OpEd: Technology Integration in Education
Opinion Editorial by 3Seventy Marketing Intern, Ciara Cook
I remember everything from the comic sans riddled PowerPoints that I learned to make in elementary school to the Microsoft office basics in freshman year of high school, and beyond the basics with the 2 mandatory business computer classes in college. As a millennial college student, technology has always been a necessary part of my education. Now, education technology (EdTech) has grown into an unstoppable force that is solidifying technology integration in education. For me personally, EdTech has 2 main components: first is how it affects classroom interactions, while the second is how I use technology to be a student outside the classroom.
How Technology Integration is Changing the Classroom
More and more, I have noticed my professors slowly change their position about cell phones in class. While I still have old-fashioned professors who prohibit cell phone use in class, more professors are looking to utilize mobile devices to benefit my learning. My English composition professor encouraged us to keep our cell phones handy so we could google random facts behind the stories we were reading. I have been in various lectures and presentations where mobile usage is encouraged through polling and other audience participation.
This semester marks a time when my cell phone is directly tied to my grades. Prior to the start of my marketing class this semester, I had to register for a platform called TopHat. TopHat is a teaching platform that allows the professor to add participation material into their lectures and also operate as a classroom CRM system for managing grades and keeping up with attendance.
One of marketing professor’s classroom pain points is that he wanted to have an interactive classroom but, his students would often forget their classroom clickers needed to make it happen. So my professor uses TopHat to give daily, in-class quizzes, conduct marketing surveys, and take attendance. And, to encourage lecture attendance, these quizzes don’t count unless you are in class to text-in the the randomly generated attendance code shown on the lecture screen. My entire marketing classroom interaction can be done with my cell phone.
EdTech is Shaping the 360 Degree Student
One of the best things about technology integration in education is that it can help students beyond the classroom. There are so many educational CRM systems and apps that help manage student life outside of lectures. I know I would be lost without my university’s mobile app. It allows me to do everything from checking on grades, seeing my class schedule (that I still haven’t memorized), checking shuttle routes on campus, and staying up-to-date with the latest campus news . Apps are now common place for many universities and colleges. It is almost like having your entire school right in the palm of your hand.
And it isn’t just university apps that make college life easier. EdTech also helps make collaboration with classmates and campus group members a lot easier as well. All of my study and project groups were conducted with GroupMe, which is a messaging app that allows people to form and manage their own specialized groups.
For me, the best part about educational technology is that it provides a tangible aspect to learning that can be integrated with traditional methods. It makes being tech-savvy a norm and not just a special skill. I look forward to seeing how it will move classrooms forward in the future. Maybe my younger sisters will have virtual reality or robots as a classroom norm.