Technology will not replace great teachers but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational. ~ George Couros
It wasn’t that long ago that classrooms consisted of slates for teachers and students to write on and a limited supply of books. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic taught us new terms such as distance learning, technology had transformed the classroom into something new and exciting – a trend that’s likely to continue thanks to instructional technology.
At Alludo, instructional technology is at the heart of what we do. We specialize in creating learner-centered PD programs on our online platform. Many of our courses allow teachers to learn about new technology that they can use in the classroom. So, with that in mind, here are nine ways that instructional technology can boost engagement and lead to better student outcomes.
Table of Contents
- What is Instructional Technology?
- Why is Instructional Technology Important to Students & Teachers?
- 9 Ways to Boost Classroom Engagement with Instructional Technology
- Interact with Classrooms & Students Across the Country (or Around the World)
- Create Digital Assignments
- Make Infographics to Help Students with Challenging Topics
- Provide Students with Alternative Learning Opportunities Using Apps and Online Tools
- Support Students with Different Learning Styles
- Create an Immersive Learning Experience
- Encourage In-Depth Research
- Encourage Student Collaboration Online
- Use Assistive Technology for Students in Special Populations
- Alludo's Take
What is Instructional Technology?
Instructional technology is the theory and practice of using technology to enhance the classroom experience and improve student learning and outcomes. While our focus is on what instructional technology can do in the classroom, we should note that the term instructional technology can relate to the development, management, and use of technology.
When teachers bring technology to the classroom, it can take many forms. Here are a few examples of instructional technology tools used in classrooms today:
- Online courses. Online courses are central to the Alludo platform and are also available to students at almost any level.
- Online tools. Online tools may include calculators, research tools, and more.
- Electronic whiteboards. An electronic whiteboard can be invaluable in an online course or in distance learning.
- Interactive videos. Adding an element of interactivity to a video can increase student engagement.
- Virtual reality classrooms. Virtual reality use isn’t as widespread as the other forms of instructional tech we’ve listed here, but it’s likely to become more popular in the future.
Instructional technology at its best allows teachers to connect with students more effectively and encourages students to be excited and engaged about what they’re learning.
Why is Instructional Technology Important to Students & Teachers?
Instructional technology has the potential to enhance student learning and transform their classroom experience. Here are three key ways that instructional technology is important to both students and faculty.
#1 It Encourages Tech Literacy in a Tech-Dependent World
Today’s kids might be digital natives but that doesn’t mean they know everything there is to know about technology. Using instructional technology in the classroom encourages kids to get comfortable with technology in its many forms.
Not only can the use of technology be fun, it also sets kids up for success in a world that has become dependent on technology for almost everything we do. In other words, it makes them more employable and more productive.
#2 It Facilitates Student Learning
When used properly, instructional technologies can help students learn. Kids who are comfortable with technology already may simply be more responsive to learning when it’s wrapped in a digital package.
Technology is also ideal for encouraging students to collaborate with one another and to deepen their understanding of any topic being studied. There’s a world of information out there and technology allows students to access it quickly and easily.
#3 It Makes Learning Easier
Finally, instructional technology can actually make learning easier. Kids who are comfortable with technology may absorb information more easily when it’s delivered using electronic and digital tools.
Since the goal of all classroom instruction is a good outcome for students, it stands to reason that incorporating technology in the classroom would be useful because it makes learning more dynamic and exciting for students.
9 Ways to Boost Classroom Engagement with Instructional Technology
Now, let’s review nine ways that teachers can boost classroom engagement with the use of instructional technology.
#1: Interact with Classrooms & Students Across the Country (or Around the World)
There’s no better way to learn about another culture or country than by interacting with people who live there. Instructional technology can allow teachers from geographically remote areas to connect their students with one another and enhance learning.
A student who might not be interested in learning about another country in the abstract may find the topic irresistible and engaging when interacting with a classroom of students who live in that country. A simple Skype or Zoom setup can be enough to introduce students to a whole new world.
#2: Create Digital Assignments
A traditional classroom assignment might be to write a book report or paper, but using instructional technology can transform the tried-and-true project into something that’s far more engaging.
Teachers can assign students to read a book or research a topic and transform their research into a blog post or a video. Kids will deepen their knowledge of a topic and be more likely to retain what they learn if they are tasked with a digital assignment.
#3: Make Infographics to Help Students with Challenging Topics
We all need help sometimes when we’re learning a challenging or complex topic. Absorbing information can be difficult and it may be easier to understand something new when it’s presented in a dynamic, visual way.
That’s where infographics come in. Teachers can create visually appealing infographics to illustrate new information and make it more appealing to their students. They can even give kids access to the infographic online.
#4: Provide Students with Alternative Learning Opportunities Using Apps and Online Tools
Every teacher knows that it can be difficult to get kids interested in learning when all they want to do is look at their phone or tablet. The use of instructional technology can help by providing students with alternative ways to learn.
There’s no shortage of apps and online tools that can be used in education. Teachers who understand the transformative power of classroom technology can choose the tools that are most likely to get kids excited while helping them learn.
#5: Support Students with Different Learning Styles
Students learn in a variety of ways and traditional classroom instruction may be difficult for some. A child who is an auditory learner may have difficulty focusing on the printed page but retain information easily when using a text-to-speech service.
That’s only one example but it illustrates how useful educational technology can be for students with different learning styles. Another example would be allowing students who are kinesthetic learners to learn the alphabet or a multiplication table with a dance video.
#6: Create an Immersive Learning Experience
One of the things that technology does best is creating an immersive environment, something that’s ideal for enhancing student learning both in and out of the classroom. Students who interact with what they’re learning using a variety of media are far more likely to be engaged than those who learn in only one way.
Students can do hands-on work using technology and get immediate feedback on what they do, making it easier for teachers to identify mistakes and encourage kids to correct them. Things like interactive videos and whiteboards are ideal for creating an immersive experience.
#7: Encourage In-Depth Research
It’s undeniable that technology has made research quicker and easier than ever before. Instructional technology can be used to encourage students to conduct in-depth research using academic journals and other information found online.
On a related note, it also presents an opportunity to teach kids how to evaluate the information they find online and apply critical thinking to determine whether a source is credible or not.
#8: Encourage Student Collaboration Online
Student collaboration is essential for group projects but it also has real-world applications. There are a lot of jobs that require collaboration and the earlier kids learn how to collaborate effectively, the better off they’ll be in their lives beyond school.
Instructional technology can be used to encourage student collaboration because they can use video conferencing to discuss a project. They can also use technology to take notes, share files, and put presentations together.
#9: Use Assistive Technology for Students in Special Populations
Finally, assistive technology can be hugely helpful in the classroom for any student in a special population. At-risk students, ESL students, and special education students may benefit greatly from using assistive technology to facilitate learning.
Software and robotic tools can help kids with disabilities learn at the same pace as their peers. Translation software can be useful for kids who are still learning English, and teachers can connect with and encourage at-risk students.
- Teachers engage in an online, flexible professional learning environment that makes it easy to learn about new technology and its applications in the classroom.
- Teachers get to experience technology first-hand, using it in real time and thus, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be comfortable teaching it to their students.
- Gamified learning makes it fun and exciting for teachers to learn. They can access their courses at any time that’s convenient to them and track their progress with badges and rewards.
- While Alludo uses technology, it can also combat technology burnout among teachers. Because Alludo delivers learning efficiently, it can actually give teachers a break by giving them more time with their students.
The Alludo teacher education platform is ideal for encouraging the use of instructional technology because it gives faculty a voice and a choice in what they learn while delivering training in easily-digestible microlearning activities that respect teachers’ time.
Do You Want to Boost Classroom Engagement with Instructional Technology?
The time for school districts and educational leadership to embrace instructional technology is here. With so many learning tools and opportunities available, it makes sense to seek out the technologies that are best suited to enhance student learning and improve outcomes.
Are you ready to boost classroom engagement with instructional technology in your district? Alludo can help! Click here to schedule a demo of our PD platform and content catalog today.
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