By Marcela De Vivo
Technology has completely infiltrated our everyday lives.
Playing video games are an even more important role in the lives of both children and adults each year.
The amount of technology used in the classroom in order to teach children is also growing by leaps and bounds.
While educational computer programs like math and word games have existed for years, the availability and effectiveness of educational games is much higher than it has ever been.
The way children use technology in their studies is also changing with the invention of cell phone and app games, both of which weren’t accessible 10 years ago.
That means that children have more resources when it comes to using technology to learn at home – something that’s relatively new for elementary, middle and high school age students.
The Benefits of Gaming Technology in Education
Many educators believe that gaming technology plays a positive role in most children’s educations at all age and grade levels.
The benefits of using technology in education include:
• Kids are more interested in learning when they can actually have fun learning.
For many kids, using a tablet to work on math problems is much more enjoyable than sitting at a quiet desk in the library with a textbook, pencil and piece of paper.
• Children that are exposed to technology may be more productive and prepared for work later on in life.
Many jobs require basic understanding of technology, and that isn’t likely to change in the future.
• Children have access to the same educational materials all over the world, allowing for better educational materials in some areas.
Not to mention that this could potentially level out the playing field in country to country competition over value of education.
• Some children learn better when seeing moving graphics and images.
Educational games also include audio, which can help some children understand and memorize complicated or difficult material.
The Use of Technology in Classrooms
Technology is becoming more and more common in classrooms.
Part of the reason that technology is so prominent in many classrooms is because it’s cheaper to maintain and use than other education materials.
Educational games can also be played in groups, which allows for interaction and involvement with peers.
Most educational games are supervised by teachers as well, allowing children to ask questions and pick up information that they wouldn’t through playing a game alone.
This combination of teacher help and engaging educational games is one that is very effective for many children because they are
A. in a group setting
B. they are learning actively through interaction as opposed to a lecture
C. the teacher has a virtual aid that will keep students learning even if they are working with another group for a while.
Funding for Technology in Classrooms
Budgets for most schools are being cut because of economic turmoil but, despite that schools seem to still be adding technology, leaving many to wonder how they can afford it.
In some states, spending on technology was slated to increase, partially because of the Enhancing Education Through Technology program, actually put in place in 2002 by George W. Bush.
Other places are simply spending more on technology than other educational materials because they believe they are far more beneficial.
Some financial institutions are finding funding through private donations – partially from major technological companies like Google and Apple.
Technology Has Changed Teaching Methods
When students sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture while taking notes or working on problems, they are in a passive role. They’re sitting, listening and following the teacher.
When a student is playing a game, they are in an active learning role – meaning that they are in charge of the material that they are learning.
That means that students can slow down or speed up in their lesson based on their understanding of the material.
In a classroom setting, a teacher can’t slow down because one student out of 20 doesn’t fully understand the material.
At best, the teacher can try to help the student outside of class.
A teacher can’t speed up and spend less time explaining basic concepts to one advanced child if the other 19 students don’t fully comprehend the material, either.
Educational games allow students to work at their own pace and find a rhythm that works for them when it comes to learning.
Technology Helps Overcrowded Classrooms
In some schools, particularly those that are underfunded, class sizes are so large that it’s hard for a teacher to give an appropriate amount of individual time to each student.
Added technology in the classroom allows all students to be fully engaged in a one-on-one fashion while getting the same education as the rest of the students.
Technology also frees up the teacher to help students who really need help with a subject while students that are learning at an appropriate level continue to advance as well.
Some even believe that as technology progresses we will need fewer teachers for classes, allowing for better education in remote and impoverished areas.
Ultimately there is no limit to what technology can do for education all over the world.
It’s current use as a supplement to teachers is a huge success.
Marcela De Vivo works for ParkingGames.com and is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles are. Her articles cover topics from creating innovative blog content to finding new ways of better educating children.
image: © Brad Flickinger