Expansion of Time and Place
Technology is no substitute for an inspiring teacher. However, on-line materials are available 24 hours a day as compared to approximately five hours a day of classroom instruction . Information technology allows learning anywhere, anytime. A few resources used in various school districts are Safari Montage , World Book or teacher selected materials.
Depth of Understanding
When virtual manipulatives are used in a traditional classroom setting it goes far beyond chalk and talk. The teacher can conduct onscreen investigations and demonstrate concepts far more easily than with just words and arm-waving. When students have access to the same tools over the web, their understanding of concepts will be reinforced by reviewing on line materials until information is understood. Teachers are able to select and post specific videos, organizers, and instructions to a shared folder or even a classroom web page.
Learning vs. Teaching
With the use of technology students may be given projects that require them to learn (pull) necessary material themselves. Students will build their ability to retrieve information they need without being in the physical presence of a teacher. This project-based learning or pull approach makes learning more interesting for students. This may also be viewed as differentiating instruction.
New Media for Self-expression
In the more traditional days of education, students could write in a notebook and what they wrote was seen only by the teacher. With modern technology students can create a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, record/edit spoken words, compile digital photography, make a video, run a class newspaper, operate a web based school radio or TV station, compose digital music on a synthesizer, make a website, or create a blog. Really, the possibilities are endless. That is exciting!
A vital skill in being successful with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is being able to collaborate with peers. The digital world supports collaboration projects with those who may not be physically close. This can best be done using computer tools such as the Google Hangouts or Microsoft office 365. Rather than laboring alone on homework or classwork, students may work in small groups wherever they happen to be. We will soon see that The CLOUD will be a student’s best friend.
It seems so simple. There are variables such as cost, infrastructure, and teacher training which will be determining factors of success in the transition of utilizing technologies in the classroom. Theses variables need to be given careful attention as the face of education shifts to CCSS instruction.