Teachers worldwide are constantly in search ofnew ways to improve their student’s learning. It is very hard to grab theattention of these young minds, and keep them genuinely interested in what theyare learning about. Well what if I said that teachers wouldn’t have to searchvery far for these new ways to help enhance their students learning? Well thesolution is the integration of technology in classrooms. Technologicaladvancements are tools used to get students genuinely interested about learningin class, make teaching easier, and improves test scores. This subject hasalways been a popular topic of discussion, technology is constantly changing,and over the years it has been making its way in to more and more classrooms. Theadoption of technology in today’s classrooms is changing the way teachers teachtheir lessons, and the way students are learning. “Technology is such asignificant part of student’s lives in today’s world that if teachers usetechnology in the classroom, students automatically become more in tune withwhat they are learning.” (Mortatelli) Just by simply incorporating a technologicaltool into everyday class-time, teachers can now more easily grab their student’sattention and get them excited about learning.
Technologyhas repeatedly proven to have significant effects on both teachers and studentsin classrooms. In a recent study conducted by Katelyn Moratelli, a graduateintern who was in seek of a teaching certification, observed a fifth-grade poverty-strickenclassroom. Mortatelli observed that the students in this classroom were veryuninterested in the lessons, and performed very poorly in their weeklyworkbooks and tests. “Katelyn soon discovered the power that classroom responsesystem technology could have in her urban elementary literacy classroom.
” (DeJarnette)In hopes to encourage students to be more engaged and improve in their weeklyliteracy assessments, she introduced a classroom response system, otherwiseknown as clickers. Clickers are a small, wireless tool, that the students canuse to respond to electronic assessments given by the teacher. “Questions areposed to the group through presentation software, such as PowerPoint, andclickers are used to send a signal to the receiver, which then display’s thegroup’s answers.” (Moratelli) Before the implementation of clickers, studentswere often off-task, holding other conversations with peers, and overall nevershowed any interest in the lessons. (Moratelli) This tool, genuinely sparked thestudent’s interest, and immediately had the class more involved in theirlessons.
Moratelli observed that the students were now engaged, askingquestions, maintained eye contact with the teacher and the screen, and alsokept the side conversations to a minimum during the lessons. (Moratelli)Katelyn also handed out exit slips to receive feedback from the class. Theseslips asked about what the students thoughts were about the lesson, if they hadany additional questions, etc. All of the students wrote about how excited theywere about using the new technological tool clickers and how much fun they werehaving in class.
The clicker not only was favored by the students, but also bythe teacher as well. Thistool can be beneficial for many teachers, as proved by Moratelli in her case study. Clickers are connected to the teacher’sclassroom device through a USB, so that they can monitor the students work. “Clickerresponse systems allow data to be gathered and displayed easily, quickly, andaccurately providing both students and teacher with valuable feedback.”(Moratelli) This allows teachers to be informed on which students need additionalhelp, and which students are ready to move on. This makes the assessment processof students work a lot easier. Instead of walking around the room constantly checkingstudents work or handouts, teachers can immediately know which studentsunderstand the material and which ones do not. The Clicker device can be apowerful tool, that sparks the interests of students and teachers, andincreases student’s weekly literacy test scores.
Low literacy scores have been a common issuein urban schools, especially in Katelyn’s fifth grade classroom. In order to seeif the students were improving on their test scores, Mortatelli compared thescores before the implementation of clickers, and 4 weeks after they were introducedinto the classroom. This test was a standardized test, multiple choice,that was taken directly from the district.
“This experience revealed that 59%, or 13 of the 22total students involved, improved their test score averages.” (Moratelli) Theimpact of implementing one technological tool into the classroom, had asignificant impact on this poverty-stricken classroom and it was only over a 4-weekperiod. The students were more engaged in the lessons, improved their tests scores,and the teachers were easily able to keep track of student’s progress.
Moratellihasn’t been the only study that has reported a dramatic increase in test scoresonce technological tools were implemented in the classrooms. In this particular case-study, HectorPonce, “explores the effectiveness of a computer-based spatial learningstrategy approach for improving reading comprehension and writing.” (Ponce)This study is another perfect example of how the integration of technology in aclassroom, has proven to be more beneficial for students then the traditionalinstruction.
Ponce evaluated the effectiveness of this special-learning techniquebased on a randomized sampling process; which selected twelve schools fromSantiago, Chile to participate in the study. Six schools used a computer-basedinstruction (CBI), and the other six schools used the traditional instruction(TI). The students from the computer-based instruction used the software duringtheir language arts instruction, and the students who were part of thetraditional instruction group, received the traditional instruction without thesoftware. Students from both groups were given the same standardized pretestcalled RW, at the beginning and end of the semester. The students who were inthe computer based instruction class outperformed the students in the traditional-instructionclassroom on the RW test. This study by Ponce, is another example of how theimplementation of technology in a classroom helped improved academic scores forstudents. Although incorporating technology into classrooms has many benefits,there are also some concerns.
Thisnew advancement in education, although is beneficial for some schools, might notbe so favorable for others. The implementation of technology is creating a gapbetween schools because not every school has the same access to the same technologicalresources. “In the last decade, “digital divide” hasbecome a catchphrase for the disparity in IT resources between communities,especially in regard to education.” (McCollum) This divide creates a lot ofissues for schools, because the students that do not have the same access to technologicalresources as students at other schools, are put at a disadvantage, but there isstill hope. The government is investing money to try and bridge the achievementgap that remains between these low-income schools, and the schools that alreadyhave the technological resources that they need. “The National Center forEducation Statistics reported: 97% of public school teachers had one or more computersin their classroom; 93% of classroom computers had Internet access; and theratio of students to computers in the classroom was roughly 5 to 1.” (McCollum)Even though there are schools that don’t have the same resources as otherschools, they still have some form of technology that can be used. If resourcesare limited, classrooms can take turns using the technology.
If each class hasa specific day to use the resources, then everyone gets a chance to work withthe tools. Schools can also host fundraisers to help raise money to buy newtechnology, so that students can have more resources available for them to use.Once schools have these resources available to them, there needs to be properguidance on how to use these tools in the classroom’s. Notonly is there a lack of technological resources for students but there is alsoa lack of teachers that properly know how to use these new technologies.
It iscommon for many schools to have teachers that are uneducated on how to usethese new resources. These teachers need to be open-minded about learning newteaching practices, that can enhance their student’s learning. “Educators whocan work around obstacles and recognize the promise of new technologies aremaking a difference.” (McCollum). Therefore, schools should provide proper supportfor teaching their staff on how to use these technological tools. For instance,a course should be provided that teaches all of the basics that teachers needto know about the upcoming technology, and how they can implement these toolsinto their classrooms. If teachers are provided with proper training on how touse these new technologies, then these educators will be able to incorporate thesetools into their lessons. This would be beneficial for everyone; students,teachers, and schools.
“Forkids to be given a fair shake in a modern economy, they must be computer literate,kids who aren’t will be at a terrible disadvantage.. and for many of themschool is the only place they’ll have a chance to learn it.” (McCollum) Manystudents that are not familiar with using technology, will be set-back from therest of children their age. It is up to teachers and the schools, to providethe information on these new tools, to guarantee the success of their students. The integration oftechnology in classrooms is inevitable. These tools successfully enhance studentlearning, and need to be introduced into all classrooms.
Technologicaladvancements are tools that get students genuinely interested about learning inclass, make teaching easier, and improves test scores. It has been displayedthrough different case-studies, that by integrating technology into classroom’s,student’s participation has increased as well as their overall performance. It isup to the teachers and schools to ensure that their students have access tothese technological resources, and implement them properly into theirclassrooms.