Optimizing Learning through Technology

Today, basic computer literacy is emphasized in almost every school’s educational requirements, but usually as a stand-alone core competency. Using technology goes far beyond imparting basic IT skills, such as keyboarding and using the internet, for students to be successful in academia and future employment.  Students need to strive to be technologically literate by optimizing learning through technology.

Technological literacy, the ability for man to use appropriate technology to communicate, design, create, manage, evaluate information, or solve problems in the world around him, is not a new concept; just one that has not been in the forefront until quite recently with the introduction of STEM education. Part of the reason may be because of its educational origin.  Its rich history goes back to the 1920’s, when industrialization was becoming an essential part of society. Industrial Education’s purpose was to provide working class children, mostly boys, with the skills needed to perform tasks in . As technology changed over the years, so did the focus of the classrooms. In the 50’s and 60’s, teachers went from instructing students on industrial machines to focusing on the newer digital and analog components of smaller . Also, at this time, AV (audio/visual) clubs and classes were introduced as families were also introducing radios, and telephones into their homes.  In the 1970s and 1980s, computers became the latest technology to filter in both AV and IE education. Since many of these classes had become electives, there was not a focus on any real standards in their . (Petrina, 2003). As the access to computers increased in the 1990’s as well as the introduction to the Internet, educators recognized a need to create an organized set of standards for schools to use in teaching this expansive subject that has infiltrated every other discipline taught.

There are many studies showing that teachers are utilizing technology more in the classroom.  One such study shows that 98 percent of teachers surveyed claim technology helps them engage more with their students; 96 percent stating it helps their students engage more in class; and 97 percent saying that technology helps them accomplish more in the classroom overall (Educationworld, 2011).  While educator attitude towards technology seems to be growing, the study shows that certain subject areas utilize technology more than others. Science teachers are first in using technology standards in the field when it comes to problem solving. Science teachers use technology three times more often than English teachers. Mathematics teachers also lead in technology integrations, while again English teachers use technology less. While this demonstrates the great strides schools are making in using technology in the areas of STEM, it also shows that more teachers need be encouraged to incorporate technology in their curriculum.

Educators can design highly engaging and relevant learning experiences through technology. They have nearly limitless opportunities to select and apply technology in ways that connect with the interests of their students to achieve their learning goals. Many robotic companies, creating educational materials that can be used to teach concepts in a variety of subjects such as math, literacy, science and art.  Companies striving to make students apply higher level thing skills to all subjects recognize that technology is at the core of every aspect of our daily life. Educators can leverage their materials to provide activities with real world experience, thus making authentic, meaningful experiences for students while promoting technology literacy.

Optimizing technology in the classroom helps draws together knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values through interactive learning experiences to develop a more powerful understanding of key ideas. Many subjects have a natural overlap to start with and curriculum integration helps teachers explore this concept further.  Program management should ensure that adequate resources are available to accomplish missions, goals, and curricular objectives.  This includes effective program goals and other funding, support and resources.  Successes and setbacks may occur, but revisions to the process may help correct any setbacks.  The process is not a linear, one-time deal.  The goal should remain in focus: develop technological literacy for all our students.

Sources Cited:

  • Petrina, S. (2003). The Educational Technology is Technology Education Manifesto. Journal of Technology Education, 15(1), 64-74. Retrieved June 5, 2018, from Scholar Lib.
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