8 ways technology is revolutionizing education (with examples)

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Monday, May 4, 2015

8 ways technology is revolutionizing education (with examples)


Technology is helping students to learn in ways we could never imagine before. Here are eight ways that tech is revolutionizing education. (Flickr / Lucella Ribiero)

With new technology, today’s classrooms have tools that can make learning happen that was impossible in recent years. Now, students can create impressive products as class projects that would have required lots of equipment or money in the past.

The smartphones that many students carry in their pockets are much more powerful than the technology used to send a man to the moon. They can use those smartphones or devices with access to the Internet now to meet virtually anyone on the planet.

These are exciting times for education. Here is how some schools and students are making the most of them with technology:

Collaboration. Students are working together in digital spaces. They can connect whether they’re in different classrooms or different countries. Plus, with shared work online, the days of “my partner’s absent and he has my notes” are over.

Example: Use Google Documents to create shared research notes or co-create an essay.

Repetition. Practice makes permanent. Online practice sites like digital flash cards and review games can make that repetition more interesting. Plus, most of those options can be carried with students in smartphones in their pockets.

Example: Use your own terms to create flash cards using Memrise or make fun review games on ClassTools.net.

Video. Quality video projects used to require expensive cameras and production equipment. Now, a tablet, computer webcam or smartphone can create high-definition video that demonstrates students’ understanding of content.

Example: Create quick videos with a built-in webcam or photo slideshows using YouTube’s upload button. Make it easier by creating a “typing in a document” video with Gone Google Story Builder.

Audio. Students can create their own radio shows, telling creative stories or interviewing friends and others. Those recordings can be shared widely, just like radio shows have been for years, but for free.

Example: Record an audio show using AudioBoom and share the link others to connect student work with a large audience.

Social media. Communication tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others gives classes access to virtually anyone with an Internet connection. Hashtags let students send messages to anyone searching for that specific keyword.

Example: Students can connect with authors, scientists, researchers, politicians, celebrities and more for unique learning experiences.

Video chat. The access from social media becomes even greater when audio and video are involved. Students can share with others around the globe while seeing facial expressions and verbal intonations of others.

Example: Classes can pair up with other classes around the world to work cooperatively on projects and share through Skype or Google Hangouts. Connect them to virtual tours with Google Connected Classrooms or Discovery Education’s virtual field trips.

Websites. These days, student work doesn’t have to be completed for an audience of one — the teacher. It can be posted on a free class website or a student e-portfolio website for employers or university admissions counselors to see.

Example: Students can create a free Weebly website and collect their best work on it to display.

Satellite imagery. Students can use detailed maps and photos taken from satellites to see anyplace in the world. They can compare and contrast where they live and see places they’ve always wanted to visit.

Example: Use Google Earth’s street-level view to take a virtual field trip of a famous location like Paris or London. Take it to the next level with World Wonders, collections of street-level view and images from breathtaking sites around the world.

[reminder]How else is technology revolutionizing education? [/reminder]

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  • Kate Hertz says:

    I love that techology helps me ask deeper and more personally relevant questions of my students more frequently. I can really focus on how/why and relevance of content rather than recall/awareness of trivial details.

  • […] a 1:1 technology school, I wasn’t sure I had the tools.  Sometimes, I just need somebody to explain it me like I’m ten years old. With […]

  • Troy Cockrum says:

    I have to say I respectfully disagree. Technology is not revolutionizing education. All the examples you gave, in my opinion, were substitutions for similar activities done previously. In order to revolutionize education, we have to change what the instructional design and environment looks like. I would agree that technology has helped certain practices evolve into better practices, but I wouldn’t use the term revolutionizing when learning theories research doesn’t support that.

    • John Bennett says:

      Sorry but I disagree with you. Repetition yes (see my earlier comments). But the others are much higher on the SAMR scale. The use of the technology enables revolutionary changes for education for sure. All too often, unfortunately, it’s substitution for sure; but it can -as the examples in the blog post suggest – be much more impactful.

      • Derek Moore says:

        Let me repeat what you have said. “The use of the technology enables revolutionionary change.” Who enables this use? Teachers do. Not technology.

        • John Bennett says:

          Agreed – but enabled with meaningful teacher driving questions, student choice in using technology is powerful. Students need to make responsible / justifiable choices to use technology for these meaningful situations. The bad approach is selecting technology and then scrambling to justify the choice – emphasis on the wrong part. I think we’re really in agreement!

  • I feel like Social Studies teachers live in the most exciting time! I’m teaching a literature class on the Holocaust next year and I’m super excited to see how I can use the Google Cultural stuff for them in a project. Don’t know how well it’ll mesh with iPads unfortunately. Might have to schedule some comp lab time.

  • John Bennett says:

    With regard to “Repetition,” I must say I’m really not a believer / supporter. I suppose, as you sort of suggest, using this among students voluntarily (or facilitated by a teacher in lowest grades) to learn core knowledge makes some good sense. BUT the teacher then assessing learning of that core knowledge should never be asking it to be “given back” as on Jeopardy.

    My choice would be “Variety.” Ramping up the real-world complexity (always keeping things capable), a variety of situations for which applying AND adding other information to address them will demonstrate core knowledge learning, practice and improve problem solving skills, and in general increase confidence in lifelong learning so important beyond formal education.

    • Matt Miller says:

      John — I like your take on repetition. When I look at this through the lens of a foreign language educator, I’m thinking that varied, comprehensible, interesting repetition of target structures to learn is essential for learning a new language. Through the lens of other areas of study, I think “variety” is a better concept for this … not just beating the same ideas into the ground over and over again, but (as you said) applying and adding in different contexts. Nicely done. Thanks for adding this important distinction!

      • John Bennett says:

        But even for foreign language learning, I’d say the variety of pieces used for reading comprehension in the language and the complexity associated with carrying on a conversation in the language are far more effective in language fluency than simply learning vocabulary and grammar.

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