Choosing Technology that Facilitates Student Learning
How to Choose?
Once we decide to use educational technology in the classroom, how do we decide what to use? With the overwhelming amount of information on the internet, how do we chose the best, research-data-supported ways to use technology to facilitate student learning?
Fortunately, there are trusted websites that specialize in researching educational technology platforms. The folks who put these websites together study educational technology effectiveness, safety, equity, and value and provide this information to educators and administrations via websites, presentations, and data for educators to use when making decisions about educational technology.
This site explains the Learn Platform company and how they can assist your school or district to improve educational outcomes when using educational technology. In addition to having a free version of their app, for a fee, they will evaluate, generate data, recommend, analyze and improve your organization's effectiveness at using educational technology. They also offer a single place for educators to view product evaluations, compare products and for educators and parents to learn what educational technology products are approved and compliant with current privacy and safety standards.
This site has informative articles, and most helpfully - an easy-to-use product index of educational technology products. This is a great place to go when looking for educational technology apps, assessments, and other usages.
Kathy Shrock's Guide to Everything:
Shrock's website is a treasure trove of information for educators looking for effective educational technology. It is organized by topic (assessment, creativity, devices, emerging technologies, etc.) and links take browsers to helpful articles, videos, reviews, and more.
2 ways to integrate educational technology into the classroom to facilitate student learning
One way to integrate technology in the classroom is through "blended instruction. In this method, teachers blend technology into their classrooms using a mixture of traditional teaching/learning techniques and educational technology. This doesn't mean all books and paper worksheets disappear, but teachers can choose how to best integrate technology into the classroom.
According to the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching, "Blended instruction has between 30 and 80 percent of course content delivered online, with some face-to-face interaction." (Smith & Brame, 2014). While this looks different in every classroom, it can be highly effective. A 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Education showed that "combining online and face-to-face elements [in classrooms] had a larger advantage [to students] than purely online instruction." (Smith & Brame, 2014).
Another way to integrate technology into the classroom is through organizang a 'flipped' classroom. A flipped classroom, according to teachthought.com, is "a type of blended learning where the students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school." ("Definition of the Flipped Classroom," 2021). This type of classroom is flipped because traditionally, teachers have introduced new content at school and then assign homework to be completed by students at home.
This means that students might watch online lectures or read online or digital course material at home, and then come to class having been introduced to topics. If implemented and practiced effectively, this better prepares students to ask more informed questions and participate in discussions and projects.