How does technology impact student learning
Technology is playing an increasing role at all levels of education, from elementary school to higher education. Technology greatly improves and facilitates the transfer of knowledge, which allows teachers to design a quality learning management system.
How technology impacts student learning is still the topic of numerous studies and debates, but one thing is certain – if technology is applied correctly, it can be an exceptional ally in education.
How does technology help students learn
One of the biggest challenges in education is taking care of each student in the classroom. It is not an easy task, especially in classes with a large number of students where each of them has their own unique talents, and needs. With education technology, students can access online information more easily, while learning itself is more reliant on multimedia than ever before. Indeed, there are many ways technology can help students have a great learning experience.
Improved availability of information
Technology impact is perhaps best visible in the learning process. Not only is it easier to find any information online, but the information now comes in different formats. It is no longer necessary to go to the library and spend hours there searching for the desired information. Now all this information is largely digitized and available online which greatly facilitates the learning process, writing professional papers, and acquiring new knowledge in general.
In addition to e-books and websites, podcasts, photo archives, infographics, videos, and even video games can be very useful. All these educational formats are available online, but also in traditional classrooms thanks to teachers who use technology to considerably improve their lectures.
It is now possible to give an illustrative and specific answer to every question, which facilitates learning for all students. In turn, students spend less time searching for information, and more time studying it which increases student activity in class, and positively impacts learning and test scores.
Immersive learning experience
The major advantage of technology and availability of digital materials is an improved learning process. Modern generations of students are more familiar with multimedia content than with information from books. Most children respond well to material presented in a modern, and interactive way, which results in a more comprehensive learning with less difficulty.
Immersive experience can be achieved in different ways, depending on how we use modern learning resources:
- Virtual reality (VR) – one of the latest technological achievements in the field of immersiveness is the VR headset. Thanks to its advanced software, it allows virtual walks through distant landscapes, visiting museums, space travel, etc. Authenticity and realism are achieved thanks to the VR device that captures head and hand movements, creating an impression that the user is surrounded by interactive virtual space. Students are familiar with this learning method, because this technology has long been used in the entertainment industry (primarily video games).
- Augmented reality (AR) – although combining reality and digital content may sound far-fetched, it is not only possible, but a great teaching aid as well. Best of all, this advanced education method does not require expensive tech devices, but only a mobile phone and the appropriate app. This method is based on the software that displays the environment in real time with added interactive virtual content on the screen, using the phone camera to achieve that. Additional gadgets, such as AR headsets, are being developed in order to provide an even higher level of interactivity.
- Computer simulation – is a process where artificial intelligence performs certain actions in line with the input. In some cases, it involves graphical simulations, such as those used in pilot training. However, schools use programs that present learning outcomes in the form of numbers, or simple animations more often. Based on these data, students can more easily understand how something works, but also where exactly they made a mistake, and why.
- Gamification of learning – video games design and techniques are used to familiarize children with learning and critical thinking. The idea is to have children cover and interpret the teaching material as if they were completing levels in a video game, and compete with their classmates so as to improve student engagement. This method of learning through play has become extremely popular, so teachers can choose between different tools and video games that facilitate learning. And while students “play”, teachers monitor their progress using advanced parameters, which allow them to react and offer additional challenges or rewards.
Without technological innovation, teachers could hardly dedicate themselves to each student equally, and adapt the material to their individual needs, skills, and interests. Not every student learns at the same pace. Some excel at STEM courses, while others have more success with History, English, or Geography. Personalized learning apps help teachers design personalized learning programs for each student more easily, as well as to monitor their progress.
The applications may differ, but the general approach is very similar. Student performance is analyzed based on test scores and various statistical parameters, and the way in which the material is covered is modified accordingly. Although the methods are determined by the teacher, certain options are automated, i.e. they are executed based on given instructions. This allows for a more personalized approach to learning, so the student will spend more time studying an area they struggle with, and less time studying another area they have mastered without difficulty.
Same as in all other areas of life, technology has improved communication between people, and consequently, online learning. It has improved cooperation among students, especially when they are not in the same location, but have to work on joint projects. Technology used in education does not only involve communication apps (Zoom, Skype), but various software for sharing documents, audio and video material (Google Docs, Office365, ePals, Popplet…) as well.
Online education and cooperation among students drastically improved during COVID-19 lockdowns, when it was necessary to come up with more effective ways of distance learning. Of course, whether it is used in distance learning or in a physical classroom, the ultimate goal is the same – to encourage students to collaborate, engage in teamwork on a project, and joint learning to achieve the desired goal.
Technology as an integral part of the learning process
Acquiring 21st-century skills demands technology-based new concepts, so that every student would have an equal chance of fulfilling their ambitions. Technology in education positively affects students who respond much better to tablets, computers and phones, than to print textbooks. Interaction is the key, and it is achieved by making use of all the benefits of modern devices and interactive classrooms.
Although technology in the classroom has forever changed education, books will always be important, and so will teachers. Educational technology is constantly evolving, and school is modernizing, but the goal remains unchanged – transferring knowledge to students and helping them to achieve success in the real world.