“Student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning. It is a product rather than a sum because it will not occur if either element is missing.”
Elizabeth F. Barkley
Technology has become increasingly prevalent in classrooms in recent years, with many schools now offering laptops, tablets, and other digital tools to students. While some may be hesitant to embrace technology in education, there are many benefits to using it in the classroom. It can help motivate students that learn in different ways while supporting active learning. Here are just a few benefits.
Improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Using technology in the classroom can help students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as they are often required to analyse, interpret, and apply information in order to complete tasks.
If you’re looking to employ an active learning environment, technology is a great aide. To facilitate this type of approach many teachers use a Think-Pair-Share (TPS) teaching structure. This is a cooperative learning activity that can work in varied size classrooms and in any subject.
- Think – students think independently about the question that has been posed and are given enough time to form an idea or answer.
- Pair – students are grouped in pairs to discuss their thoughts. This step allows students to articulate their ideas and consider other perspectives.
- Share – Student pairs will share their ideas with a larger group. Students are more comfortable presenting ideas to a group with the support of a partner.
The benefits of the 3 step process are two-fold: first, students are generally more comfortable presenting ideas to a group with the support of a partner. Second, students’ ideas have become more refined through this three-step process. You can download this handy Think-Pair-Share (TPS) teaching resource to help implement it in your class.1
With this approach, students use technology as a tool for higher order thinking rather than just using it to complete a task. For example, when students are working in a TPS framework, they may be required to use technology to research and analyse information, and then use that information to solve a problem or answer a question. This process of analysing, interpreting, and applying information can help to develop critical thinking skills in the first step of the TPS approach.
There are many different types of technology that can be used to help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, using simulations or games can be a great way to help students learn how to think through problems and find solutions. Similarly, using programming languages or coding platforms can help students to learn how to break down problems into smaller pieces and develop logical solutions.
Using technology to improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills can be a great way to help students learn more effectively and prepare for the challenges of the future. We have a list below of other potential solutions technology that can be used to help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills:
- Learning management systems (LMS)
- Interactive whiteboards
- Educational games and simulations
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Online collaboration tools
- Adaptive learning software
- Educational programming languages and platforms
- Mind mapping and concept mapping tools
- Online discussion forums
- Gamified assessments and quizzes
Maximizing Learning Potential: The Impact of Technology in the Classroom
Improved communication and collaboration
While technology can be a powerful tool for improving communication and collaboration, it is important to remember that foundational communication skills are just as essential. In fact, research has shown that training students in effective communication styles and positive aspects of collaboration can have a positive impact on communication, collaboration, and task or job satisfaction. A 2010 study, for instance, found that when nurses were trained in effective communication styles, the quality of care provided to patients improved greatly.2 When students are given this foundation, technology in and out of the classroom can then help improve communication and collaboration further.
With tools like email, messaging apps, and video conferencing software, students can easily communicate with their classmates and teachers, even when they are not physically in the same location. This can be especially helpful for group projects, as it allows students to work together more efficiently. Additionally, the use of technology in communication and collaboration can also increase the accessibility of education for students with disabilities or those in remote locations. Online communication tools and platforms can facilitate participation for students who may otherwise have difficulty participating in traditional classroom settings.
Technology has greatly impacted the way we communicate and collaborate, and it can be used in the classroom to help students develop important skills that will be valuable in their future academic and professional lives. For example, using online collaboration tools like Google Docs or Trello can help students learn how to work effectively in a team and to manage projects. Online discussion forums can also be used to encourage students to engage in critical thinking and to share their ideas with others.
The use of technology in collaboration can also foster a sense of community and engagement among students, as they can work together on projects, assignments and discussions in an asynchronous environment that accommodates different time zones and schedules.
Increased access to information
Technology can provide students with access to a vast array of information, including online articles, videos, and other resources that can help to supplement their learning. This can be especially helpful for students who may not have access to a wide range of physical resources.
Increased access to information is another key benefit of using technology in the classroom. With the internet at their fingertips, students today have access to a vast array of information and resources that can help to supplement their learning.
For example, if a student is working on a research project, they can use the internet to find articles, videos, and other resources that can help them to better understand the topic. This can be especially helpful for students who may not have access to a wide range of physical resources, such as books or encyclopaedias.
Using technology to access information can also help students to develop important digital literacy skills, such as how to search for information online, how to evaluate the credibility of sources, and how to use information ethically. These skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s world, and will be valuable for students in their future academic and professional lives. Or just determining whether something they read online is verifiable or trustworthy! This is a benefit that relies on educating students on the pitfalls of technology and ensuring they are equipped with the right tools to independently assess information.
Overall, increased access to information is one of the major benefits of using technology in the classroom, as it can help students to learn more effectively and efficiently, and can help to prepare them for the digital world of the future.
Engagement is generally taken to be defined as students’ willingness to participate in learning activities with positive emotion. Enhancing engagement is a key benefit of using technology in the classroom. When used effectively, technology can be a great way to engage students in learning, especially those who might be more visual or kinesthetic learners.
There are many different types of technology that can be used to enhance engagement in the classroom. For example, interactive whiteboards allow teachers to present information in a dynamic and interactive way, using features like highlighting, drawing, and annotating. It also allows students to interact while problem solving at the board. This can help to keep students more focused and engaged during lessons.
Educational videos and virtual reality experiences can also be used to make lessons more engaging. For example, a science lesson on the solar system could be enhanced by using a virtual reality experience to take students on a virtual tour of the planets. In turn, this could be used to encourage the students to research another system in our galaxy and present it to the class. Similarly, an English lesson could be enhanced by using videos to bring literature to life and help students to better understand the characters and plot.
Using technology to enhance engagement in the classroom can be a great way to keep students interested and motivated to learn. It can also help to make lessons more interactive and memorable, which can be especially helpful for students who may struggle with more traditional forms of learning. To get the most out of technology and keep your students engaged you need to empower your students to use the technology effectively. This will allow them to use it to learn themselves and think independently.
Enhanced organisation and time management
Enhanced organisation and time management is another benefit of using technology in the classroom. With digital tools like calendars, to-do lists, and task management apps, students can easily keep track of their assignments, projects, and other responsibilities. This can be especially helpful for students who struggle with traditional forms of organisation, such as paper-based planners.
Using technology to stay organised can also help students to manage their time more effectively. For example, a student who is working on a research project may be able to use a calendar to schedule specific blocks of time for researching, writing, and revising. This can help them to break their work down into smaller, more manageable chunks, which can make it feel less overwhelming.
In addition to helping students to stay organised and manage their time, using technology for organisation can also help them to develop important digital skills, such as how to use calendars and task management apps, how to set goals and priorities, and how to use technology to plan and schedule their work. These skills will be valuable in their future academic and professional lives.
Enhanced organisation and time management is one of the benefits of using technology in the classroom, as it can help students to be more productive and efficient, and can help them to feel more in control of their work.
Technology in the classroom provides many benefits for student engagement and learning, including improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enhanced communication and collaboration, and increased access to information. The use of technology as a tool for higher order thinking, such as the Think-Pair-Share (TPS) teaching structure, can help students develop critical thinking skills and learn to solve problems more effectively. Communication and collaboration can be improved through the use of technology, as students can communicate and work together even when they are not in the same location.
Finally, technology provides students with access to a vast array of information and resources that can help supplement their learning. These benefits demonstrate why it is important to embrace technology in education and to use it to support active and engaged learning.
1 Lightner, J., Tomaswick, L. (2017). Active Learning – Think, Pair, Share. Kent State University Center for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved [11.01.2023] from https://www.kent.edu/ctl/educational-resources
2 A Program to Improve Communication and Collaboration Between Nurses and Medical Residents
Ruth G. McCaffrey, ND, ARNP, FNP-BC, GNP-BC, Rosemarie Hayes, RN, MSN, Wendy Stuart, RN, MSN, Asenath Cassell, MN, Cheryl Farrell, BSN, Charmin Miller-Reyes, BSN, and Audeanne Donaldson, MSNPublished Online:April 01, 2010 – https://doi.org/10.3928/00220124-20100326-04