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Technology – Good or Bad for Learning?

education, Indiana, computers, technology

At MIT’s Poverty Action Lab, researchers recently made some fascinating discoveries about technology’s place in education:

  • Computer-assisted learning is particularly promising when it comes to math. This is likely because the software is advanced enough to adapt to a student’s learning level and letting the student learn at the right pace, as well as the ability to provide teachers immediate feedback on student performance that is actionable.
  • Technology-based behavioral interventions, such as nudging a student to register for a course, produce consistent improvement in learning.
  • Initiatives that provide computers to every student in a classroom do not improve learning outcomes. Initiatives that start with technology almost always fail in my experience.
  • Research on online courses is still early, but it appears that “blended” courses produce similar outcomes as in-person courses, which could drive down costs.

Overall, what this suggests is something Indiana lawmakers are already working on — matching technology to the educational needs of students statewide. According to an article in “Forbes” magazine, it is not as simple as cramming technology into the classroom just for the sake of doing so.

Educators have debated for decades about technology’s role in the classroom. It appears the most successful strategies involve re-designing curriculums intentionally to blend technology and hands-on, classroom learning.

The “Forbes” article makes the comparison between computers in the classroom and chalkboards. The author writes, “the technology was adopted quickly throughout higher education in a lecture model to convey information to all the students at once. The first recorded use in North America was in 1801 at the United States Military Academy in West Point and it spread quickly. The blackboards were largely unused because teachers had difficulty figuring out how to use them. At the time, the prevalent model of education in public schools was the one-room schoolhouse in which all students, regardless of age or level, met in a single room and were taught by a single teacher. Rather than teaching all the students the same subjects, in the same way, at the same pace—like in today’s schools—the teacher rotated around the room and worked individually with small groups of students.”

If the chalkboard can be successfully integrated into a learning model, who is to say whether technology cannot do the same? Indiana continues to work on ways to bridge between educational opportunities of the past, present, and future.

This article was originally published by [Forbes]: [here]