Google. YouTube. Wikipedia. All are household names, all are online staples that aren’t going away anytime soon and all are new faces of academic research in the last five years. Could the phrase “hit the books” actually be heading into obscurity? Has the “reference” section of the library become a virtual non-entity? What many teachers, especially veterans, have feared for academic research since the advent of the Internet has become an unquestionable reality: technology has infiltrated the education realm.
In today’s increasingly digital age, technology integration in the classroom is perhaps the best way to engage students and utilize a wealth of tools and resources, while making learning fun.
The pervasiveness of technology is not a threat to young minds across the nation or a death sentence to education as we know it — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. In today’s increasingly digital age, technology integration in the classroom is perhaps the best way to engage students and utilize a wealth of tools and resources, while making learning fun.
In today’s heavily “wired” world, technology is vital for preparing students for the future — the internet, in particular, has drastically accelerated the speed at which connections between listening, reading and writing can be made. Up-to-date technology in the classroom is beneficial both as an academic tool and a mode of communication in the 21st-century classroom.
What does this really mean for the recent adoption of the Educational Standards in classrooms across the nation? Many questions whether the core standards leave enough room for teachers to use technology and digital media strategically and capably — a gap that presents a real issue today more than ever. Technology is a challenge that teachers and parents alike must face head-on; no matter how unfamiliar they are with nuances of the digital world.
Let’s explore the goals of the recently adopted teaching standards and why technology is an ideal — and indispensable — agent for meeting these goals in this ever-changing world of learning.
The Common Educational Standards: Some Overarching Goals
With the recent adoption of the educational standards across classrooms in some countries, though with different names, parents and teachers are finally provided with a clear and consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn, thus, providing for a paradigm shift in the way students learn using effective tools and better strategies. Designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, the standards reflect the knowledge and skills that young people need to succeed in both college and the professional world. Although these standards alone cannot improve the quality of K-12 education, they provide several undeniable benefits for students, teachers and parents alike:
Clear and synchronous academic expectations for teachers and students;
Seamless transition for students relocating or transferring schools across state lines;
Coast-to-coast collaboration for teachers as they adapt and enrich common standards with learning activities and new best practices;
Alignment of textbooks, digital media and instructional materials for publishers and educational developers; and
Unified standards that support the development of a comprehensive and consistent assessment system.
Many Internet tools are collaborative and all are hands-on. Applications that allow for the creation of timelines, videos or other dynamic presentations offer a welcome change from lectures or note-taking. Even better, there’s an element of excitement when students’ work is available for viewing on the Internet. A few top technology options in the classroom include:
Video-on-demand resources with search engines and content correlated to the core standards
Digital textbooks with embedded video content
Talking word processors
Online learning games, quizzes, forums, lesson plans and teacher feedback.
Technology: A Help or Hindrance to These Goals?
A top fear about technology integration — and certainly not an unwarranted one — is academic dishonesty. Although the Internet is typically today’s primary research tool, should it be the primary tool with which today’s students learn to research academic topics? While the internet is undoubtedly a vast source of information, students run the risk of using unaccredited content as the foundation to their research — or worse, arriving on inappropriate Web sites all because of bad syntax in a search engine.
The problem is not the technology itself — it’s the type of technology teachers use to meet these goals. With the proper use of technology and enforced guidelines, students can learn the various strengths of technological tools and how best to utilize them to meet academic goals.
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The Bottom Line: Technology Can Bridge the Gap
When students utilize technology as a tool, they are actively making choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate or display information. They’re thinking about information, making choices and executing skills — as opposed to a typical teacher-led lesson where even the best and brightest might sit in silence. More so than ever before, students are in a position to define their goals, make their own decisions and evaluate their progress.
Success in the 21st-century classroom has become far more dependent on students obtaining a well-rounded skill set as opposed to reaching an academic comprehension level. Bridging the gap between technological integration and the Common Core standards is the first step toward improving our education system and moulding brighter leaders for tomorrow.
LOGOLEPSY PUBLISHING HOUSE is a boutique publishing house with over 200 titles in print pipeline and one of the first companies in India to bring an Augmented Reality experience for the students and educators. We at Logolepsy are forerunners in delivering a wide range of products that helps foster a passion for reading from generation to generation. In business since 2014, we intend to change the landscape of education industry with our broad spectrum of books covering the major consumer book market. Logolepsy distribution centres can store more than a hundred million books. Invoicing, logistics and managing returns contribute to making distribution a strategic link in the book’s value chain. At Logolepsy, we deal in the following genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Children, History, World Affairs, Politics, Crafts & Sports, Self-help & Empowerment, Health & Fitness, Spirituality & Religion, Philosophy, Business, Management, Finance, Cookery, Pottery, Activities (Sports, Games, etc.), Hobbies, Reference, Biography, Travel, etc. Defined by a culture of expertise, collaboration and openness, we cherish and respect our heritage whilst constantly challenging ourselves to disrupt or enhance the best that our Group has to offer to deliver something even better. —> LOGOEDGE (Educational Imprint) —> LOGOKIDS (Children’s Publishing) —> LOGOLEPSY BOOKS (Distribution Network) —> LOGOBUYS (Official Merchandise)
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Image Credits: Featured Image from Microsoft Blog