Using Technology in the Classroom

A few tips to help teachers incorporate new technologies into their classrooms

It’s no secret that technology has changed dramatically in the past five years. With new innovations come changes in the home, the workplace, and the school environment. We’ve teamed up with McKay School Instructional Psychology and Technology professor Royce Kimmons to talk about tech tips for teaching.

Advancement in technology has opened up new possibilities for teaching. Kimmons said that technology increases access to high-quality content; varies learning experiences for all students, including students with disabilities; and provides opportunities to expand the classroom to be more meaningfully situated within the community and larger world.

However, with these wonderful new opportunities, teachers must know how to use technology appropriately. “Teachers should only use technology to amplify or transform their practice,” said Kimmons. “Technology is a tool toward an end. It should improve efficiencies or open new doors of possibility.”

Kimmons said that if used well, technology can do five things:

(1) Give all students a meaningful voice

(2) Support interaction and creativity

(3) Streamline data collection and analysis

(4) Give students access to information more quickly and simply

(5) Allow material to be presented in a multimodal manner to support engagement, application, and memory

Kimmons believes that the best technologies for the classroom are ubiquitous, invisible, and purposeful. Some of these include laptops, smartphones, streamed audio/video providers (e.g., YouTube, Amazon Music), file storage services (e.g., Google Drive), slide show presentation programs (e.g., PowerPoint), image editors, and word cloud generators.

Kimmons cautioned careful use of technology: “There are social and professional implications emerging from digital footprints.” He also said that there is a lot of false confidence with technology, because students can often out-perform their instructors. “However,” he said, “this creates a problematic cycle, because, like their predecessors, students can be just as hesitant to change.”

Questions teachers should ask themselves when teaching with technology include

(1) How does this use impact my pedagogy?

(2) What are my students doing that is essential with the technology

(3) Does this introduce additional cognitive load, confusion, and apprehension?