Using Technology in the Classroom (Boles, 2011): Link to the article can be found here.
This article specifically discusses the use of simple technologies, and their educational potential. Technologies such as iPods, podcasts, projectors, voice recorders, 3D glasses, and websites that are more readily available than computers and other software also have very high motivational and educational benefits.
These technologies, besides having the advantage of ease of use and being easy to acquire, also appeal to various different learning styles, be it visual, audial, kinaesthetic, or verbal.
Furthermore, they are highly engaging, and for these two reasons combined, the writer of the article has used them to great effect in their classroom, especially when incorporated as an assessment – while the writer uses technology mainly as formative assessment, it can be used as summative assessment as well. Another interesting aspect of the article is its discussion of technology as beneficial for differentiated learning.
Differentiated learning can occur as many of the aforementioned technologies enable students to learn at their own pace, as they cater for students individually. Thus, technology not only benefits a whole-class approach, but also benefits students who may be reluctant or struggling in the classroom.
As educators, we often fail to think of technology as something empowering. Instead, we treat it as something new and exclusive which magically results in accelerated and deeper learning. The truth is, that simple technologies can be used in a variety of ways to empower student learning.
Think about the value of an iPad for students with special needs. A visually impaired student can utilise the iPad to increase text size, font, and colour, thereby they become empowered by their technology, and take charge of their own learning.
Furthermore, technology is not limited to electronic information devices like phones and iPads, but also things like wheelchairs. A wheelchair is a piece of empowering technology for students with special needs as it promotes movement and mobility. Therefore, the definition of technology is broad, and it’s often the simple technologies which can promote student autonomy and empowerment.