Technology has been slowly creeping into American schools over the last two decades. Educators have been carefully evaluating which types of technology are helpful to learning and which technologies have a negative impact on the learning environment. Keeping in mind that a careful balance between human interaction and computer generated information is important, the following technical advancements have had the most impressive impact on the academic achievement of today’s young scholars.
More Realistic Modeling
Source – dolescum
Traditionally, an instructor had to rely on narrative explanations of a model or create time consuming physical models in the classroom. A computer can create the same instructional models in the fraction of the time it would have taken 20 years ago. For example, students can virtually plant seeds in a computer software program and control the settings for the environment the seed grows in. Over time, the students can watch to see what happens to the seeds under the different conditions they created. Using computer software to simulate seed growth doesn’t give kids the chance to get their hands dirty, but it does save the school a great deal of time and expense. The computer also provides perfect simulations of conditions, which would be more difficult to control in a real life setting.
It can be tough to grab the attention of a classroom full of fifth graders when you need to teach history out of a textbook. Video documentaries can be boring and put the kids to sleep. Interactive storytelling requires the students to remain engaged in the storytelling process so that they keep up with the story being told. Social science also benefits from interactive storytelling programs on the computer. A student can click on a section and see firsthand what it looks like in a distant country.
The digital book industry is in its infancy, but it is growing very quickly. School systems have already begun to weigh the cost and space saving benefits of providing digital textbooks for high school students. Most computer text readers allow students to highlight passages or make annotations without changing the main text. Students would also benefit because they would not need to carry heavy textbooks from class to class any longer. E-books that are connected to the internet could provide quick access to dictionary entries that allow a student to click on a word that he or she doesn’t know and see the definition right away.
Simulation computer games allow students to enter realistic information into the game and see how it works. The students can practice being the mayor of a city so that they can understand everything that is involved in making the decisions a mayor has to make. Engineering students can solve real world problems in virtual simulations. The games can create almost any traditional role and allow students to step into the role to see what it is really like to perform the daily tasks required. The understanding gained from these games is immediately applicable in the real world.
Guest blogger Jessica Bosari writes for Technology-Colleges.info, a site that seeks to match students with the best technology colleges. Read more at www.technology-colleges.info.