Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Importance of Technology in the Classroom

The use of technology in our world is becoming more and more prominent. People interact with technology in countless ways during the typical day. It is becoming extremely difficult to function in society without at least a novice understanding of technological tools. One area where technology is becoming extremely significant is in the classroom. During my experience in my Instructional Technology class, I learned just how valuable technology can be to a K-12 teacher. There are many benefits to incorporating technology into classroom lessons. There are also some challenges that it presents.

The use of technology in the classroom is so significant because it serves as a means for reaching a generation that is completely immersed in it. Technology is such a large part of children's lives today that it is necessary to use components of it to keep students engaged and involved in a lesson. The simple use of lectures and books is not enough to keep the typical student interested in this day in age. Also, technological tools allow teachers to have a much larger and more diverse arsenal of teaching tools, so that they may keep their lessons fresh and cater to all different types of learners.

The use of technology in the classroom provides a host of benefits to both the teacher and the students. The amount of lesson options that tools such as computer programs, the Internet, SmartBoards, and video cameras open up is incredible. As I previously stated, all of these tools allow for the teacher to create a wide variety of lessons in which students can learn in a wide variety of ways. Technology can also blur the line between classroom work and out-of-the-classroom work. Through use of Internet tools such as wikis and other Web 2.0 features, students can pick up work at home right where they left off in the classroom. The Internet is also a great method for interaction between the students and the teacher as well as between students when outside of the classroom. Technological training will also help prepare students for work outside of the classroom, as competency in software such as Microsoft office is essential in many career fields.

The use of technology in the classroom also poses some challenges to students and teachers. Technological tools are always prone to glitches and breakdowns that could completely ruin a lesson if they occur at the wrong time. Students will also inevitably have different levels of competency in using the tools that they are asked to in the classroom. This provides the teacher with a dilemma of how much time to use teaching the students how to use the technology. Furthermore, access to technology outside of the classroom varies between students. This can inhibit the amount of technology-based work that students are able to do for homework. The amount of tools that schools are able to provide teachers with also varies, which can effect plans that a teacher may have to integrate technology into the classroom. These challenges must be accounted for by the teacher when for technology use.

I will take several important lessons away from my experience in the Instructional Technology class. First, I learned the value and countless functions that technology can provide in the classroom. Second, I learned that technology is most effective when geared toward student-centered lessons. Third, I learned that preparation is extremely significant when incorporating technology into lesson plans, so it insure that everything will run smoothly during a lesson. Overall, this class was a very valuable experience for an aspiring teacher.

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