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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 May 21, 2020

                How Cognitive Bias Influences Our Decision Making

                How Cognitive Bias Influences Our Decision Making

                Cognitive biases are dangerous judgment errors that can devastate our health and wellbeing, our relationships, careers and businesses, and other areas of our lives.

                To protect yourself against these mental blind spots, you need to know what they are, where they come from, and what you can do about them. That’s what this article is about.

                Cognitive Biases on the Road

                For an example of cognitive bias, imagine you are driving on autopilot, as we all do much of the time.

                Let’s be clear, it’s a good idea to let your automatic response be in the driver’s seat when you are doing tasks that don’t require your full focus and attention. In ordinary driving situations – without inclement weather or start-and-stop traffic – you don’t need to use up your mental resources by turning your full focus on driving.

                Now imagine that, as you are driving, the car in front of you unexpectedly cuts you off!

                What do you do?

                Well, you have to slam on your brakes to avoid a crash. Maybe you flash your lights or honk your horn. You feel scared and angry.

                Your sympathetic nervous system activates, shooting cortisol throughout your body. Your heart beats faster, your palms start to sweat, a wave of heat goes through your body. [1]

                What’s your gut feeling about the other driver? Probably your first impression is that the driver is rude and obnoxious.

                Now imagine a different situation. You’re driving on autopilot, minding your own business, and you suddenly realize you need to turn right at the next intersection. You quickly switch lanes and suddenly hear someone behind you honking their horn.

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                You now realize that there was someone in your blind spot but you forgot to check it in the rush to switch lanes, so you cut them off pretty badly.

                Do you think that you are a rude driver? The vast majority of us would not. After all, we did not deliberately cut off the other driver; we just failed to see their car.

                Let’s imagine another situation: your friend hurt herself and you’re rushing her to the emergency room. You’re driving aggressively and cutting in front of other cars.

                Are you a rude driver? You’d probably say you are not; you’re merely doing the right thing for this situation.

                Misattributing Blame Due to Cognitive Biases

                Why do we give ourselves a pass while assigning an obnoxious status to other people? Why do our guts always make ourselves the good guys and other people the bad guys?

                There is clearly a disconnect between our gut reactions and reality. This pattern is not a coincidence

                Our immediate gut reaction attributes the behavior of other people to their personality and not to the situation in which the behavior occurs. The scientific name for this type of cognitive bias is the fundamental attribution error.[2]

                This judgment error results in the following: if we see someone behaving rudely, we immediately and intuitively feel that this person is rude. We don’t stop to consider whether an unusual situation may cause the individual to act that way.

                With the example of the driver, maybe the person who cut you off did not see you. Maybe they were driving their friend to the emergency room. But that’s not what our gut reaction tells us.

                On the other hand, we attribute our own behavior to the situation, and not our personality. Much of the time we believe that we have valid and fully justifiable explanations for our actions.

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                Are Cognitive Biases Really So Bad?

                Don’t believe that such negative snap judgments about others can be harmful?

                It may not seem very important whether you think wrongly that other drivers are jerks. Sorry to disappoint you, but this mental pattern posed a grave threat to your relationships.

                As an example, what would you think of a potential business colleague if you saw her yelling at someone on her smartphone?

                ou would probably have a negative reaction toward her and may not be likely to do business with her. Well, what if you found out she was yelling because she had her father on the other line who just misplaced his hearing aid and she was making plans to come to his house to help him look for it?

                There can be many innocent explanations for someone yelling on the phone, but we are tempted to assume the worst.

                In a related example, I was coaching a CEO of a company that had staff who worked from home due to COVID-19.

                He told me about a recent incident with an employee who was having a heated Skype discussion over a conflict with an HR manager. The Skype call disconnected and the HR manager told the CEO the employee hung up on her. The CEO fired the employee on the spot.

                Later, he learned that the employee thought the HR manager hung up on her. The call simply disconnected. Unfortunately, it was too late to take back the termination, even though the CEO regretted his heated decision.

                This unfair firing situation really demoralized the rest of the staff, resulting in a growing disconnect between the CEO and other staff. It eventually contributed to the CEO leaving the organization.

                Why Do We Suffer Cognitive Biases?

                Intuitively, our mind feels like a cohesive whole. We perceive ourselves as intentional and rational thinkers. Yet cognitive science research shows that in reality, the intentional part of our mind is like a little rider on top of a huge elephant of emotions and intuitions.[3]

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                Roughly speaking, we have two thinking systems, which neuroscientists call System 1 and 2. But it’s easier to think of them as the “autopilot system” and “intentional system.”

                The autopilot system corresponds to our emotions and intuitions. Its cognitive processes take place mainly in the amygdala and other parts of the brain that developed early in our evolution.

                This system guides our daily habits, helps us make snap decisions, and reacts instantly to dangerous life-and-death situations, like saber-toothed tigers through the freeze, fight, or flight stress response.

                While helping our survival in the past, the fight-or-flight response is not a great fit for modern life. We have many small stresses that are not life-threatening, but the autopilot system treats them as tigers, producing an unnecessarily stressful everyday life experience that undermines our mental and physical wellbeing.

                Moreover, while the snap judgments resulting from intuitions and emotions usually feel “true” because they are fast and powerful, they sometimes lead us wrongly in systemic and predictable ways.

                The intentional system reflects our rational thinking and centers around the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that evolved more recently.

                This thinking system helps us handle more complex mental activities, such as managing individual and group relationships, logical reasoning, probabilistic thinking, and learning new information and patterns of thinking and behavior. It can also lead to occasional decision-making errors, but it’s right much more often than the autopilot system.[4]

                Train Your Intentional System to Address Cognitive Biases

                While the automatic system requires no conscious effort to function, the intentional system takes deliberate effort to turn on and is mentally tiring.

                Fortunately, with enough motivation and appropriate training, the intentional system can turn on in situations where we are prone to making systematic decision-making errors. Scholars use the term “cognitive biases” to refer to these errors.

                The autopilot system is like an elephant. It’s by far the more powerful and predominant of the two systems. Our emotions can often overwhelm our rational thinking.

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                Moreover, our intuitions and habits determine the large majority of our life, which we spend in autopilot mode. And that’s not a bad thing at all – it would be mentally exhausting to think intentionally about our every action and decision.

                The intentional system is like the elephant rider. It can guide the elephant deliberately to go in a direction that matches our actual goals.

                Certainly, the elephant part of the brain is huge and unwieldy, slow to turn and change, and stampedes at threats. But we can train the elephant. Your rider can be an elephant whisperer.

                Over time, you can use the intentional system to change your automatic thinking, feeling, and behavior patterns, and become much better at making the best decisions.

                That’s why you should never go with your gut, and instead check with your head on any decision you don’t want to get wrong.[5]

                Conclusion

                Let’s go back to the fundamental attribution error. Now that we know what cognitive biases are and where they come from, how can we explain this cognitive bias?

                From an evolutionary perspective, in the ancestral savanna, it was valuable for the survival of our ancestors to make quick decisions and to assume the worst, regardless of the accuracy of this assumption. Those who failed to do so did not survive to pass on their genes.

                In the modern world where our survival is not immediately threatened by others and where we have long-term interactions with strangers, such judgments are dangerous for our long-term goals. We have to address this and other mental blindspots to make good decisions, whether about our relationships or other areas in our life.[6]

                So, take a few minutes right now to think about where in recent weeks you might have misattributed blame. Given the stress associated with the pandemic, it’s easy to do.

                Take the time to reach out to those you wrongly blamed and apologize. Doing so can be the start of your life-long journey to recognize and defeat cognitive biases and make the best decisions.

                More on Cognitive Bias

                Featured photo credit: Evan Dennis via unsplash.com

                Reference

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