From Clickers to E-Readers, Technology Is Transforming the Classroom

Technology is changing the way we eat, earn, and communicate, so it’s no surprise that technology is also bringing changes to the classroom. According to Barbara Leader of The Town Talk, technology is changing the way students learn and teachers teach.

Gone are the days where teachers behind a podium deliver lectures to students sitting quietly in their desks while parents nervously wait for report cards to arrive home signaling a student’s success or challenges.

Technology gives educators different ways to deliver information and instruction to students and parents.

“Our kids are tech savvy when they enter school, so we’ve got to keep up with the way they learn best,” Monroe City School System accountability coordinator Teresa Foreman said. “We’re doing everything we can to keep our kids connected the way they want to be connected.”

The classroom environment has been transformed by technology to cater to the needs of 21st century learners. Now schools are investing money on online education technology, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, interactive white boards and e-book readers and implementing those devices in the elementary years.

E-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, a digital device the size of a book can store thousands combined with tools to develop literacy skills..

“Technology has a built-in individualized pacing mechanism,” Neville High School teacher Ronnie Donn said. “Students receive an individualized learning experience based on the way they do a web search or connect one text to another.”

The new technology, Donn said, is allowing teachers to break away from the traditional “unit-based” learning to theme-based instruction that takes advantage of digital curriculum.

Schools are even streamlining the traditional classroom experience of teacher-student interaction by implementing response systems commonly known as clickers. These response systems are attached to an interactive white board in front of the classrooms, allowing teachers to ask the entire class to answer a question and gauge their responses. Students can register their responses using a clicker similar to a TV remote control, and the system graphs the responses on the board so teachers “can see privately what each individual student chose.”

In addition, technology also allows parents to be more involved in the learning process. Most schools are using online programs through which teachers are able to publish instructional material, homework, extra practice assignments and information for students and parents. Online programs like Edline and the Parent Command Center allow parents to receive information about grades and attendance of their children.

Technology is also helping older students recover lost credits to graduate, which helps boost completion rates and reduce costs on remedial education.

Districts are using technology to help older students recover lost credits to graduate on time and virtual classes to reduce the dropout rate. Credit recovery programs allow students to complete courses over a compressed time period at their own pace using computers. Once completed, students are administered end-of-course exams in the required subjects. Tests are monitored and are given either in a central location or in the student’s zoned school.