The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 12, 2012

Farewell to filmstrips, flipcharts

By Marianne Bright for the SNAP

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 — Is there even one part of our lives untouched by technology? It has changed the way we read (Kindle, Nook), shop (eBay, Amazon), talk to our friends (iPhone, BlackBerry), drive (GPS) and even bowl (the Wii). And it’s having a tremendous impact on the way our kids are learning.

Technology is changing the face of schools, the way teachers teach and how our children learn. And when technology is applied appropriately in different contexts (the school, classroom, home), it can provide unique and engaging experiences for students that increase learning and promote academic achievement.

Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit education organization based in Irvine, Calif., describes three “E”s to learning in the 21st century: enabled, engaged and empowered. Through increased access to educational resources (enabling), rich and compelling learning experiences (engaging) and the ability to take responsibility for their own education (empowering), students are able to participate in socially based, un-tethered and digitally rich learning, thanks to the use of new technology.

But technology is not changing education just for the sake of change. There are some real benefits to integrating technology into classrooms and into students’ individual learning experiences. Researchers are turning up substantial evidence that technology can play a positive role in academic achievement. Several organizations like Edutopia, the North Central Educational Lab (NCREL) and the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) cite studies that link technology to increases in academic achievement.

And there’s more: Students who regularly use technology take more pride in their work, have greater confidence in their abilities and develop higher levels of self-esteem. Technology has even been shown to decrease absenteeism, lower drop-out rates and motivate more students to continue on to college.

Here at Sylvan-Albemarle over the next several months, we will be embracing many new technology tools to make learning more engaging, accessible and effective for our students.

In the next two installments of this column, join us for a more detailed look at the way technology tools are changing schools and classrooms and how our children learn.