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Balancing technology and tradition in the classroom

Students using laptops in a classroom Photo courtesy of Prince Lang

Digital technology is becoming a ubiquitous part of the classroom. From kindergarten to university, teachers have access to myriad devices, applications, and learning management systems designed to enrich their students’ learning. However, it is important to recognize that educational technology is not a cure-all, but rather one of many pedagogical tools teachers use to support students.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when integrating education technology into the classroom.

  1. Having technology doesn’t mean you have to use it
    Every tool has a specific task and education technology is no different. A wrench is not useful for hammering in nails, and educational technology is not appropriate for every task. In some cases unnecessary use of technology may be detrimental to student learning. Use technology only when it improves the learning experience.

  2. Don’t get lost in the data
    One of the key features of education technology is data collection. Often, there is so much data available that teachers get overwhelmed and lost in the information. Identify only the data specific to your needs and apply those insights to the classroom.

  3. Encourage collaborative learning
    Digital technology provides unprecedented opportunities for team-based and collaborative learning. An online course forum, such as a discussion board or wiki, allows students to ask questions outside of school hours and learn from their peers. Educational technology fosters digital citizenship and promotes collaborative skills students will use for the rest of their academic and professional lives.

Education technology provides opportunities to enhance classroom traditional learning, but is not a pedagogical panacea. The foundation of successful education is the teacher; technology is just one of the tools they have available to reach students.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and marketing strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also a part-time faculty member at Centennial College and serves on the board of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

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