Technology and Student Achievement
Studies show that students who use technology in class tend to be more engaged, score better than students who don’t use technology, learn more in less time, and make more significant gains, particularly among students at risk. However, if best practices for technology in the classroom along with factors that influence the use of technology in the classroom are not attended to, the use of technology in the classroom may not be as successful as it could be.
Factors that Influence the Use of Technology in the Classroom
There are many factors that influence the implementation and use of technology in the classroom. Effective leadership is a key principle of implementation of technology. Planning for the use of technology and providing professional development will affect whether or not staff effectively use technology in the classroom. The plan also needs to allow for realistic growth, not requiring staff to do more than what they are comfortable with. School districts and buildings need to have technology professionals who can not just show how a program works, but also how to effectively use it as an instructional tool. Ultimately, if districts cannot afford the proper technology, there will not be an effective utilization of technology in the classroom.
Best Practices of Using Technology in the Classroom
If technology is only being used to be flashy, the possible gains from its use will be lacking. There are several best practices for technology use in the classroom. Here are four of the best practices for technology use:
- Alignment – Technology use should be aligned to learning objectives. Also, choose technology that meets the needs of your students.
- Accessibility – If you are going to assign something outside of class, ensure that all students have access to the required technology outside of class. Be sure to plan ahead. Have something else planned if the technology isn’t working correctly.
- Assessment – Provide your students with guidance while they are working. Check for understanding with technology just as you would any other learning objective. If some students are struggling with the technology and you are grading something that involves technology, allow all students enough time to work towards the same level of mastery.
- Reinforcement – Technology should reinforce or supplement your teaching, not repeat what you are already doing. For example, show a video clip of something that cannot be done in the classroom. Also, if you are going to use a Powerpoint presentation, don’t read word for word off of each slide.
Research on the Use of Technology in Education
The following studies show what research tells us about technology use in the classroom:
- Kulik’s Meta-Analysis Study – This study found that students with access to technology perform better on achievement tests than students who did not. This study also found that students learn more in less time and develop more positive attitudes towards their classes when they use technology.
- Sivin-Kachala’s Review of the Research – The use of technology showed increased achievement from preschool to higher education for regular and special needs children. Students attitudes and self-concept also improved when technology was used for instruction.
- Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow – Although not conclusive, the use of technology appeared to create experiences that required higher-level reasoning. Also, teacher and student attitudes improved towards group work and lecturing.
- West Virginia’s Basic Skills/Computer Education Statewide Initiative – The more students participated in the initiative, the more their test scores improved on the Stanford 9. Teachers felt that the use of technology helped with instructional goals and objectives.
- Harold Wenglinsky’s National Study of Technology’s Impact on Mathematics Achievement – This study showed that students who used higher-order thinking software showed gains in math scores up to 15 weeks above grade level on the NAEP. Students of teachers who received professional development on computers scored above grade level.
As you can see, the research shows that technology in education has many benefits. Students attain higher achievement and have better attitudes towards school and themselves when they have access to technology. However, if technology is not implemented correctly, many of these benefits will not be seen at the level that educators are looking for.
“Best Practices for Using Technology in the Classroom | CIDDE.” Best Practices for Using Technology in the Classroom | CIDDE. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2015.
“The Impact Of Technology-Enabled Active Learning On Student Performance, Gender And Achievement Level.” Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Computer Supported Education(2010): n. pag. Web.