Mini Challenge # 1:Given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children’s future, is it really ok to allow teachers to choose whether or not they incorporate modern technologies into their instruction?

21st century is an era of information explosion, the pace of life is increasing with technological advancements. Considerable sum of information is updated every day, even every minute!

Therefore, to tell students what to learn is not enough. The essence of education nowadays is to teach students HOW TO LEARN. In order to help students equip themselves to be more competitive in the future, we should foster students’ ability of making decisions and choices. Students’ initiative, problem-solving skills and interactive role in their environment should be fostered by teachers who guide with intention and a passion for learning.

In my opinion, I think it’s advisable for teachers to incorporate modern technologies into their instruction. Technologies can help to…

1.     Create an energetic, creative and student-center learning environment

Students can learn via different perceptions when teaching is integrated with the multi-media (text, graph and video). Besides, students can be guided to use some specific software for learning. For example, spreadsheet can be used in Math class so that students can see the chart immediately. Students can also use Geometer’s Sketch Pad to figure out the variation of the geometric figures. It interests students to learn and have a deeper impression.

Technology can also be used as the communication tool for teachers and students. E-mail communication is the most popular. Teachers collect students’ opinions and response, which encourages students to share their learning experience.

2.     Provide more accesses to learn

Teachers can post different kinds of learning materials on the E- learning platform. Learning resources can easily be reached and useful hyperlinks recommended by teachers can also help students to diversify learning experience, to gain knowledge and to broaden worldview. It’s time saving and money saving!

3.      Provide personalized learning and to enable continuous and lifelong learning

Students can search things that they’re interested in and free to pursue their passions in their own way and own pace. Students have more flexibility to learn and to control their own learning. Students are more willing to learn; they enjoy learning and become a self-motivated learner. They can also use some social networks to exchange ideas and to learn something new. Therefore, using technology can motivate and inspire students to learn!

4.     Foster the ability to deal with large amounts of data effectively

In order to get some useful information on the net, students have to search, to select, to analyze, and to apply. It improves critical thinking and decision making for every student. Getting a habit of repeating the same process, students can learn more effectively. They also get a chance to generate the knowledge by their own and express their ideas.

5.      Diagnose the individual difference

Online questionnaires can be used as a tool to investigate students’ learning and what they are interested in. Specific online tests and study plan for different students on the E-learning platform helps to diagnose the individual difference. Students learn according to their tailored study plan, online system records students’ learning process. For example, the time spent on exercises, online tests and the test results etc. All the cumulated data will be recorded and thus teachers may have a better understanding of students’ learning process, which helps teachers to assist students with their learning and modify study plans that fit different students.

6.      Provide effective teaching

Establishing an online teaching community can help teachers exchange ideas, data, solutions towards some problems, share teaching experiences and inspire each other, it improves the teaching quality.

However, teachers should be careful when incorporate modern technologies into instruction. For example, when and where the information technology should be used to enhance the learning outcomes? The multi-media teaching material, online learning resources and students’ response should be considered as part of the class. We ought to avoid overlapping the learning activities so as not to cause students’ too much workload. Only when information technology integrated with teaching and learning appropriately, can it create an effective teaching and improve students’ performance. Moreover, students should be reminded how to make good use of the technologies and avoid surfing on some illegal and inappropriate website.

To conclude, from the above we know that there are many advantages of incorporating technologies into instruction. Students think critically while selecting and analyzing the data, it provides access for students to learn more and to broaden their worldview, and it enable continue and life-long learning. On the other hand, teacher can use information technologies to evaluation students learning process to measure and improve students’ performance. Besides, teachers can exchange ideas and thoughts so as to make an effective teaching and lead to continuous improvement across our entire education system.  

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