Technology is changing the way we teach, how students learn, and how teachers and students interact. No longer does a class have to be rows of desks in which a teacher lectures from the front of a room, nor should it be. Teachers can now help students make connections with their current topic to topic in which they are considered experts. For example, teachers can make or find videos that show how a skate ramp or arc of a basketball from the shooter’s hands to the hoop are just a parabolas who curve can be determined through quadratic equations. Learners can now see visual representations of abstract concepts to help them make sense of what they are learning. Social media websites such as Twitter or Facebook allow for teacher-student interactions outside of the classroom, anytime, and on any day.
Technology can have an amazing impact on learning. Educators, however should take care in the way they use technology and the amount. Just because technology is used does not mean that it is conducive to learning. For example, the internet allows students to collaborate with others to create some product, a report, a video, a solution to a problem, etc. But constantly collaborating with others virtually could have serious repercussions on a students’ social emotional learning because they do not get practice in waiting for their turn to speak, making eye contact, active listening skills, and other non-verbal communication techniques.
Teaching and learning has one non-negotiable component, creating a mental change. Teaching and learning must always have at least two people. There must always be someone at one end providing direction while someone at the other end is receiving it. This does not mean that the teacher has to be some adult who went to college and is trained in the art of teaching or even a physical someone. The teacher can be a student while the learner is the teacher, or the teacher can be a computer program set up to provide demonstrations. The key is that someone, the learner, is experiencing some kind of cognitive change. Technology now allows for anybody to be a teacher or a learner.
Below are a some articles that discuss different uses for technology in a classroom setting.