Students today don’t know a world without technology. From smartphones and tablets to watches that can call home, almost every aspect of a student’s life involves technology. Educators teach in a world packed to the brim with tech that’s always changing, and that can make it difficult to keep up. Preparing children to live and work in a world with jobs and technologies that don’t even exist yet can be a daunting task to face. Embracing educational technology makes it possible for educators to try to keep up with the rapidly evolving world we live in.
In a teaching and learning environment, students and teachers should have one goal when it comes to educational technology: to do their job better. Teachers use educational technologies to enhance and assist instruction in ways never possible before. Simulations, videos, and extra practice help teachers get students to dive deeper into curriculum. Online planning, record keeping, and testing allow teachers to use their time more efficiently so more time can be used for preparing instruction. As mentioned by Roblyer (2016), technologies can motivate students and help them to engage in the learning process. Students take educational technologies and use them to get more out of core instruction. Online course platforms help students stay organized and caught up with the class. Mobile computing opens the entire world for students without the need to leave the classroom. Students can use technology to push the boundaries of what is possible to learn. Educational technology helps answer the question for students and teachers of “How can I do my job better?” Digital tools create opportunities to for everyone to get more from education.
All learning environments are different, therefore educational technologies will be used differently in every situation. Educational technology should address the need to prepare students for thinking in the real world. In this high-tech world, students need skills for “thinking creatively and reasoning effectively,” (Roblyer 2016). Teachers using educational technologies should also help students develop digital literacy as well as digital citizenship. Students need to learn how to interact with technology and use it to get what they need. Generating and interpreting knowledge with assistance from educational technology is second nature for the digitally literate. Educators can teach “students how to use technology resources in safe, responsible, and legal ways,” (Roblyer 2016). Educational technology in a learning environment addresses the need for children to learn how to live in a digital world.
Educational technology is driven by both Objectivist and Constructivist educational theories. Both methods have their place in the world of education, even when it comes to technology. Learners drive the tools and processes used in the classroom. Likewise, learners should drive the types of educational technologies used by a teacher. Objectivist theory focuses on helping students learn as efficiently as possible. Technology developed from an Objectivist standpoint will focus on the ending objective. For example, an app designed for math fact practice will drill students on math facts to build automaticity like how a classroom teacher would drill math facts. This approach helps students get the skills they need faster than if they were to try to figure it out on their own. Constructivist theory focuses on allowing learners to develop the knowledge on their own. Technology-centered around a constructivist point of view will focus on exploration and transfer of knowledge. An example of this would be a virtual math manipulative library. Students using the virtual manipulatives have an opportunity to build their own understanding of math concepts (such as regrouping) without directly being told how to do it. The virtual manipulatives are based on the same kind of constructivist experiences a teacher would use in the classroom. Educational technologies from both theories have value depending on the needs of the learners.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. 7th ed. Pearson Education.