Technology & Digital Literacy
Technology is everywhere. It is entwined in our culture. It affects how we live, work, play, and most importantly learn. With mobile and other wireless devices becoming an increasing requirement across every industry today, it only makes sense that schools are also effectively deploying mobile technology in the classroom. We are excited to announce that St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School now has a 1:1 Learning Environment where each student in grades 1-8 will have his/her own device.
Technology is now built into our curriculum to encourage digital literacy – but digital literacy doesn’t just mean IT proficiency. In fact, it requires critical thinking skills, an awareness of the necessary standards of behavior expected in online environments, and an understanding of the shared social issues created by digital technologies.
Digital literacy is necessary to become digital citizens; individuals responsible for how they use technology to interact with the world around them. It teaches our students important skills like:
- Collaboration. The ability to work collaboratively with others, with strong interpersonal and team-related skills.
- Creativity. Being able to weigh up opportunities in an entrepreneurial manner and ask the right questions to generate new ideas.
- Critical thinking. Being able to evaluate information and arguments, identify patterns and connections, and construct meaningful knowledge and apply it in the real world.
- Citizenship. The ability to consider issues and solve complex problems based on a deep understanding of diverse values and a worldview.
- Character. Traits such as grit, tenacity, perseverance, and resilience; alongside a desire to make learning an integral part of living.
- Communication. Being able to communicate effectively through a variety of methods and tools to a range of different audiences.
Still not Convinced?
Here’s 1o benefits of technology in the classroom provided by Centre
1. Instructors Can Personalize the Education Experience
A PBS teacher survey found that teachers like and support technology in the classroom. Tools like websites, apps, learning games, e-books, and virtual tutoring help the student learn at their own pace. Digital materials can support classroom learning topics, and introduce different teaching methods for each student’s unique learning needs.
2. Instant Access to Knowledge
The Internet gives students instant access to answers beyond what’s in their textbooks. In fact, today’s kids are already familiar with “Googling-it” to find answers to questions. The gift of the internet to the classroom gives teachers the chance to give their students a holistic view of any given subject while still giving students the guidance to find the right sources. In-classroom internet research gives teachers the opportunity to teach their students how to assess the quality of the information they find online while removing the one-sided restrictions of a textbook.
3. Student Preference
A study by Educause found that K-12 and college students prefer to have technology integrated into their curriculum. Computers, tablets, smartphones, and the internet are the same tools that they use at home. Students are already comfortable using these tools to connect with other students, their instructors, and their institution. In fact, the Educause survey found that 54% of students would typically use at least two devices simultaneously for school work.
4. Student Workplace Readiness
One of the greatest benefits for technology in the classroom is student workplace readiness. Mobility is currently the next great movement in the workplace, and students who use technology in the classroom today will be more adapted to using it in the future. The importance of technology in the classroom goes even beyond simple digital literacy: it promotes workplace soft skills like critical thinking, independent research, and cross-technology proficiency.
5. Trend toward Blended Learning Environment
The Educause survey found that 75% of students currently have experience with blended online/on premise learning. This offers several benefits, including a cost reduction for some schools. Blended learning programs often use e-textbooks to allow their students to have unlimited access to their learning material. Blended environments also support online submission of electronic documents, cutting school costs on paper and other materials. Cost-benefits aside, students say that they enjoy the benefits of blending both online and in-class learning styles.
6. Teacher Support
A 2013 PBS LearningMedia study found that 74% of teachers agree that technology enables them to reinforce their lessons. Curriculums, learning trends, and student engagement can rise or fall on the basis of teacher support. Technology in the classroom would never flourish without the support of instructors, and an overwhelming percentage of teachers are eager to use even more technology in the classrooms. Huffington Post found that, “78 percent of Kindergarten through Middle School teachers agree that technology has had a positive impact on their classroom — and that’s just the start.”
7. Proven Student Engagement
An article by the National Math and Science Initiative shows that blended learning styles keep students focused longer and makes them more excited to learn more, especially for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects.
8. Tools are improving at an Alarming Rate
Technology toys, like interactive whiteboards, tablets, learning apps and websites, are always improving. Even the ways students access and interact with information is always improving. Developers are conscious of the benefits of technology in the classroom, and a lot of money is being spent on developing mobile apps and e-Learning courses with proven results. Also, social tools in Web 2.0 provide a learning opportunity for students to learn about internet safety while staying engaged with their educators.
9. Website Creation and Access are Cost-Effective
According to a PBS survey, websites are the most commonly used tech resources in the classroom with 56% of educators citing the use of a website. Some teachers even say that they create websites of their own to bolster their in-classroom lesson plans. The cost to develop and maintain a website are significantly less the investment in additional textbooks and workbooks. (Web sites are also easier to update than a printed textbook).
10. The Teaching Industry is Ready for Emerging Technology
Teachers are the foot soldiers of education, and they’re ready to implement technology in the classroom through was many ways as possible. Unlike in previous decades, teachers now recognize the critical importance technology plays in teaching tomorrow’s leaders.