Educational technology is a multifaceted tool that serves many stakeholders in the educational process. It is worth the hype and much more. Technology reaches everyone: teachers, parents, administrators and most importantly the student benefits when technology is used correctly and efficiently. There are numerous examples to illustrate how each stakeholder is incorporated in the process. If invested into learning with technology everyone connected can transcend traditional learning norms and take education to new heights.
In the class room educational technology can directly serve the student in the acquisition of knowledge. Students that are engaged in relevant learning experiences make long lasting connections with the material. Besides engaging students it can also serve to individualize learning. Many tools now can give students the chance to answer questions and move on to harder ones or can analyze that a student needs to go back to an easier question and receive additional instruction. Engaging students and meeting individual needs is not the only way technology can serve students, it can also help them learn job relevant skills. It opens the door to understanding the future demands of the work world. Authentic learning connections that are engaging and individualized serve students directly.
The teacher is another stakeholder in the educational process. Technology can help teachers to efficiently convey information. Communicating to students in multiple ways and multiple modalities is pivotal. Teachers can also utilize technology to communicate with students and importantly parents. Posting information online and allowing for transparency in the learning process builds trust between teachers, students, and parents. The ubiquitous ability of technology allows for information to be communicated with ease. Lastly, teachers can facilitate lessons rich in information and visual acuity.
Educational leaders in a school community can support the hype on technology by not just creating access and supplying resources, but by genuinely investing professional development time. Leaders in a school need to not only be the cheer leader for the hype but they need to be the coach. Strategically planning and supporting teachers for success with technology blended lessons is necessary for effective and efficient use. If training is in place technology can be guaranteed to be maximized for the students benefit.
The parent is important in the educational process and technology ties them in. Parents can stay connected to class room lessons, their students’ progress, and communication with the teacher. The transparency that technology creates allows for a collaborative learning environment; a back and forth with the parent, child and teacher can only work to motivate and reinforce learning.
A collaborative, transparent, individualized, engaging and efficient learning environment can ensue if all members of a learning community buy into the hype. Making a commitment to use technology as an integral part of the learning environment can transform learning for every student.