Does Tech in the Classroom Create Authentic Learning or Bolster It?

  • Much has been written about technology in the classroom. Much has been touted about the devices and programs produced by the big tech companies to streamline learning. Educators have been inundated by guides on how to use classroom websites, forms, Chromebooks, iPads and myriad other tools that will make life and learning easier. And it’s mostly true.

    But let’s flip it around for a second. Technology in the classroom is more important than ever, but there is a bit of a chicken and egg element going on. Does technology create authentic learning or simply enhance it?

    Learning first, tech second

    Educators often struggle with measuring how the use of digital tools impacts authentic learning.

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    It has become increasingly more important to learn how specific technology frameworks can solve the measurement aspect by determining whether or not digitally supported learning is occurring beyond observable student engagement.

    So how does one do that?

    It begins by learning how to use technology to create authentic lessons. Technology has changed education. Digital learning is reshaping education in unprecedented ways. How students learn is changing rapidly thanks to technology, and both students and teachers will benefit from it if applied correctly.

    Students today are more hands-on and generally more collaborative. Teachers are streamlining grading and classroom management. Education now involves topics such as digital citizenship.

    Digital literacy has become a new norm for both teacher and student. Digital tools such as smartphone apps can also create a distraction. Drawing the line can become difficult. Many teachers know that digital learning is important, and they know how to implement it into their classrooms, but often they do not know how to measure its true impact on student learning.

    The metrics of digital learning

    When it comes to measuring the impact of digital learning, there are several metrics which school districts should consider.

    Outcomes can be separated into short, medium and long-term. According to The Tech Advocate, short-term results might include new opportunities for learning or a change in how teachers are assessed or developed. Medium-term results involve changes in school culture or the responsibilities of faculty and students, such as an increasing focus on project-based learning. Long-term results will typically be the consequences of medium-term shifts – ideally, an overall increase in student achievement.

    Feedback from administrators, teachers, and students is also crucial. Is everyone on the same page? The short and medium-term outcomes of implementing certain tools might not align.

    Teachers must be proficient with the tools they use. That means they need to be comfortable with the hardware and software so they can create unique learning experiences.

    Learn how to use tech to design authentic lessons

    Online professional development courses provides educators with the tools they need to navigate the digital divide and discover how technology frameworks support authentic learning.

    In technology-based courses for teachers, tools are presented to help teachers learn, assess and create measurable technology-supported lessons that utilize effective instructional strategies. If you haven’t considered an online professional development course, you should.

    It is time to move beyond digital tools that simply engage students to effectively using specific tools within a planned scenario whose primary goal is supporting authentic learning!