Technology on the Rise at IS Beijing
Traditionally, “technology” (or ICT) refers to computers, software, their peripherals, and the Internet being used as tools in the learning process. Other devices (smartphones, PDA’s, electronic readers, gaming, etc) are gaining popularity as network access and availability improves. One thing that we can certainly count on is that we can’t predict what technology tools will be available in the future. Because of this, we try to focus on the process of learning with technology rather than the tool itself. Many studies are being published on the benefit of teaching with technology. Teachers can create more engaging, differentiated lessons and assessments. Technology opens more avenues of communication, collaboration, and networking between teachers, students, and parents. Access to information from diverse perspectives, professionals, and media formats from around the world inform our decision making processes as we tackle real-world problems. And, it allows for students to be more creative and innovative in their problem solving and communication, a key quality that many universities and employers are looking for as the 21st century evolves. Being able to use technology effectively is a critical 21st century skill.
Many teachers have already taken steps to incorporate the use of technology in meaningful ways. Along with the now “traditional” use of computers for word processing, creating presentations, and facilitating online research, some teachers have been using wikis and social networking applications to better facilitate communication, collaboration, and activities outside of the classroom; YouTube videos are being used to visually enhance concepts being presented in class; collaborative projects are taking place with schools around the world via Skype, Google Docs, and VoiceThread. Last year a new ASA was created called High School Podcast which gives students the chance to create an audio news broadcast that can be downloaded or listened to directly from the Internet. More examples of technology integration are occurring every week.
With the creative inspiration of the teachers and the assistance of the Technology Integration Specialists, the meaningful use of technology as a tool and environment for teaching and learning will continue to grow here at ISB.