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What is educational technology and how it helps in student learning

by Staff reporter
24 Mar 2020 at 18:07hrs | Views
Ever since the emergence of educational technology, it has brought developments in teaching and learning methods. According to the study of Steel and Hudson, often the usage of educational technology in learning has been attributed to the flexibility of learning methods, and is also known to be student-centred.

But how does really educational technology help student learning?

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Going back…

As mentioned earlier, educational technology promotes student-centred learning wherein teachers adopt roles of facilitation and guidance throughout the students' learning process. This somewhat moves away from the traditional role of the teacher who usually controls the course of learning.

According to the study of Steel and Hudson, there are Four General Advantages of Educational Technology to student learning.

First, educational technology provides materials and tools for learning such as references for research, electronic exam methods and other online options for learning.

Second, educational technology enhances teaching and learning experience. It enables teachers to teach, demonstrate and clarify various topics through the use of electronic materials. Students' access to information beyond the traditional discourse allows them to explore and further question information they acquire.

Third, educational technology allows for flexibility in learning. Students can decide which materials they prefer to utilize for their learning.  

Fourth, educational technology also enhances communication between teachers and students.

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There's more! Here are 3 major kinds of educational technology widely used and how they help student learning.

1. Audio-visual materials

According to the study of Idris, Shamsuddin, Arome and Aminu, audio-visual materials have transformed instructional strategies for presenting the information. These materials enable different senses of learners and can be utilized for interactive discussions, hence adding new features to the learning process of students.

How so? Using audio, images, and animations through audio-visual materials, lessons are easier to comprehend as they activate different senses of students such as social, emotional and intellectual ones. Because of this, students become otherwise passive learners.

Also, these changes result to a more conducive environment for learning for students, with audio-visual materials being able to cater to other needs of learners beyond the Socratic strategy of teaching.

Not only that, according to the study of Idris, Shamsuddin, Arome and Aminu, audio-visual is also among educational tools with the highest score for information retention.

2. Electronic gadgets such as laptops, tablets and mobile devices used with internet

Prior to the rise of electronic gadgets such as laptops, tablets and mobile devices, information can only be gathered through computer desktops and libraries. Obviously, this has dramatically changed ever since the emergence of electronic gadgets, especially when paired with the internet.

Amazingly but not surprisingly, these gadgets have given rise to e-learning wherein training, educational curriculum and facilitation of learning are accessible and coursed through the use of electronic device.

Also! E-learning promotes students' ability to learn anytime and anywhere.

So how do these electronic gadgets really help students?

Well first – laptops. According to Barak, Lipson and Lerman, the use of laptops has become an essential part not only of students' learning but of instructors and professors' teaching tools and methods, hence changing the learning environment in schools entirely.

For instance, according to the study of Barak, Lipson and Lerman, laptop usage increases students' motivation for engagement, tightens connections, assists in maximizing students' problem-solving skills, and contributes to academic achievements.

While when it comes to tablets, the study of Soffer and Yaron states that there is a correlation between the usage of tablets and a positive attitude towards learning. Why? Because of its easy use and immediate access to information resulting to increase in engagement. Moreover, access to various sources with different kinds of information expands the learning process of students.

Among laptops, tablets and mobile devices, a mobile device is seen to be the cheapest variant through which information can be accessed. The study of Toteja and Kumar found 8 benefits from using a mobile device as part of the educational learning of students.

These 8 being:

•    No time constraints
•    Availability is flexible
•    Accessible content is parallel to a student's needs
•    Easier to access compared to other electronic devices
•    Can increase motivation
•    More independent
•    Can improve communication and organization

3. Virtual classroom

A virtual classroom is where learning is conducted online between the teacher and students. This is done through several ways such as group chat, videoconference, or online whiteboard.

According to the study of McBrien and Jones, virtual classrooms have the potential to increase conversation and engagement since there are different methods for communication that students can utilize. For instance, unlike in traditional classroom set up, virtual classrooms have different methods for engagement such as students may type different responses, upload presentations, send videos and access materials together.

Virtual classrooms also provide convenience in terms of time and accessibility. Students can choose to participate in their classes wherever they are, without the usual necessities such as preparations to school and commute.

However, it should be noted that benefits from face-to-face interaction and verbal communication in education may not be experienced fully in virtual classrooms, which can result to a reduction of some aspects of educational experience.

Before we end, it is important to note that not only educational technology revolutionized student learning, but it also encompasses tools that make teaching methods more efficient. These tools can process and present data and information in more innovative ways than traditional methods. This makes educational technology not only beneficial for students, but also a crucial part of the teacher's teaching tools, methods and strategies.

Sources:

Barak, M., Lipson, A., & Lerman, S. (2006). Wireless laptops as a means for promoting active learning in large lecture halls. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(3), 245-263.

Idris, A. T., Shamsuddin, I. M., Arome, A. T., & Aminu, I. (2018). Use of audio-visual materials in teaching and learning of classification of living things among secondary school students in Sabon Gari LGA of Kaduna state. Plant, 6(2), 33.

McBrien, J. L., Cheng, R., & Jones, P. (2009). Virtual spaces: Employing a synchronous online classroom to facilitate student engagement in online learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(3).

Soffer, T., & Yaron, E. (2017). Perceived learning and students' perceptions toward using tablets for learning: The mediating role of perceived engagement among high school students. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 55(7), 951-973.

Steel, J., & Hudson, A. (2001). Educational technology in learning and teaching: the perceptions and experiences of teaching staff. Innovations in education and Teaching International, 38(2), 103-111.

Toteja, R., & Kumar, S. (2012). Usefulness of M-devices in education: A survey. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 67, 538-544.

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