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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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                Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

                5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

                Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

                All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

                The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

                “Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

                The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

                “The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

                The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

                “The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

                So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

                  Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

                  1. Build a Memory Palace

                    What is it?

                    The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

                    How to use it?

                    Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

                    “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

                    Example

                    An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

                    • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
                    • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
                    • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
                    • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
                    • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

                    You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

                    2. Mnemonic

                      What is it?

                      A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

                      How to use it?

                      Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

                      Example

                      I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

                      I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

                      Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

                      Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

                      Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

                      Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

                      C

                      J

                      H

                      D

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                      P

                      Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

                      Cubs

                      Just

                      Hate

                      Doing

                      Push-ups

                      Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

                      3. Mnemonic Peg System

                        What is it?

                        According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

                        How to use it?

                        The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

                        Example

                        Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

                        0 = hero

                        1 = gun

                        2 = shoe

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                        3 = tree

                        4 = door

                        5 = hive

                        6 = sticks

                        7 = heaven

                        8 = gate

                        9 = line

                        Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

                        4. Chunking

                          What is it?

                          Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

                          How to use it?

                          In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

                          Example

                          Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

                          Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

                          081127882

                          Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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                          081 – 127 – 882

                          Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

                          “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

                          5. Transfer of Learning

                            What is it?

                            Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

                            “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

                            How to use it?

                            There are two specific ways to use it:

                            1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
                            2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

                            Example

                            I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

                            Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

                            The Bottom Line

                            The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

                            We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

                            Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

                            “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

                            More About Enhancing Memories

                            Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
                            [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
                            [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
                            [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
                            [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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