Educational Technology Enriches Expression, Exploration, and Engagement
A Personal Statement Defending the Use of Technology in Schools
The appropriate and well-supported integration of technology into classrooms is vital to enrich learning and increase student achievement. These tools and resources provide improved opportunities for students to create and express themselves and to explore their world to construct understanding. They also improve student engagement.
Avenues for Expression
Technology in the classroom offers an ever-widening variety of opportunities for students to express their thoughts. Web 2.0 publishing tools, such as blogs, message boards, and wikis provide students with a collaborative voice – sometimes for the first time, as with introverted students (Henderson, n.d.), second-language learners (Zeinstejer, 2009), and those with other special needs. New creative tools are unveiled every day, offering users of any age the opportunity to express themselves in new ways and for new audiences (Duffy & Bruns, 2006).
Gateways for Exploration
Technology can provide students with access to a wealth of information. Databases, wikis, and specialized websites increasingly dominate information resources; a student with an internet connection and a curious mind can travel through space and time without any of the difficulties associated with planning field trips. By integrating educational technology into the classroom, teachers can harness students’ creativity and social behaviors for the purpose of learning (Duffy & Bruns, 2006).
Tools for Engagement
If the traditional classroom is to continue to reach and serve young people, it must evolve along with the other elements of students’ lives. Students already use Web 2.0 tools to communicate, publish, collaborate, and play (Applegate & Gonzales, 2009). Adopting these tools for instruction helps keep education relevant and interesting to contemporary students. Classroom hardware, such as Clickers, have also been shown to increase engagement among students who might otherwise become detached from instruction (Briggs, 2008).
Applegate, Perri and Manuel Gonzales (2009). The Power of Web 2.0 [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://sde.state.ok.us/services/conference/Leadership/Sessions/52_Web2.0.ppt
Briggs, Linda L. (24 Sept. 2008). Using Classroom Clickers to Engage Every Student. Campus Technology. Retrieved from http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2008/09/Using-Classroom-Clickers-To-Engage-Every-Student.aspx
Duffy, Peter and Alex Bruns (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/5398/1/5398.pdf
Henderson, Lynne, et al. (No date). Shyness and Technology Use in High School Students. The Shyness Institute. Retrieved from http://www.shyness.com/documents/2000/shy-tech-adol.pdf
Zeinstejer, Rita (2009). Enhancing Lessons the Web 2.0 Way [PowerPoint slides]. Retreived from http://www.slideshare.net/RitaZ/enhancing-lessons-the-web-20-way-for-tesol-09