What constitutes a good use of educational technology?

Good use of digital technology enhances student learning experiences. In an ideal environment, it would be available for all students. In the same way students use pencil and paper to complete assignments, digital technology provides a more flexible and diverse tool that enables students to express their ideas, personal theories, and explore their curiosities. Technology can also help to accommodate different learning needs by providing platforms for blended or online learning experiences. Digital technology is also useful for documenting student learning journeys in the form of digital portfolios. With digital technology, students can also engage in global learning experiences where they learn with the world and not just about it.

In order to make good use of digital technology in education, it needs to be coupled with sound pedagogy. Teachers who know the process of learning need to engage in a deliberate and thoughtful process when selecting technologies. The same way we plan, assess, and evaluate student learning, we need to be to have a process that assists with selecting tools that are purposeful and beneficial.

Integration of technology in today’s classroom is not a straightforward or simple process. Although issues of accessibility and availability have improved over the years it is not an equal playing field for all students due to issues like budgeting and internet availability. Another barrier is teacher education. Optimal use of technology takes awareness, time, and planning and teachers need to be supported with quality forms of professional development in order for this to happen.

2 comments

  1. Hi Maureen,

    There are many excellent ideas in your post. I particularly liked the one about sound pedagogy and the selection of purposeful and beneficial technology for use in the classroom.

    I’d like to say that not all technologies are created equal. Selecting the best one to support teaching a specific subject matter should be done through a process that takes into consideration a number of important factors. These can be student age, prior knowledge, the difficulty level of the material, technological background, teaching goals, etc.

    Going through this process would allow for optimal lesson planning aided by the chosen technology. For example, teachers can determine what parts of the lesson to support with technology for enhanced teaching and can offer better learning opportunities afforded by the selected technology. Such learning opportunities can promote constructivism principles through reflection and experimentation.

    Thank you for your post. It made me think about many important issues regarding selection of technology for use in the classroom.

  2. Thanks for the post Maureen. I agree technology has made digital portfolios much more self-directed, allowing for individualized learning amidst teaching 200+ students each year. I wonder however whether universities (and parents) will start buying into the value of portfolios in demonstrating student performance for something like admissions.

    Andrew

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