Using technology to promote student-centered learning

by Hasani McIntosh
PhD student, University of Florida

Technology is found everywhere, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, and our homes.  But many teachers are still hesitant to allow it onto their classrooms.  Never the less, classrooms have come a long way and growth will only continue.  There’s a unique feel when walking into a modern workplace like Google or Apple. Students should do their best to immolate work environments.

Incorporating technology into the classroom is important for adapting to modern times.  As teachers we have a responsibility to prepare students for the real world. The professional realm is saturated with all kinds of innovations.  Computers can no longer be restricted to computer labs.  For example, accepting papers electronically is now common practice.

The Web connects students to experts in the real world and provides numerous opportunities for expressing understanding through images, sound, and text. New tech tools for visualizing and modeling, especially in the sciences, offer students ways to experiment and observe phenomenon and to view results in graphic ways that aid understanding. And, as an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom.

Technology isn’t the Golden Fleece.  The use of technology won’t make you the best instructor.  Effective instructors are likely to use technology effectively; ineffective instructors are likely to use technology ineffectively.  Technology should supplement instruction.  Technology is a stimulus, not the end to all quests for knowledge.  Education MUST have a learner-centered approach.

Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective technology integration must happen across the curriculum with the intention of supporting lesson plans.

Resources:

Svinicki and McKeachie — Some researchers report that although many public schools have access to the Internet, some students may be less experienced with using the Internet because their homes can’t afford it. Therefore, an instructor might want to have each student fill out a survey designed to gather information about each.

Hasani McIntosh is a student in Mass Communication Teaching

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