How Technology Is Impacting Educators in the Digital Age

Technology is entrenched in every aspect of our daily lives. You are currently reading this article on a technological advancement that occurred within the past 20 years, whether it is a tablet, phone, or personal computer. 

 

Technology has changed the world.

Even the education system has been impacted by this explosion of technology. Teachers have gone from teaching on a blackboard to projectors to SMART boards. Technology hasn’t only impacted the physical classroom experience but also the way that teachers give their lessons and interact with students.

 

Interactive Lessons

With the advent of new technology, teachers have taken hold of new ways to engage their students. This can be through interactive online games such as Kahoot, allowing teachers to create an almost game show-like atmosphere for their students. This creates a more engaged classroom and transcends the traditional lecture style that may not work for all students. 

Other teachers have begun to expand outside their classrooms by using technology to experience virtual field trips and simulations. This allows students to travel to exotic places and countries that they would have otherwise been unable to venture to. 

Some schools even provide their students with laptops or iPads which offer a variety of apps, simulations, and other similar means for teachers and students to use. This allows students to engage in different forms of learning while at home and for homework. It doesn’t force teachers to stick to traditional forms such as taking home books or papers. 

By incorporating these new interactive lessons, teachers can engage students whose learning styles may not be conducive to the traditional classroom environment. Programs such as WLC’s M.A.Ed. in High Performance Instruction help develop innovative curricula, teach them how to be inventive in the classroom, and ensure educators understand the changing role of technology within the classroom.

 

Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning is blending on-site or in-classroom learning with online or virtual learning, which is often asynchronous. While the pandemic fostered an environment where it has become more common, hybrid learning as a style has been around for a while, especially at the collegiate level. 

Technology has allowed the hybrid learning experience to flourish. It allows teachers to communicate with their students when working remotely and share course materials in a way that allows students to engage with them at their own pace. 

Allowing students to learn lessons at their own pace can reduce stress and also help them to develop key time management skills.

 

More Diverse Information

Technology has opened the door to exploration for students. 

On just a general learning knowledge level, students can be more immersed in other cultures and places through simulations and videos all while not leaving their classroom or home. 

 They also have instant access to a large number of different sources. They can now read primary historical documents online, have access to any number of books and supporting materials, and even stream documentaries or interviews on their personal computers or phones. Sifting through all of this data helps students to develop key research skills.

 

Higher Digital Literacy Rates

When educators use technology in the classroom, students can learn tech literacy simply by participating in their lesson plans. With the overwhelming use of technology in our daily lives, classrooms are the perfect place for students to learn tech literacy as a life skill. 

 This is especially true and important for those students who may not have access to the type of technology at home as they do in the classroom. It allows them to not lag technologically behind their peers, ensuring equality across different financial brackets.

 

Lower Expenses

While the upfront cost may feel substantial for schools, they end up potentially saving money because it decreases the need for multiple textbooks, printer paper, ink, and other school supplies. Teachers will no longer have to print out worksheets and can assign them digitality. 

Essentially with the increase in technology, the costs of education are far more fixed than they previously were with the fluctuating costs of paper, ink, and other school supplies. Those costs may still exist but will be far more minuscule.  

 

New Metrics for Performance

With the increase in technology, new metrics have begun to arise, making the lives of teachers and educators easier. In programs such as Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Master of Art in Education in Leadership and Innovation, which leads to a Wisconsin principal license, educators are taught how to use technology in innovative ways. This could be anything from student attendance rate or graduation rate to a percentage of classes using technology. These, along with the dozens of other metrics that teachers and administrators can use to track performances, can help devise innovative strategies based on both the school’s and students’ strengths and weaknesses.

 

Challenges of Technology in Education

With every new advancement comes challenges. This is no different with technology. It is important for educators to carefully manage the role of technology in their institutions.

Below are a few of the challenges that educators may face with technology:

Distraction

Technology can give students access to unrelated media during lessons and excessive technology use can impact attention span over time. Being on the computer or iPad, students have more access to the internet and other games that they may have downloaded. This is especially true if there are no limits to the students’ access. 

Reduced In-Person Interaction

The growing use of technology has reduced the need for in-person interaction between peers. Rather than working in groups in person, students are often working on worksheets or projects online. Interacting together can influence “achievement, motivation, self-esteem, and acceptance of difference.” 
Social interaction is especially important for mental health. According to PsychReg.org, “Connections can help reduce anxiety and depression. Social interactions can also help lower stress levels. Connecting with others releases hormones, such as oxytocin, that can lower anxiety levels.”

 

How Can Educators Keep Up?

The role of technology is constantly expanding, and educators must be adaptive to continue devising effective lesson plans. Ensuring that educators are well trained through programs such as WLC’s M.A.Ed. in Leadership and Innovation and M.A.Ed. in High Performance Instruction, can help advance and improve school systems. 

 

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