For years, school boards have worked to put learning devices into the hands of students, whether through carts, one-to-one or BYOD initiatives. By putting devices into the hands of students, schools can better ensure that students are prepared to use similar technology at further stages in life and make use of great online educational resources.
Another less-discussed benefit of educational devices and software is that you put the possibility of self-education into the hands of students. A pivotal moment in education can be when students individually acquire the ability to self-educate. Early in education, students need to be especially adept at receiving and following instructions, but when students attain the ability to teach themselves, they can be more successful in lifelong learning.
What do you think students identify as the source of knowledge or information? The teacher? The textbook?
The teacher and textbook are mediums of knowledge and information. Knowledge and information, moreover, come from our experience of the world. In providing students with educational devices and software, we provide them with a greater sense of connectedness to the world around them, so that they can seek out the sources of knowledge and information for themselves. Educators provide the essential role of a facilitator; they guide students on the journey of learning to identify information that is both relevant and reliable for their needs.
In putting devices into the hands of students, we provide a better way for students to learn self-sufficiency in learning.
No advancement is without risk, however, and it’s important to beware of the possible negative ramifications of trying devices into education. Here are just three:
While devices should be tools for learning, they shouldn’t be required for learning. Be sure to continue to integrate non-technical education in curriculum.
Prevent the abuse and misuse of learning devices and software with services like Gaggle Safety Management, so that technology doesn’t become a roadblock to education.
Strive for equal access to technical resources, so that you standardize curriculum and resources and so that students are unfairly privileged over others.