Reuters’ photographers recently published a photo series that highlighted students in their classrooms around the world. Some sat dutifully in rows, others wore crisp uniforms. Some students had that bright, eager look in their eyes of enthusiasm and excitement. They were ready for their school day, ready to learn. No matter where kids are around the world, the story is the same: Education is critical to a child’s success in life.
We live in a time of extreme stimulation. With everything from televisions, mobile phones, email, social media, and more, we are constantly receiving information. Our children are no different. They use the same technologies as we do – and often more frequently than we do, with more flair, know-how and less inhibition. They are growing up consuming and sharing – files, videos, games, anything digital. On any given day, American teenagers (age 13 to 18) average almost 9 hours and tweens (age 8 to 12) almost 6 hours’ worth of entertainment media daily (Common Sense Media Census, Fall 2015). What we adults consider to be distractions have become part of our kids’ natural daily flow.
But knowing how to use these devices isn’t enough. To prepare kids for this world and their future means evolving education and instructional strategies to match the times our children are growing up in, while also teaching them good digital citizenship skills. Preparing our kids for the workforce isn’t just a matter of exposing them to the technology, tools and devices. It’s teaching them how to best make use of education technology to think, solve problems, find creative solutions, and to collaborate with others.
When students are actively engaged in deep learning and take responsible for their own learning, success follows. In today’s classroom, this could happen through a variety of classroom scenarios such as whole class learning, small group learning, individual learning or a combination of all of these. For students, learning happens anywhere: inside and outside the classroom, with a parent or with classmates, and in common areas like libraries.
Today, our students have more access to technology than ever before, yet the research indicates we are far from seeing any significant educational gains (OECD Report: Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, Fall 2015). This does not mean that it can’t work, it just means that it hasn’t yet – a new approach is needed. We have found it requires built-for-education hardware and software that allows for the high-yield teaching and learning practices we want to enable (TTL research). It is technology-enabled instructional best practices, where students will connect deeply with their learning and find their voice easily and naturally in the classroom. It is up to us to create the environments where kids will flourish by giving them the tools and skills they need for their future.
See how SMART’s education solutions enable these types of learning environments in this video:
Check on Giancarlo’s webinar on this topic by going here.
- How Education Technology Helps Students Flourish - February 8, 2016
- Moving Beyond Pockets of Excellence: Defining a Path - January 6, 2015
- Moving Beyond Pockets of Excellence: Understanding High-Quality Use - December 15, 2014
- Moving Beyond Pockets of Excellence: The Implementation Challenge - December 8, 2014
- SMART’s Ed Strategist: Meet Giancarlo - August 1, 2014