Technology can be both an instructional tool and a learning tool in the classroom. According to Orey (2015I), technology can be used as an instructional tool when it is used to present information, while technology as a learning tool is focused on getting your students to use the technology to become active learners. This idea of active learning is what a 21st-century classroom should be about. The shift of a classroom even five years ago is from memorization to problem-solving because of technology (Fieberg, 2016e).
Teachers know that if it is clear that technology tools will help students achieve the goal, teachers will implement and use those tools (Schrum, 2005). Nearpod, for example, is a great way to implement technology as an instructional tool. Here the students are watching your presentation from their own computers with surveys, questions, and 360 images embedded within this presentation. On the flip side, there is StoryBoardThat that allows the students to then use technology to create their own representation using images of their learning. Each of these technology tools is used to enhance instructional material and create student learning.
Both technology instructional tools and learning tools create engagement and learning in the classroom. While there are many technology tools out there, it is important to choose the tool that is best suited for your students. With the right tool, your students will succeed and become active learners as they take hold of their own learning. With a tool that is not user-friendly or geared toward your age group, students will become unsuccessful and overwhelmed too quickly. Instructional tools help introduce students to technology and to become familiar with it. I have a very tech-centered classroom, when I first introduced my first technology tool to my second graders I have many succeed as they were used to technology, however, I had one boy, in particular, that has no technology at home. He became frustrated and his confidence level dropped as he struggled much more than the rest of my students. However, over time, and with a bit more guidance from myself and his peers, he is now become a tech expert and is enjoying the technology. First, it is important to use technology as an instructional tool, and when your students are ready, move them onto using it as a learning tool to become active learners.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2015l). Technology: Instructional tool vs. learning tool [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2016e). Integrating technology tools for instruction and learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Schrum, L. (2005). Technology as a Tool to Support Instruction. Retrieved from Education World, http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech004.shtml.