Healthy skepticism is a valuable tool in the modern teacher’s arsenal. There is always a new fad or trend on the horizon, always some new piece of scientific research suggesting that, maybe, there is a different way to teach children specific things.
Adapting to new ways of learning is important, but getting wrapped up in every bright idea is the fast track to a messy learning environment with confused teachers and children alike.
We know you know this, so we only bring it up to let you know we understand committing to a change in the learning environment is a big ask. The old and established ways do work. Children in the UK receive a good education compared to many other countries and to disrupt the status quo could have potentially disastrous consequences. However, we as a nation failed to make the top 11 best educational systems in the world in a 2016 study, which means there is room for improvement.
Further integration of advanced teaching technologies into the learning environment could be the answer we’ve been looking for. Studies involving the widespread use of new teaching technology have shown strong correlations between induction of said tech and increased test accuracy.
But, of course, these are just more studies.
The real selling point comes from other teachers. A survey conducted in 2015 found that educators already working with more advanced teaching technology believed it could be beneficial to exam results and learning success.
How Does Tech Improve Exam Results?
So, science is arguing the case for technology in the classroom, as are teachers already using it. But why? The key elements that result in support for technology in the classroom are broken down into three core tenets:
- Engagement: It is more than likely that those reading this article are educators, which means we don’t need sources or references to back up our words when we say pupils get bored easily. Their minds wander and they zone out. If a student isn’t in the room with you, they aren’t learning with you, but maintaining their focus isn’t easy. Technology, however, opens up new opportunities for engagement. Through investment of tech in the classroom, you can utilise everything that comes with it to help produce creative and engaging learning platforms.
- Kinesthetic Learning: Modern teaching techniques very much cater to the audio and visual learning, yet rarely is it tailored towards those with an affinity for the kinesthetic style. For those unsure, kinesthetic learning is simply learning through doing, rather than listening or watching. The number of students with a mental preference for such learning is small, but still enough to need indulging. Of course, enabling learning through doing takes a lot of time and energy to plan — or at least it did. Technology has opened up a new world of interactivity that allows for students to learn through the act of doing, without the need for complex lesson structures or vast amounts of time coming up with very creative and time-consuming solutions.
- Flexible Teaching: The flexible teaching approach is one which has become a lot more popular in recent years. The theory behind the practice is that a rigid learning structure is not conducive to optimal learning. It might not be appropriate for the classroom on that specific day, nor will it indulge their curiosity and allow the topic of discussion to flow naturally. Teachers must allow students to enrich their own learning experience and engage further with the lesson. Flexible teaching is tricky, though; you need the resources and tools to allow for movement. Textbooks and what’s in your own head can only take you so far, placing limitations on lessons. Technology, though, especially when linked to the internet, offers boundless opportunities for the sourcing of information and, therefore, the ability to be more flexible with your teaching.
The combination of these three benefits results in one thing: better memory retention.
A more engaged student is taking in information. If the information is also presented in a more dynamic way, with the use of technology, they’ll be more likely to remember it.
A kinesthetic learner is exploring education in the way that best suits them, absorbing more of what is being taught.
A classroom being taught through flexible teaching is getting more of what they want out of a lesson. This means they are more involved and better equipped to remember what is being taught.
What Technology Should Schools Be Implementing to Aid Results?
Not just any old technology will do when it comes to boosting memory retention and exam results. A laptop with Windows XP on it is technically a piece of tech, but it’s not going to provide the benefits you need.
What we are talking about is targeted technology solutions, designed specifically for the educational environment. This includes interactive screens, smart projectors, advanced audio-visual systems, electronic whiteboards and the latest software.
The right kind of technology has game-changing features that can boost results. For example, interactive screens can introduce the hands-on methods required for kinesthetic learning, while advanced audio-visual technology can allow teachers to introduce games, videos, sounds, animations and visuals that engage their pupils far more than text on a whiteboard ever could.