about personalizing learning and getting the right resources to the student or teacher at the right time.”