Why use technology in the classroom?

I probably shouldn’t answer one question with another question, but I say; how can we ignore the use of technology in the classroom?

Today’s students have been raised and are growing up in a digital age. They are technology savvy, are accustomed to immediate access to the information on the internet, chatting with friends via text messaging or social networking sites such as Facebook, downloading music, videos or podcasts via iTunes, reading graphic novels online, streaming videos on YouTube, maintaining their own web pages or blogs, and the list goes on. Teachers and administration would be doing a disservice to students if they did not realize and address the fact that they are teaching to this new clientele.

We should also make use of technology in the classroom because it works. Like anything, we should not use technology 100% of the time because it ends up being ineffective. Dr. Robert Marzano’s research of interactive white board technology indicates a sweet spot of 75% of classroom time. In conjunction with this, one can expect more than a 30% gain in average student achievement when instruction is done by an experienced teacher who has been using the technology for 2 years, and who has had enough training to be confident in their use of technology.

Technology is not the saving grace or solver of all problems but it is an extremely valuable tool that should be utilized by teachers. Careful planning also needs to happen, because the technology is not going to perform magic all on its own. As always, we have to make use of our professionalism to know how to make use of it in our own particular circumstance.

Dr. Robert Marzano addresses the question “What do we know about the effect of technology on student achievement?” at the CUE 2009 Conference on March 6, 2009. Click here.



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