Educational technology can radically reshape how teachers educate their students and can assist in creating new ways in which students learn.
To address the changing needs of the classrooms of the future (and tap into the value that educational technology holds) educators and decision-makers need to integrate hardware and software use into the curriculum thoughtfully.
The benefits of integrated educational technology include:
- Improved collaboration skills through interacting with classmates on project-based activities and or shared devices,
- Development of creativity by arranging music, designing characters and building 3D models,
- It inspires engagement and intellectual curiosity during student-directed activities and exploration, such as virtual field trips,
- Development of emotional intelligence through social and emotional learning (SEL) exercises, including immersive activities that teach empathy, so users can more fully understand people from different cultures and communities,
- It communicates persuasively with various storytelling techniques and media, including interactive narratives and 360-degree videos, and
- Improves comprehension of complex concepts by viewing processes, organisms and environments that students ordinarily wouldn’t be able to see first-hand.
Aligning education with the future of the workplace
New methods of teaching (including blended learning, project-based learning and immersive learning) to enhance the existing curriculum and build invaluable skills can be introduced.
These methods of teaching provide students with the opportunity to contribute to their own classroom experiences, increasing their engagement by adapting lessons to individual learning styles.
The value of investing in educational technology is not merely theoretical. By adapting the school environment to integrate technology into the curriculum, education is aligned with the future that students will face in the workplace.
The specific skills that have been improved by integrating technology into the classroom include evaluation skills, digital citizenship skills, test-taking skills and employability.
The success of this type of alignment is demonstrated by the examples below (from a report on technology integration in three school communities in the United States and one in Spain):
- The students’ evaluation skills increased 1,7 times after Colegios El Valle (Spain) adopted new technologies.
- In the Middletown City School District (Ohio), students acquired the digital citizenship skills they need to be successful in the workplace of the future.
- Algebra students in the Richland School District 2 (South Carolina) significantly improved their EOC test scores after the area adopted a blended learning model.
- Educators in the Cajon Valley Union School District (California) consider technology investments to be successful when students graduate with healthy self-esteem, engage in meaningful relationships with their peers and are hired after graduation.
While the true value of educational technology is yet to be discovered by many teachers, school leaders and students, the case studies of schools with integrated educational technology indicate that technology can equip students with the creative and cognitive tools to thrive in the future workforce.