Use of Technology in a Classroom

South Texas Transition to Teaching-ACP strongly believes that technology is a fundamental structure that can be integral to achieving significant improvements in productivity. Used to support both teaching and learning, technology infuses classrooms with digital learning tools, such as computers and handheld devices; expands course offerings, experiences, and learning materials; supports learning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; builds 21st-century skills; increases student engagement and motivation; and accelerates learning. Technology also has the power to transform teaching by ushering in a new model of connected teaching. This model links teachers to their students and to professional content, resources, and systems to help them improve their own instruction and personalize learning.

Online learning opportunities and the use of open educational resources and other technologies can increase educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning; reducing costs associated with instructional materials or program delivery; and better-utilizing teacher time.

Open educational resources: Open educational resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain and are freely available to anyone over the Web. They are an important element of an infrastructure for learning and range from podcasts to digital libraries to textbooks and games. It is critical to ensure that open educational resources meet standards of quality, integrity, and accuracy—as with any other educational resource—and that they are accessible to students with disabilities. 

  • Open High School of Utah – This school uses open educational resources to create an open source curriculum. To create this curriculum, teachers gather and sort through open source materials, align them with state standards, and modify the materials to meet student needs.  
  • CK-12 – CK-12 FlexBooks are customizable, standards-aligned, digital textbooks for grades K-12. They are intended to provide high-quality educational content that will serve both as core text and provide an adaptive environment for learning. 
  • Leadership Public Schools (LPS) – In each of the four LPS schools, teachers work together to utilize open-source materials to meet the specific learning needs of their students. Through a partnership with CK-12, LPS has developed College Access Readers, a series of online books with literacy supports embedded in them to meet the individual needs of students, from advanced to under-performing students. 
  • Khan Academy – The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization providing digital learning resources, including an extensive video library, practice exercises, and assessments. These resources focus on K-12 math and science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and include resources on the humanities, finance, and history.
  • Mooresville Graded School District – This North Carolina district launched a Digital Conversion Initiative to promote the use of technology to improve teaching and learning. In addition to the use of laptop computers and other technologies as instructional tools, the Initiative led to a shift to digital textbooks which are aligned to the state’s standards.
  • Vail Unified School District – This Arizona district has replaced textbooks with a digital learning environment that enables every school in the district to take advantage of an online tool to create digital textbooks and support effective teaching.

Use digital resources well: Schools can use digital resources in a variety of ways to support teaching and learning. Electronic grade books, digital portfolios, learning games, and real-time feedback on teacher and student performance, are a few ways that technology can be utilized to power learning.

  • High Tech High – High Tech High (HTH) is a network of eleven California charter schools offering project-based learning opportunities to students in grades K-12. HTH links technical and academic studies and focuses on personalization and the connection of learning to the real word. To support student learning and share the results of project-based learning, HTH makes a wealth of resources available online, including teacher and student portfolios, videos, lessons, and other resources.
  • New Technology High School – At this California school, student work is assessed across classes and grades, and feedback is made available to students via online grade books. These grade books are continually updated so that students can see how they are doing not only in each course, but also on each of their learning outcomes, averaged across all their courses. Electronic learning portfolios contain examples of students’ work and associated evaluations across all classes and grades. New Tech High is part of the national New Tech Network.
  • Quest to Learn – This school, located in New York, utilizes games and other forms of digital media to provide students with a curriculum that is design-led and inquiry-based. The goal of this model is to use education technologies to support students in becoming active problem solvers and critical thinkers, and to provide students with constant feedback on their achievement.

Links

Early Learning and Educational Technology

Re-imagining the Role of Technology in Education

Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation

Re-imagining the Role of Technology in Higher Education

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