Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Can Technology Improve Education?

To show the effect of technology on education, Don Kenzek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education uses an analogy of technology in the medical field.

"If in 1970 you had knee surgery, you got a huge scar," he said. "Now, if you have knee surgery you have two little dots."

Advances in technology have allowed teachers to move beyond traditional methods of education, which primarily rely on the use of text-books and verbal instruction. At one time, a student's only exposure to technology was found in a basic computer class. Now, technology has enabled the creation of various teaching and learning tools that can "demonstrate concepts, assign projects, and assess progress."

The drawback with incorporating technology into education, though, is hesitation by U.S. schools to utilize new educational tools and methods. Other nations around the world are looking for ways to integrate technology and education, while we are still questioning whether this merge should take place at all.

Kenzek points out the following 8 ways in which technology has proved effective in instruction and student progress.

1. Improved simulation and models can assist teachers in demonstrating difficult concepts and specifically help students that are visual learners.

2. Global learning exposes students to other cultures and puts them in touch with other people around the world.

3. Virtual manipulatives allow students to experiment with unfamiliar concepts and ideas.

4. Probes and sensors allow students to collect data, compute statistics, and analyze results quickly and efficiently.

5. A more efficient assessment of student progress can be made and monitored with new forms of technology.

6. Storytelling and multimedia encourage teamwork and excites students.

7. E-Books create a level of ease, convenience and visualization that isn't available with standard print textbooks.

8. Epistemic games put students in real-world situations and train them to use innovative thinking.

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