Proliferation of technology in classrooms has been transforming learning over a decade now. Whether it is using presentation through projections or simulations, or interactive interface using smart boards in class, or just using tech tools to make learning interesting, teachers have adopted new innovation and technology to best suit the needs of their learners.
Educators today have an increased challenging task to break the traditional passive mould of teaching learning and rethink the way teaching learning takes place in a class more than ever before. This includes not only restructuring the way they teach but also bridging the gap between the digital leaners and the learning environment – not only in terms of physical environment but also in the way student-teacher relationship has existed. They have in their class learners who are restless, they speak a different language – digital language and they are fundamentally different from the learners of yesteryears.
Students of today want to learn in an interactive environment, they like to take control over what they are learning, how they are learning and when they are learning. For 21st century learners, the required skill set not only requires knowledge acquisition but developing skills of thinking critically, working collaboratively, constructing knowledge, self-regulation and effective communication. Thus the bar is rising for teachers to think of new ways to engage students in learning. Thankfully they have great innovative tools and new technology to support them in creating enriching engaging environments for learning to happen.
Personalised learning environment
Teachers today are using innovation and technology to provide a more focused and personalized learning platform to bring learning closer to the learner. Teachers are able to tailor instruction, content, methodology and assessment to personalise learning. This breaks the factory-style mass production of average performing students to a personalised level of in-depth understanding. Learning moves from ‘one-size-fits-all’ instruction approach to differentiated instructional approaches in one-on-one or small groups using technology.
Modern innovative and technology tools allow teachers to design for their students an array of personalised tasks to choose from, in accordance with their abilities and capabilities, to construct and convey understanding. This is done by engaging students through interactive platforms where teachers provide each student with their own digital space to work on which is accessible to their teachers who can track their student’s learning journey and guide them in real-time.
Digital tools are significantly enhancing the learning experience by helping teachers use class time for interactions and Socratic-style instruction that matter most, rather than only finding tools to capture students’ attention which allows space for deeper learning rather than surface experiences only. Accessibility to learning analytics data assists teachers in identification of individual student’s needs and provides them additional support learning to make microteaching possible.
Research and information fluency
Teachers are using technology to take their students’ learning beyond books and are using content in textbooks as the starting point of exploring concepts. Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively to support their own learning and contribute to the learning of others. This enables them to demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. In this process they develop research and information fluency by looking for information using search engines built within the technology tools and sifting relevant information to construct knowledge of their own which is then verified by the teacher through authentic information. Thus teachers are enabling students to be independent informed active learners rather than being passive consumers of information disseminated to them through boring lecture-style teaching.
Cultivating self-directed learners
Easy access and availability of varied learning platforms and learning management systems have enabled learning to take place anytime anywhere and, at the same time, being managed and monitored by teachers. Teachers are able to create and manage content library providing coursework, web-content, reference material and authentic resources, to their students giving them flexible learning opportunities. This enables students to have access to learning material which they can use to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and verify and communicate understanding effectively.
The accessibility through a learning management system allows both students and teachers to track and evaluate progress and enables teachers to identify and cater to learning needs of students. Teachers can build further on student’s learning and scaffold new findings through real-time dialogue, instructional feedback and annotations to facilitate collective construction of knowledge. This gives an opportunity to teachers to harness self-directed learning abilities in their students by keeping them in-charge of their own learning in a monitored manner.
Technology and innovation alone cannot transform learning but mindful strategizing by educationists, to integrate these tools with principles of learning, can enhance knowledge acquisition experiences and accelerate performance. Teachers across the globe are using technology to design strategies to enhance learning and accelerate achievement by cultivating in their students the ability to be curious, adaptive, innovative and informed life-long learners.
About The Author:
As Founding Director of De Pedagogics, education evangelist Meenakshi Uberoi is passionately involved in coaching, teaching and learning for over 13 years. She designs curriculum and works closely with schools to help them determine the best teaching strategies, transforming education using technology, implementing valuable learning experiences, and evaluating student performance to make any necessary changes in enhancing curricula. She leads professional learning sessions for educationists for creating innovative, challenging and enriching classroom environments that are conducive to students becoming life-long learners.
This article was originally published in the Anniversary (August 2017) issue of ScooNews magazine. Subscribe to ScooNews Magazine today to have more such stories delivered to your desk every month.