Enhancing education through technology

Jesse Baxter

Technology shapes everything, from massive corporations to daily life and this influence is especially true in schools. New technology being constantly integrated has changed classrooms greatly over the past few decades.

Recent advances in technology have bolstered learning by increasing connectivity between teachers and students. It’s incredibly helpful when a teacher sends an email or posts changes to the schedule on their websites or an online calendar, for example a test being postponed or that there was a mistake on the homework. This is a great system as it allows students to ask any questions that they have or for teachers to clarify an assignment.

Technology is a general term. There have been many inventions and improvements such as SMART boards, clickers, new software, faster computers, email, the cloud, and many more. SMART boards have replaced chalkboards, allowing the use of various software which enriches learning. Teachers can write on SMART boards just like whiteboards, but there is no need to buy more markers. They include many educational interactive apps that the entire class can participate in. A neat feature is that SMART boards can record someone writing in a video, enabling teachers to record lectures for when they are absent or unavailable. SMART boards are a great advance in helping students learn.

New technology also helps teachers by increasing coordination between multiple teachers or even multiple schools. Even something as simple as a grading machine can make a teacher’s life a lot easier. The less time teachers spend manually grading or physically meeting with other teachers, the more time they have to make lesson plans or think of fun ways to teach a subject.

The technology that has had the greatest impact is Google Drive. The ability to have multiple people work on a presentation or document at once and to be able to access it anywhere there is an internet connection is remarkable, and it has been very useful since BISD implemented it in 2011. Another gadget that recently has appeared in classrooms is clickers for tests and quizzes which enable quick multiple choice questions with instant results. It lets students see how many of each choice their peers selected, but not who put it so it protects students’ identities. This is a great invention and should be used more often.

While all these new technologies and improvements can help learning, it is ultimately up to the teachers. If a teacher is incompetent, more technology won’t help. On a similar note, a good teacher might not know how to use new technology. I have had a few teachers who didn’t know how to use technology such as SMART boards or email very well who were still good teachers, but I think that the classes would have been better if they had used SMART boards, computers, or the internet to their full extent. It’s not enough to just give teachers and students new technology. Training is needed to use these inventions to their full advantage.

Technology has vastly changed classrooms. It allows better communication between teachers and students and generally helps everyone. However, if a teacher doesn’t have the will to teach or proper training, then providing more technology doesn’t help. Technology can help, but it is ultimately up to teachers to help students succeed.