10 Ways That Technology Helps Students Learn

By Rob Klindt

There’s no question that online and digital technologies have transformed how students learn in today’s classrooms. Educational software, online learning networks and tablet computers are just some of the high-tech changes that have become classroom staples in recent years.

Classroom technolgy like tablet computers encourages children to embrace learning.And the march of technology into the educational arena is showing no signs of slowing down.

For example, education officials in California recently announced that the state is phasing out most of its Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) student assessment tests. The written multiple-choice test, which has been in use for 15 years, will be replaced in the 2014-15 academic year by a new Measurement of Academic Progress and Performance (MAPP) test that students must take using a computer. The MAPP test will focus on mathematics and English language arts and comply with Common Core State Standards.

Another important change affecting students nationwide is the General Educational Development (GED) exam going digital in 2014.  Students who didn’t finish high school, but are seeking an equivalency certificate, will need basic computer skills to take the exam.

So it’s important that teachers and school administrators continue to embrace and expand the use of technology into the nation’s classrooms. Here are 10 ways technology benefits students:

  1. Versatility: Technology lets students learn at their own pace. Hundreds of software programs, mobile apps and tools cover a wide spectrum of educational subjects that can be tailored to specific learning levels.
  2. Student engagement: Most students already enjoy using technology for entertainment and socializing. That enthusiasm makes it easier for teachers to engage students in school when their lesson plans include technology.
  3. Accessibility: Tech devices like tablet computers allow students quick and easy access to classroom assignments and study resources. Teachers can verify that students are accessing the correct materials and offer immediate feedback on assignments.
  4. Mobility: Tablet computers like the iPad, Kindle Fire or Chromebook are built for mobility and adapt well to the classroom. Students can easily access classroom materials at home, in the library or on the road.
  5. Social engagement: By incorporating social media programs like Twitter and Facebook into classroom projects, teachers can foster healthy competition and collaboration among students as they work together or in groups to complete assignments.
  6. Health benefits: With laptop and tablet computers, students don’t need to lug around heavy books and binders or load them into bulky backpacks, which can cause ergonomic issues or back strain.
  7. Global connections: Using programs like Facebook or video-chat software like Skype, teachers can bring the world into their classrooms. When logged into these programs, students can talk with experts from various fields of study without leaving their seats.
  8. Standardized learning: Technology brings consistency to lesson plans, content and test materials. Students meet the same educational criteria, even if they change schools or move to a different state. This is becoming increasingly important as Common Core State Standards tests migrate online.
  9. Organization: When handouts, tests and most student papers are in a digital format, it’s easier for students to stay organized and turn in assignments. Digital technology also makes it much easier to “go green” with a paperless classroom.
  10. Lower costs: The skyrocketing cost of textbooks can be a problem for low-income students or school districts on a tight budget. E-books level the playing field by allowing equal access to all at a lower cost. An added benefit is that e-books can be updated more often than traditional textbooks.

While the changes new technology can bring into a classroom can be a challenge for some students and even teachers, the benefits can offer a lifetime of opportunities for everyone.