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5 Ways Technology in the Classroom Can Enhance Student Learning

5 Ways Technology in the Classroom Can Enhance Student Learning

As technology continues to infiltrate every area of our lives, the benefits of using technology in the classroom can no longer be denied.

For example, iPads and tablets can replace bulky textbooks. Smartphones can allow for quick research and access to educational apps. Social media can provide an opportunity for increased parent-teacher communication and student activities.

Monitoring services can be used to track the usage of technology. Technology can also be an important way for teachers to collect student data that can have a positive impact on learning outcomes.

    The good news is that the research also backs this up. In a study completed by KIPP Academy in Houston, TX,the percentage of students who achieved an overall rating of either proficient or advanced was 49% percent higher in classrooms that are using iPads, compared to traditional classrooms with no iPads. In another study completed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in California, students using iPads saw their math test scores increase 20% in one year compared to students using traditional textbooks.

    As you can see, the impact that technology can have on student learning outcomes is quite significant. Technology has the unique opportunity to change the way that students learn and teachers teach. The professional development of teachers has started to evolve to include ways to incorporate emerging technology and tools into classroom activities. When technology is embraced in the classroom, students are better positioned to be successful in their lives outside of school.

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    Here are a few more reasons that technology in the classroom is revolutionizing education.

    1. Technology Enhances the Fun in Learning

      Studies show that students prefer using technology because it makes things more interesting and fun to learn. The most commonly used forms of technology in schools are laptops and tablets of all kinds, including iPads.

      Using this technology can make a student’s least favorite subjects become more interesting to them by incorporating games, virtual lessons, videos, and other interactive teaching methods into their daily lessons. With a standard textbook, it is much more difficult to turn an otherwise boring subject into something that will capture students’ attention.

      While implementing these tools into a school or classroom can be quite pricey, there are programs in place with schools and manufacturers (for example, Apple) that allow schools with any budget to be able to afford the technology. Another major factor to consider is replacement or repair costs if the tablets get lost or damaged. That’s why finding a safe and efficient way to store tablets and laptops is critical to keeping costs down and reducing downtime for both students and teachers.

      2. Technology Better Prepares Students for the Future

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        Every day we learn about new technology that will revolutionize the ways we interact with the world around us. It is important that we prepare students to successfully engage in this new technological world. These

        These 21st-century skills are essential for success. For example, most jobs now include interactions with some level of technology. The concept of education is not just about memorizing facts or expanding vocabularies, it is also about learning skills that will prepare students to interact with the world and be successful in the workforce.

        Classrooms that focus on technology ensure that students are prepared to have a bright future in the rapidly growing digital economy.

        3. Technology Increases Retention Rates

          Students retain information better when using technology as a learning tool.

          For example, in one study, 18 second grade students were asked to complete a PowerPoint presentation about an animal of their choice. In the study 16 out of the 18 students remembered more facts about the animal in their project after the presentation than students who completed the project without using PowerPoint.

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          This study demonstrates how technology helps students to better retain what they learn.

          4. Technology Allows for Self-Paced Learning

           

            Students learn at different rates. However, it can be challenging for teachers to individualize lesson plans. It is much easier with technology.

            Almost all apps and programs allow for individualized instruction. This means students can focus on their specific needs and do it at their own pace. This also helps teachers focus their time on students who are struggling or may require more attention.

            This improves the classroom environment for everyone.

            5. Students Connect with Technology

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              Technology has become a way of life for students. Even when they are not in school almost everything they do is connected to technology in some way.

              This has predisposed students to be able to connect with technology in the classroom. It is much easier to connect with individualized lesson plans through technology than reading a textbook or listening to a long lecture.

              Students are also able to connect with the tools they need to be successful in the 21st century.

              Conclusion

               

                Technology changes extremely quickly. It is important that educators keep up with these changes to ensure students are prepared for our ever-changing world. Integrating technology into the classroom can enhance student learning.

                However, it is also important to remember that technology is not a complete replacement for traditional methods. Technology should be used to enrich the overall educational experience and improve student learning outcomes. This will allow the technology used to have a profound impact on student learning.

                Featured photo credit: pressfoto via freepik.com

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                Vikas Agrawal

                Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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                Published on November 23, 2020

                How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

                How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

                Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

                Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

                Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

                Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

                Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

                Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

                Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

                In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

                Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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                After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

                What can we learn from this historical lesson?

                1. Focus on the Consequences

                Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

                So was Moscow not an important target after all?

                Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

                When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

                • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
                • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
                • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

                The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

                This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

                2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

                Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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                Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

                If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

                Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

                This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

                Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

                • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
                • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
                • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
                • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

                Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

                3. Ask for Advice

                Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

                Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

                A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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                Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

                4. Beware of Biased Advice

                Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

                For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

                • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
                • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
                • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
                • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
                • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

                However, most purchases are unnecessary.

                Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

                Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

                After all,

                • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
                • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
                • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
                • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
                • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

                There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

                Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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                Bottom Line

                It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

                You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

                Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

                Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

                Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

                Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

                Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

                More Tips on Thinking Clearly

                Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
                [2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
                [3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
                [4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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