7 benefits of technology in the classroom
Using technology in the classroom can bring many benefits to teachers and students. Smart boards, clickers, cloud applications, and student laptops are changing the way we teach and learn. Around the school, digital document solutions and paperless school practices are transforming communications, while also saving time and money. Like many other industries, technology is often seen primarily as a source of cost savings and productivity gains in K-12 and post-secondary schools. However, integrating technology into the classroom can do much more than just make things faster and cheaper.
The vast array of educational and administrative technology options can be confusing. What works, what are the benefits, and how are they best used?
Benefits of technology in the classroom
Greater adaptability for a range of learners, enriched collaboration, and making learning more fun are just of few of the potential benefits of using tech in your classroom. We’ve identified seven significant ways that these tools can help:
1. Improve adaptability
Whether you need to accommodate a broad range of diverse learners or just want to change up your lesson plans, classroom technologies can help you be more adaptable. Using an array of different instruction techniques is a great way to help all students and mixing up materials and activities can be more enjoyable for teachers, too. Students exposed to a variety of materials, activities, and assessments often report higher levels of motivation, enjoyment, and engagement. Cloud applications and adaptive learning systems make it faster and easier to try out different methods, and a wealth of shared online resources provide endless inspiration and support. Even digital document solutions can help, speeding up the data gathering process for individual education plans (IEPs) and automating workflows that compile and share profiles to authorized teachers.
2. Enrich collaboration
Working together, from peer discussions to formal group projects, has a positive impact on the development of higher-level thinking, communication skills, and subject retention. Collaborative learning also increases understanding and acceptance of different perspectives, and better prepares students for social interactions and employment. Cloud-based collaboration tools allow students to work together asynchronously or in real time on all types of files and documents. Teachers can make quick progress checks, be notified of questions, and provide timely feedback. Online chat and social media tools make it easier for students to interact inside and outside the classroom without disrupting others. And many online games have collaborative modes that provide rich opportunities to work together towards a common goal, while exploring curriculum appropriate concepts. Best of all, most of these tools can be easily adapted to in-class or remote learning situations.
3. Increase student fun
Making games out of learning is not new, but modern tools and techniques unlock new levels of interesting and fun opportunities in the classroom. The widespread practice in video games of trial and error to solve problems or get through levels is familiar to many students and, when applied to learning, can make tests or assignments less daunting. Alternate pathways and direct feedback provide a measure of differentiated instruction and coaching to the students, potentially freeing up the teacher’s time. As students play, they often become very immersed in the activity, increasing engagement and retention. Games are also a great option for group activities, especially if they include tasks that require several students to work together on different parts of the project. It is important to keep these games from becoming a direct source of competition between students, which can negatively impact results.
4. Enhance feedback
Responding to students’ work is an essential part of teaching and can be a significant contributor to student performance. Effective feedback is more than just a grade and is often measured by three characteristics: is it timely, consistent, and goal-specific? Classroom response systems, cloud applications, and workflow tools help shorten the feedback cycle, automating repetitive tasks, summarizing rubric elements, and even providing basic, machine-generated assessments that teachers can augment with their own insights. These tools also encourage consistency, helping to reduce bias and ensure that the last paper or project gets the same attention as the first one. By easing the feedback workload, teachers can devote more time and attention to providing positive encouragements and insights that guide students towards their curriculum and individual goals.
5. Foster connections
Tech provides many ways of fostering connections between teachers and students, parents, and other key stakeholders. Workflow automation and digital documents can reduce the amount of time spent on routine communications, such as consent forms and liability waivers, freeing up resources. Digital tools can also make education-related conversations with students and parents more efficient, accelerating questions, responses, and ultimately results. It is important to clearly state and manage the rules of engagement for these communications, including hours of availability, or they can become overwhelming. Cloud applications can help foster connections in other ways, for example providing common notes and material that the entire class can view, edit, and comment on. These shared documents help to level the field for students with varied note-taking abilities, encourage collaboration instead of competition, and provide the teacher with immediate insight on how well students understand the material.
6. Promote tech skills
In a world filled with digital tools and devices, building technical skills and digital literacy is an important part of using technology in the classroom. Organizations such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) emphasize the necessity to both teach with technology and teach about technology. Students of all ages need to learn about the appropriate uses and effects of common technologies, so that they can act legally, ethically, and safely. For example, protecting their private and confidential information, exploring the positive and negative effects of posting personal information, and learning to identify sources and risks of misinformation. Teachers are encouraged to discuss digital rights and responsibilities, and model best practices for online behavior.
7. Reduce costs
Finally, classroom and administrative technologies can save time, reduce costs, and enhance services. Digital document solutions save up to $6 per document in paper, ink, faxing and mailing costs, and printing equipment. Electronic health records improve the quality and efficiency of student care and make it easier to comply with privacy regulations. Digital transformation of school processes can reduce workloads and increase productivity and adaptability inside and outside of the classroom. Many of these changes can also positively impact student outcomes and improve interactions with colleagues, students, and parents.
Technology can be a multiplier for teachers
Choosing and using tools in the classroom can seem like a daunting task, with uncertain outcomes. Used well, classroom and administrative technologies can be a significant multiplier for teachers, reducing workloads, making learning more fun, and enhancing student outcomes. The good news is that there is a wealth of resources available online for teachers, students, and administrators to explore the world of classroom technology, ask questions, share their experiences, and learn about best practices.
Visit Adobe’s Education Resource Hub to learn more about how their education-focused solutions can help you, your students, and your colleagues reap the benefits of technology in the classroom and around the school.