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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 July 29, 2020

                How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

                How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

                Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

                You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

                However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

                Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

                Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

                If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

                Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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                Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

                8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

                As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

                As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

                Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

                Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

                Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

                One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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                Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

                You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

                For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

                Step 2: Make a List of Experts

                Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

                Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

                Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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                Step 3: Anticipate the Future

                After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

                Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

                Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

                Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

                Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

                Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

                Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

                Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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                Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

                Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

                Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

                To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

                To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

                Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

                Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

                Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

                Conclusion

                A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

                In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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                Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

                Reference

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