Engaging, Effective, and Efficient
Imagine a classroom where the students guide and develop their own learning. They are an “active learner,” developing questions, making hypothesis, and discovering answers. Students are creating new meaning and participating in authentic tasks. Learning encompasses more than just the content area, but the skills and capabilities necessary for students’ futures. Learning theorist John Dewey would have celebrated this classroom and how it fits into the constructivist theory that he researched and developed. While this learning theory has been around since Dewey’s lifetime in the early 1900s, it can now be promoted more regularly with the increase is technology tools and resources in the classroom. Classrooms are now equipped with the ability to let students venture out on their own to discover and construct new meaning. Students can explore the vast cultures and beleifs available to them and formulate their own opinions based off of their findings. This builds even more on Dewy’s constructivist ideals, by reaching Lev Vygotsky’s concept of social constructivism. The ability for students to collaboarte with others, engage in purposeful discussion, and explore the world around them Additionally, teachers are now able to better guide the student’s learning process and utilize these tools effectively. Although the idea of educational technology is not new, it is a continuously evolving concept; one that changes and adapts over time to accomodate the new resources available.
Educational technologies are not limited to just the devices used, but also the process by which those tools are used. As a teacher it is important to consider how technology is being used in your classroom in order to ensure it is being used to truly promote Dewey’s constructivist theory and improve student learning and achievement. In addition, educational theories have evolved to consider the importance of “life-long learner” skills. There is now an “emphasis on learning and innovation skills and critical thinking and problem solving (35)” that will allow students better success in future careers (Roblyer, 2016). And the integration of educational technology is essential in reaching towards these goals.
To ensure success for both educators and students, educational technologies should be used to increase student engagement, allow for feedback and data collection to me more efficient, and to allow for continuous improvement and growth to ensure its effectiveness.
Engagement means that students are alert, active, and overall excited to be a part of the learning environment. Educational technology tools can be used to promote student engagement. Thought should be put into the tools being used: Does this tool improve the overall lesson? Will use of this tool benefit my students? How will my students react to this tool? There are plenty of educational technology tools available. When implementing educational technology into the learning encironment, it is important to choose a tool that will “excite” students and improve their intrinsic motivation. When an educational technology tool is utilized well, it should lead to increased engagement.
Efficiency is important in education. Depending on the grade level you teach, you may only see your students for 50 minutes a day. During that time you need to deliver feedback to about 30 students. With educational technology, educators can now deliver feedback to students digitally, allowing for quicker transitions between students and more timely feedback. Different technologies also allow for educators to gather data more quickly on their students. Educators might create a digital formative assessment for the middle of a class to see areas of strength and weakness for students. Additionally, educators might take compile test data and easily be able to group students based off of results.
The Effectiveness of educational technology tools and proccesses is important to the fields continuous growth. Educationa technology is an evolving field, in order for it to be implemented well educators should always be evaluating how it was used and be considering ways to make improvements. One of the great attirbutes of educaional technology is that there are often opportunities to make adjustments on the fly. If the student learning is not going “as planned” educators can make quick adjustments, or find valubale resources to share with students. The overall effectiveness of educaitonal technology is a huge attribute and allows for continuous improvement in learning environments.
The use of educational technology is instrumental in improving student learning envirnoments. Educators are better able to create learning environments that support theories promoted by John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky who urged learners to take an active role and explore on their own. The use of educational technology allows for increased student engagement, efficiency of feedback for students, and an opportunity for increased growth and effectiveness.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
Trif, Letititia. (2015). Training Models of Social Constructivism. Teaching based on a developing scaffold. Social and Bahvorial Sciences, 180(978-983)