• Dr. Katherine McKnight

Top 12 Ways Technology Changed Learning

5 years ago a commentor by the name of Ryan posted a comment on, stating that the list that Dr. McKnight provided was a list of how technology had changed the classroom and instruction (to some extent), but not "learning". It may sound like a minor point, but it is not. Perhaps you agree, why don't we read what the good doctor wrote below.

In the 21st century, technology has changed the ways in which we communicate and go about our lives. Very few educators would disagree with the notion that technology has dramatically changed the teaching and learning process.

With the help of some fellow teachers, here is a short list of the top 12 ways how technology has changed education:

Communication Evolution

Because we text, our students have learned a dialect that we don't always understand. Kids communicate in many different modalities as a result of technology. Maybe it’s 2M2H (too much to handle) for some adults :-)

Expanding Audience

Students' sense of audience is completely different. When I was in high school in the 1980s, the audience was the teacher. When I started teaching high school in 1988, the audience was the teacher and peers. In the 21st century, it's the WORLD. Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and other online platforms changed our notion of audience.

Poster Boards: A Thing of the Past

Do you remember the history or science fair presentation boards that we created? Web 2.0 tools like Glogster have changed this experience. Glogster is a platform where students can create a multimedia "glog" or poster to demonstrate what they know and understand about a topic.

Bye Bye to 3-Ring Binders

There's no need to carry around a bulky three binder anymore. A computer, tablet computer can keep all of those files and handouts in neat folders. There's also a web 2.0 tool, LiveBinders that allows users to create a binder online.

Interactive Textbooks

The way that we think of textbooks is completely changing. It is no longer limited to merely text and pictures. Today’s textbooks often have web-based sites that include assessments, animations, additional materials, videos, and other materials to support the learning of new content.

eBooks on the Rise

Speaking of textbooks, e-books are becoming more prevalent in schools with the advancements of e-readers and tablet computers. I think in the near future that students won’t carry around big bulky backpacks filled with heavy textbooks.

No More Note Passing

I’m not sure if this is directly connected to learning, but we don’t pass notes in class anymore. Students text one another instead. It's just another funny way how technology has changed education.

Disappearance of the Chalk Board

Much attention has been placed on interactive gaming as a powerful platform for student learning. Every day, new programs and web-based tools are teaching our students content that was once paper or chalkboard based.

Assistive Tech for Better Communication

Voice recognition software has improved greatly in the past few years and is more accessible. Children with special needs and limited English proficiency are able to more effective communicate in language based contexts.

The iPad: A Game Changer

iPads are such adaptable and powerful tools for teaching and learning. There are so many applications but I think the most powerful and exciting aspect is the enhancement of learning experiences for students with special needs, particularly those on the autism spectrum.

Extended Classroom Communities

Technology facilitates our ability to extend classroom community by using web-based platforms like Edmodo. Teachers and students can use this platform to discuss homework, post assignments, and interact with peers as they work on projects.

Rise of Web-Based Research

We still use libraries, but so much of our research and learning is now more web-based. What used to take hours in the library to find, we find instantaneously. As a result, we need to sort through huge amounts of information efficiently. We know how to get and use information. I would argue that because it takes less time to find information, we spend more time digesting, thinking, and learning about new information.

Meeting the Needs of All Learners

As educators, we know the power of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Technology facilitates our ability to meet the needs of all kinds of learners.

What are some ways you think how technology has changed education? Share in the comments section!


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