Benefits of using technology in your teaching

(Just off the top of my head, including all technology from chalk boards to smart phones. A general perspective on tech, a higher ed perspective on teaching…)

  • Meeting the learner “where they’re at”. College-aged students are immersed in technology so much more than any other generation before them.

  • Engaging multiple learning styles through multiple channels. Speaking and music are good for auditory learners; writing on the board or using presentation software is good for visual learners; students taking notes is good for kinetic learners. Can you see how a mobile device like a tablet computer can please all of these learners at once?

  • Keeping students’ attention. Most folks have a good sense for what is a good presentation and what’s boring. used to have a cute introductory video showing an audience falling asleep while the presenter’s shadow looked like she was holding a carving knife instead of a pointer. Technology used well has the potential for a “Wow!” factor; technology done moderately well will at least help keep your students awake.

  • Collaborative learning. Discussion boards, blogs, wikis, social networks all foster conversation and collaboration. Most learning management systems have a group feature allowing instructors to easily split a class up into groups, each with its own tools. And with the Internet, why not collaborate with another class in another part of the world?

  • Immediate feedback. Clickers, or audience response systems, including Poll Everywhere, allow teachers to assess the engagement of a class in more quantitative ways than simply reading body language. Take a step back from the classroom and mastery or other short quizzes the night before make sure everybody’s on the same page.

  • Active learning. Gamification of education is a big trend now because games are active, engaging, and rewarding. World of Warcraft and Minecraft, what to speak of Civilization and others, have many educational uses. Students can also be engaged in active learning in and between class times researching, fact-checking, demonstrating, etc.. And, of course, there’s bringing a guest speaker to class via Skype or Hangout and allowing the students to ask questions and interact.

So there aren’t any good excuses for a good teacher not to use technology.


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