Technology, when used properly, has the potential to increase student achievement and engage students in learning. But the overwhelming number of technology devices and solutions sometimes leads to technology use that does not enhance teaching and learning.
At the AFI SILVER Screen Education SchoolDocs conference in Silver Spring, Md. in late June, a panel of education experts discussed the challenges facing 21st century educators who may become overburdened by technology’s potential in the classroom, and shared their own best practices and solutions on how to implement technology for effective use.
The challenge lies in keeping up with the times—young people don’t passively observe when it comes to technology, and they shouldn’t be forced to be passive listeners or observers when it comes to learning, the panelists said.
Children today deal with multiple technology devices that they use to communicate, play games, complete schoolwork, and research everyday information, said Lalita Krishna, president of In Sync Video and Breakout Media in Canada. Breakout Media promotes global activism among teenagers through a series of short video clips, a website and games, and opportunities for volunteerism.
Krishna said that students are encouraged to submit their own videos detailing what they are doing about a global problem or concern, and the video series is supplemented with relevant games. Students use collaboration and brainstorming skills to link a local problem to a larger global problem, and then identify community actions that are helping to fix the problem locally.
Greg Walsh, an adjunct eLearning instructor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park’s College of Information Studies, studies life-relevant learning environments and the design of children’s technologies. Walsh uses the concept of “embodied interaction in learning,” or physical movement in the learning process, to boost student engagement.