Intelligence has always been coveted and sought after. It's clear that a high quality education is a common value we share in the United States and around the world. This is seen in households and in law. For example, President Obama recently put forth a proposal for universal preschool. Access to a good education is just as important for grade school kids as it is for the students seeking a college degree, and it would be hard to find someone who doesn't agree that everyone has a right to get that education.
But while we have such reverence for education, schools struggle. Test scores drop, teachers are laid off, programs are cut, and the quality of education varies greatly from school to school. So what can be done to save schools that are falling behind the public's standards -- or dreams -- of quality learning? It seems that our current obsession with technology and electronics may have the benefits in education struggling classes need to get back on track.
It's frustrating to be in a classroom where there are students at very different levels and needs to a degree where it's impossible for one teacher to cater to each student as they deserve. A teacher's job is just as much about knowing the students and understanding how to improve an individual's learning abilities as it is about teaching students about algebra, photosynthesis, or how to use a semicolon correctly. Studies have found that a technology rich classroom is the perfect place for that level of specialized learning. When teachers and students are trained to use the technology, there are many tools to help track growth, give extra resources, and accelerate learning based on each student's unique pace. The first step to improving education as a whole is realizing that there is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all education that will work for every student. From there, technology can offer tools for defining unique education.
One of the major benefits of introducing technology into the classroom is the effect it has on the students. In traditional teaching (lecturing, working from a textbook, and taking notes, for example), it's easy for students to fall into a passive role. Even the best students who have a natural passion for learning can have trouble paying attention to a teacher's lecture. But when technology is involved, students are more likely to be engaged in learning. Students need to press buttons, think out problems, and manipulate the tools they have to achieve a goal. Educational technology can improve focus among students and it caters to students who learn independently and to those who are more collaborative.
The Endless Benefits of Technology and Learning
It's true that adapting to new technology in the classroom takes some time and requires trial and error before teachers and students can start to see results. But once teachers get used to using technology in their lesson plans and when students perfect the skills needed to be successful with that technology, the results are quite impressive. Technology has proven to accelerate struggling students close the learning gap between those at the back of the class and the A-students. In fact, 78 percent of Kindergarten through Middle School teachers agree that technology has had a positive impact on their classroom -- and that's just the start.
Including technology in the classroom gives teachers more options and tools to cater to each student individually. Technology can improve focus and boost students' self-esteem, not to mention teach them valuable skills like fast, accurate typing and using online search engines to find trustworthy sources for research. It's difficult for under-funded schools to find the resources to bring technology into the classroom, but there are organizations and grants available to schools all over the world that are there for just that. With a supportive community and teachers who are willing to be trained and embrace technology in their classes, students of every age are sure to benefit from the many tools and skills technology can offer.
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