Today is the second annual Digital Learning Day, designated to bring attention to the benefits of technology for learning. As part of the effort, PBS LearningMedia has released a survey showing that 74 percent of teachers say educational technology benefits their classroom in many ways, including the ability to reinforce and expand content, motivate students, and respond to a variety of learning styles. Given these numbers, and despite increasing access, it’s not surprising that 68 percent of teachers still want more access to technology in the classroom. That number goes up to 75 percent of teachers in low-income schools.
To understand more about the influence of technology and learning, the following articles help shed light on subjects of discussion among educators and parents.
- 7 GOLDEN RULES OF USING TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOLS. 1) DON’T TRAP TECHNOLOGY IN A ROOM. “When I went to school, computers were put in a room called The Lab,” Bellow said. “‘What are they experimenting with in there, I thought.’ Technology wasn’t built into what we were doing. It was farmed off in a room, like it was special. Like we were learning how to code, and in case the Russians came, we’d know what to do.” Technology should be like oxygen, Bellow said, quoting Chris Lehmann, the founding principal of Science Leadership Academy: Ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible.
- CASE STUDIES: HOW TEACHERS USE TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT LEARNING. Larry Ferlazzo collected an invaluable list of criteria last year from educators, to which he added more resources in his recent blog post for EdWeek.Other posts in the series include Using Ed Tech to Create Deep and Meaningful Experiences and Effective Ways of Using Tech in the Classroom. Here is MindShift’s contribution to the collection of ideas.
- TO MAKE BLENDED LEARNING WORK, TEACHERS TRY DIFFERENT TACTICS. For many schools, finding a way to integrate the use of tech in a traditional setting — teacher-centered classrooms — is proving to be a challenge. What educational software should be used? What criteria should the software be judged against? And what happens to the role of the teacher and classroom activities when students are using software for practice exercises?
- WHAT'S WORTH INVESTING IN? HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TECHNOLOGY YOU NEED. How will technology allow students and teachers to network their learning, to collaborate with each other, to extend the reach of what kids can learn beyond the walls of the school? How can technology be used to unlock what hasn’t even been thought of yet? These questions are more difficult to answer, and less tangible to measure, than improving test scores, which is what typically draws the attention of educators.