Everyone wants technology in the classroom.
But as teachers, we’re sometimes left wondering – what’s in it for us and our students?
Fortunately, classroom technology has clear benefits for teachers and students. We’ve compiled 10 of the top benefits here, so you can make your life easier, and your students’ learning more powerful.
Benefits of technology in the classroom – for students
It develops technological soft skills
For supposed ‘digital natives’, there are a whole lot of things our students don’t know about technology.
Yes, they’ve got Instagram dialed, but they corrupt every file they touch and still haven’t mastered the art of keeping a laptop charged.
That’s why the biggest benefit of integrating technology for our students is the opportunity to develop soft skills like:
- navigating new and unfamiliar technologies independently
- communicating effectively with others via technology
- using technology for independent learning
- managing digital resources
- collaborating in digital spaces.
After all, our students are entering a world where these skills are an essential part of adult life. They might not thank us for it now, but when they get around to internet banking and online job applications – the lesson will pay itself back tenfold.
Technology empowers students for the work of the future
Our current students will go into careers that haven’t been invented yet, while recent graduates will enter roles that have changed radically in the last five years.
The only thing that’s certain is the future of work will involve greater and more complex use of technology. And this isn’t confined to STEM — non-tech professions are also beginning to embrace technological change in order to transcend physical boundaries, enhance collaboration, and drive creativity.
Soon, technological fluency will be less of an ‘add-on’ than an expectation for the working world of the future. This means that we give our students’ professional futures a huge boost by investing in their technological capabilities.
Technology gives everyone a voice
For some students, putting a hand up in class will never be less than terrifying. Others sit out every class discussion because they just can’t find the words in time to keep up.
But moving discussions online enables students to express themselves in other ways. They can write, post images, or give links – and never feel like they’re being left behind.
Even your quietest students can develop the courage to make themselves heard online.
Technology makes communication easier for you too. You can reach students and parents whenever you need, and get messages across clearly without losing anything in translation.
Technology makes it easier for students to work together
Previously, student collaboration demanded that students stay in the same room and huddle around a piece of paper until the final bell.
Technology lets students share and work together so much more effectively via:
- Cloud documents all students can contribute to at the same time
- Online discussion boards
- Instant messaging
- Breakout rooms on an LMS or video tool (e.g. Zoom).
The result? Group work doesn’t stop with the bell, and every student automatically gets evidence of the activity (without you having to photocopy).
Technology makes resources and information more accessible
We never run out of information to give our students, but it’s even better when they’re empowered to find it themselves.
Using technology makes this kind of independent learning possible. Teach your students:
- strategies for an effective Google search (hint: typing in the question directly won’t always work!)
- how to find facts on Wikipedia
- where to find video tutorials on YouTube
- how to assess the reliability of online information (especially if your students are older).
Another hidden benefit of this independent learning is that students can find the information delivery mode that resonates most with them. Some will gravitate toward video, some to websites, others to podcasts, or even forums.
Benefits of technology in the classroom – for teachers
Technology enables us to differentiate more effectively
Differentiation is central to teaching best practice, but catering to different learners in the traditional sense means extra resources, extra instructions, and extra work.
But technology can differentiate for every student even when you’re busy with the whole class. For example, our Mathseeds and Reading Eggs programs use a placement test to determine students’ individual ability levels before setting them on an individually tailored lesson track.
Technology can also allow you to seamlessly assign different activities within the same class, or to support students with special needs who struggle with pen and paper tasks.
Technology saves us time
The increasing demand on educators to deliver quality learning means we have to be as efficient and effective as possible in our teaching. Technology can automate the time-consuming aspects of our practice that get in the way of planning and delivering learning experiences that inspire.
This might include:
- assigning homework
- creating resources.
More importantly, it frees up time that we can invest where it really matters. It might be creating extension or support activities, going the extra mile with a lesson plan, looking at professional development opportunities, or just taking the time to breathe.
Technology can give better insights into student progress
Despite our best intentions, we generally find ourselves looking at summative assessment data to get a sense of student progress.
But what about all the homework, formative assessments, class activities, and efforts in between?
Technology can allow us to track progress across all those areas too, giving us a more holistic view of how students are going. Our Mathletics and Readiwriter Spelling programs, for example, track student activity in real-time – so you can see precisely how many activities they’ve attempted, where they’re getting stuck, and how they’ve improved over any formative assessments you’ve set.
Technology can add to your own skillset
Technology is already a vital part of the working world, and teaching is no different.
That’s why experimenting with classroom technology helps us keep up to date in a profession that never stops changing.
Think about the technological skills you’d like to invest in for your own professional learning. Here are a few ideas:
- Microsoft Excel for data analysis
- Google Classroom tips and tricks
- Using graphic design tools like Prezi or Canva for visually appealing resources
- Using gamified programs (e.g. Kahoot)
- Getting the most out of curriculum-aligned software (e.g. Mathletics)
- Trialing task management/workflow programs (e.g. Monday, Asana) to use with your team.
These are technological skills you can take on the next phase of your professional journey. So think about yourself (for a change) and get learning!
Technology engages our students
Technology engages students for so many different reasons. It connects learning with the digital age they’ve been born into, presents information in exciting and dynamic ways, and offers them a chance to engage with a world beyond the classroom walls.
In short, it brings learning to life. And that drives an engagement you’ll only see in classrooms that move with the times.