Implementing Technology Within the K-12 Classroom
December 01, 2021
As educational institutions reopen, the hybrid scenario is being considered a more permanent option to integrate into the classroom. New technology products help IT and educators create secure, simplified, and dynamic collaborative environments which improves institutions’ and students’ potential to exceed expectations. Institutions utilizing immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) with students create the ability to imagine and grow curiosity about the world outside of their lives.
Common and Future Technology Within the Classroom
The most common technology being used today within classroom settings are workstations, desktops, laptops, tablets, projectors, smartboards, and collaborative software. Laptops, desktops, and tablets provide a more flexible learning environment for students and teachers to collaborate in real time. These devices are built specifically to withstand the rigorous daily use of tasks in and out of the classroom. Projectors and smartboards provide clear and interactive tools to the education process. Smartboards allow teachers to work through their lessons and save them for students to review at home. Collaborative software that allows students and educators to connect, share, and collaborate seamlessly and securely, opening a pathway to easily videoconference, manage content, form collaborative groups, chat with students and educators, enhance professional development, and handle grading. Looking forward into the future of educational technologies, VR technology provides an immersive educational experience and expands the lessons beyond the classroom walls. VR within the classroom allows the integration of VR lessons into the educational curriculum, from STEM modules to real-world applications. These devices open the door for teachers and students to create their own content. Educators will not only need to embrace these new teaching and learning styles, but also meet the needs of students whose education was set back and whose career prospects are at risk.
Common Utilization of Technology Today
Common uses of technology in the classroom include presentation programs, educational applications, online homework assignments, online tests, and online grading systems. Presentation programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint can be an effective tool to present lesson materials in the classroom and encourage student learning. Teachers creatively illustrate information by graphics, bullet points, and links to videos. Educational applications such as Kahoot! can be used to review information after a lesson in a more exciting way for students. Enabling the entire class to participate creates a fun, competitive, and collaborative experience for both students and teachers. Online assignments and tests are easily accessible, which increases students’ engagement and helps students become more organized. Online assignments make it easier for the student to not miss an assignment and learn time-management. Online grading systems allow students, teachers and parents to stay up-to-date with the progress of the student. While these are small integrations of technology, they have proved to be useful and efficient to both the educator and student.
How to Integrate Technology in Classrooms
Utilizing different technologies in classrooms, including VR, helps students actively engage with learning objectives. As many students learn in different ways, implementing technology within the educational curriculum creates pathways for differentiated instruction to meet those unique needs. You may want to ask how educational institutions are integrating technology within classroom settings. As education institutions select and procure the right technology devices, there needs to be procedures before implementing it into the curriculum.
- Align the Technology with the School’s Vision: It is more than deploying high-quality technology to students and teachers; it also requires district-wide planning, design thinking, and change of management at every level. Be sure to identify your needs, strategy, and vision before developing a plan to introduce the technology.
- Consider Your Curriculum Approach: Educators need to review how they want to adjust their instructional approach to fit with the technology of their choice. Having a clear approach will allow the institution to have a clear decision involving the types of devices and software that will be needed for the curriculum.
- Honor the Role of the Educator: Technology is not to be utilized to replace teachers but rather to enhance their teaching abilities. Technology is a tool to help teachers need to work in tandem to provide the best experience to meet the students’ educational needs.
- Leverage Technology for Learning: These devices and software are meant to enable students to become more engaged within the classroom and create creativity. Educational games introduce a competitive and collaborative experience across the classroom and allow the students to become more engaged within the curriculum.
- Blend Curriculum and Technology with Purpose: Blending software experience and the curriculum fluently allows the educator to have the ability to introduce a hands-on experience at a distance. For example, a science teacher may conduct a lab assignment remotely, and supported by the technology provide easy access to programs and software that will make this possible. This also allows educators and students to have the ability to collaborate in real time with questions and answers.
- Review and Demo Tools: Utilizing the right tools for your educational needs is key for both students and teachers. Receiving feedback from both students and teachers toward their goals in the classroom and curriculum will reveal the best experience overall.
- Prioritize Students’ Needs: Each student and class are different; it is important to put your students’ needs first. It is easy to offer devices, but to excel in educating, these devices need to be compatible with and contribute to the outcomes you are seeking for your students.
- Provide Space and Time for Professional Development: Users must be thoroughly educated and trained on the new tools and solutions to develop the best outcome toward this investment. Providing feedback and training sessions to educators, parents and students will best aid in implementing technology.
- Monitor Student Progression: The most important aspect of implementing technology within the classroom is that students are excelling in their curriculum. Educators need to set periodic evaluations of the students’ progress and monitor their goals. Empowering students to voice their opinions and choices within the classroom is an important element in the engagement and development process.
Immersive instruction is a core value in today’s educational experience for both educators and students. As technology continues to integrate with the day-to-day tasks of education, institutions need to develop a strategic and efficient plan to implement new technologies that come. As institutions begin to integrate new devices and software to their staff and students, the need for IT services is a necessity to ensure enhanced learning is secure and managed properly. New technologies open doors for students to become more collaborative and engaged in their learning experience. The proper way to ensure seamless integration of devices and software is to align the technology with the school’s vision, develop a curriculum strategy, test, review demo tools, and make sure the students’ and teachers’ needs are being met by these technologies.