The days of chalkboards and overhead projectors are slipping away. Increasingly, schools across the nation are using educational technology as part of the curricula. With 84% of Americans now using the Internet,* and nearly two-thirds owning a smartphone,† incorporating more technology into the classroom is an inevitable progression of our times. But there are also real benefits to educational technologies and digital curriculum. Here are a few of the most advantageous:
It Can Save Money
Technology is expensive, right? That’s not as simple of an answer as you might think. While there is certainly plenty of high-priced technology, there are also ways educational institutions can save money with technology. An investment in e-readers, for instance, can lead to long-term savings thanks to the reduced or eliminated cost of buying and updating textbooks. Likewise, computer consoles in the classroom can allow schools to use inexpensive software or even freeware rather than relying on expensive workbooks. In addition, educators can use the Internet to access a trove of free worksheets and lesson plans.
It Can Be Personalized
Some of the biggest advances in educational technology have been in educational software. These programs don’t just supplement a student’s education—they can help manage and drive it. How? Many of the newest programs are designed to be customized to each student’s needs, providing learning paths that are most effective for that particular student. Instead of trying to teach a classroom of 30 students the exact same thing every day, teachers can use educational software to help each student progress through a personalized lesson plan. This can better help each student reach learning goals.
It Can Close Achievement Gaps
Recent research has found that proper deployment of educational technology can help boost student achievement, particularly among at-risk students.‡ The key is the “proper deployment” part, which includes three integral components. First, teachers and technology must blend together so that the teacher is guiding both the student and what tech is being used. Secondly, the technology should be focused on interactive learning, engaging the student fully. Finally, the technology should push the student to explore and create. When used in this manner, educational technology can help keep all students on track.
It Can Prepare Students for the Real World
Technology guides the modern world, and those who are comfortable using it are likely to have an easier time finding employment. In fact, research shows that nearly 80% of middle-skill jobs require digital skills.§ Educational technology can help familiarize students with modern technology and even give them experience in oft-used applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation tools. In this way, educational technology can simultaneously teach students specific subjects and develop their general digital skills.
It Can Make Students’—and Parents’—Lives Easier
Carrying around one e-book is certainly easier than carrying around five textbooks. But technology does more than make backpacks lighter. Apps like Google Classroom allow students to complete essays on the cloud, which keeps them from having to carry around, and potentially lose, notebooks. And it allows them to work on their essay from any Internet-enabled device, always picking up right where the student left off. Plenty of other apps keep students connected with their fellow students, allowing for easier—and even remote—collaboration. Plus, many of these apps include a parents’ portal, which allows parents to easily check in on their child’s work and progress.
How Can You Learn More About Educational Technology?
You can’t go back to grade school. But if you want hands-on experience with educational technologies, you can enroll in an online university. In fact, you can even earn a Doctor of Education (EdD) online, meaning you can immerse yourself in a digital curriculum that can help you gain the skills needed to research and assess technology in the classroom, and ultimately develop new and effective education technology.
When you enroll in an online EdD program, you can enjoy the flexibility and convenience of online learning. You’ll be able to complete most of your EdD program from home and on a schedule that allows you to continue working full time. Plus, an online EdD degree program can help you earn your EdD faster, saving you time and money. If you want to enter educational leadership and help move educational technology forward, earning an online EdD degree could be the perfect first step.
If you’re not ready for a doctoral degree and are considering a master’s degree, an MS in Instructional Design and Technology is an excellent choice. With an instructional design and technology degree you can apply digital technology tools to create innovative learning solutions and materials.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Doctor of Education degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*A. Perrin and M. Duggan, Americans’ Internet Access: 2000–2015, Pew Research Center, on the Internet at www.pewinternet.org/2015/06/26/americans-internet-access-2000-2015.
†A. Smith, U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015, Pew Research Center, on the Internet at www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015.
‡Stanford, Technology Can Close Achievement Gaps, Improve Learning, on the Internet at https://ed.stanford.edu/news/technology-can-close-achievement-gaps-and-improve-learning-outcomes.
§Burning Glass, Crunched By the Numbers: The Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce, on the Internet at http://burning-glass.com/research/digital-skills-gap.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.
Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or www.alsde.edu to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.
Note to all Washington residents: This program is not intended to lead to teacher certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.