Intertwined into the fabric of our daily lives, digital technology can also actively improve the learning experience and build literacy skills, whether in a classroom or at home. Let’s look at some of the reasons why technology can be an important tool in elementary education.
How Does Technology Make Education Flexible?
Every student learns differently, so instruction that stays flexible and differentiates itself for each learner is ideal. In a classroom of students with varying abilities, interests, and levels of learning, technology makes it much easier for teachers to deliver flexible, differentiated instruction. Students can each pursue instructional paths that interest them or meet their individual learning needs, but the whole class can still be studying the same subjects and achieving the same goals. Technology makes it faster, easier, and more effective for teachers to implement differentiated instruction.
How Does Technology Make Learning More Fun?
Technology already holds an important place for young people. A lot of what they enjoy outside the classroom relates to technology. From anecdotal evidence and cultural history to a wide range of studies, it’s obvious that kids prefer to learn in the most technologically advanced way they can. They think it’s more fun, interesting, and efficient – because it is! Learning with technology tends to keep kids more engaged and more excited to keep learning, and helps them better retain what they’ve learned. Technology can be utilized in myriad ways to enhance a multi-sensory approach to instruction through creative, innovative, interactive learning.
How Does Educational Technology Support Educators?
Technology enables educators to expand their realms of possibility, motivates students to learn, and supports a variety of learning styles. Studies consistently show that most teachers believe digital technology empowers them to accomplish more, in less time, for more students.
- Educational technology saves teachers time.
- Edtech tools and resources are economical and can be delivered instantly.
- Digital books can be assigned and read on any type of device.
- Teachers can project books and resources within whole-class, small-group, or online instructional settings.
Technology-enhanced text resources also feature embedded tools to support and guide learning readers. For example, audio tracks for listening to the entire text, with highlighted phrases to help the student follow along, or pronunciations and definitions for unknown words, can be especially helpful to struggling readers and English language learners.
Other helpful technology features for educators can include recording features, so students can record themselves reading a text and then play it back to self-monitor fluency or share with their teacher, who can then listen and monitor student progress.
Engagement and interactivity with text can be facilitated by giving students access to highlighting and other mark-up tools, notetaking and journaling features, and embedded prompts. Tools and features like these that students use while they read can dramatically enhance comprehension.
How Can Teachers Benefit From Using Data?
Teachers can use technology to gather students’ performance data from tasks and activities completed on an electronic device. Digital tools organize and report this data in ways that inform teachers about the instructional needs of each student or give students timely feedback on their performance. Saving teachers countless hours of grading and recording student performance, data like this can be utilized to plan more effective instruction targeting specific student needs or to easily keep administrators and parents informed about learning gains.
By analyzing reading behavior, performance on online reading quizzes, and other tasks, technology can help identify each student’s reading level. Teachers can quickly generate reports illuminating which skills students are mastering and which skills need more work, informing them as to the instructional needs of each student. Educational technology software can then suggest a range of books and reading materials at the right level, helping improve student reading performance and reduce frustration.
Digital file cabinets allow teachers to organize and store resources in file folders aligned directly with their district’s curriculum framework, which can be shared with other teachers in their school or district. Teachers can quickly access resources targeting a specific standard for their grade level with just the click of a mouse or tap of a finger.
Does EdTech Prepare Students for the Future in a Tech-Driven World?
Technology in elementary education performs many crucial functions, but this one is perhaps the most important: edtech prepares students for the digital future. By teaching students the 21st-century skills necessary for success in today’s world, educators using digital technology are helping students succeed in their ongoing educations, careers, and lives, all of which will involve digital tech. Teaching elementary students how to use technology helps improve their ability to thrive in this digital economy.