Technology has dramatically changed our lives, making many of our daily duties easier and turning time consuming tasks into little more than a minor inconvenience. In the same way, technology has played a key role in the development and improvement of schools, by enhancing the teaching and learning experience for students.
Internet & social media
This has meant that the internet is not only useful for teachers in order to give students extra resources and materials, but it also helps students by having an almost unlimited source of information especially through the rise of smartphones making internet accessible at their fingertips - not to mention hosting content online has meant there’s fewer heavy books for students to carry!
Reports show that technology enhances students development and decreases the number of students at risk of dropping out of school
Different extensions on the internet, such as Google Scholar, allows students to search valid academic texts that enhance the quality of their work, avoiding untrustworthy websites. This being said, student access to the internet may be a cause for concern for some lower income families, however - the recognised power of the internet has meant that most schools accommodate for these students through homework and computer clubs.
These work to ensure all students have access to the internet, allowing any student to use the information and resources available on the web.
Teachers and technology
There is an abundance of tech tools that can help to enhance the role of the teacher either by freeing up their time or using tools that complement their existing skill set. This being said, using new technologies can be challenging for some teachers. If you’re taking advantage of new tech on the market and want to ensure
a) your teachers are comfortable using the software
b) you’re getting the most value out of the product
You should incorporate training into your implementation plan or SIP - a good way to do this is to provide CPD sessions for all stakeholders who will be using the software. This will help to ensure that your school will reap the benefits the tech has to offer.
As mentioned in earlier posts the workload of teachers can dramatically affect their wellbeing. Therefore, it is fundamental for schools and teachers to familiarise themselves with different ways that technology can help to alleviate some of the pressures of a heavy workload.
For example, applications such as OneNote allow teachers to share best practice and shared documents easily, while other schools help to reduce teacher workload through the use of software platforms which provide aid in classroom management, behaviour and teaching and learning.
Technology and student achievement
New reports have shown that technology can not only enhance the development of students, but it can also decrease the number of students at risk of dropping out of school (US).
When technology is used properly it can significantly increase student engagement from those who may have initially lacked interest as well as improving their results. Over 70 research studies have proven that technology has positive outcomes of students at risk of failing, and these studies highlight three important elements that explain it:
“Use of technology to explore and create rather than ‘drill and kill’”
“Right blend of teachers and technology”
This shows us that pairing technology with good quality teaching can help to increase student engagement, streamline teachers’ workloads and open students up to a wealth of information and support they may not have been exposed to without the internet or tech. The power embracing technology can have on school performance is overwhelming and for this reason, should feature prominently on your school's improvement plan.