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The 21st century has seen technology increasingly becoming an integral part of the modern classroom. The modern teacher is therefore required to recognize and understand the importance of the various types of technology that might be encountered in the teaching process. Technology enhances both teaching and learning by presenting essential learning tools such as computers and tablets to the modern teacher and his student. When such tools are used effectively, they can help expand course offerings, teacher and student experiences, support round the clock learning while building the necessary 21st-century skills, increasing student engagement and motivation and accelerating learning.
21st Century Teaching and Learning
The 21st-century student's life revolves around print, electronic, digital, broadcast as well as news media. Research shows that the increased access to technology by the 21st-century students makes them to naturally incline to it to the extent that they expect it to enhance their learning and perform whatever other functions required. According to Johnson and McElroy (2010), the changing role of the teacher calls for personalized instructions and presentation of relevant information to the student. An effective 21st-century teacher is required to create a safe and engaging learning environment by teaching students the important skills in critical thinking and decision-making, creativity and innovation, effective communication and teamwork.
The introduction of the National Educational Technology Standards for students and teachers (NETS-S and NETS-T) reflects a significant shift in the manner in which educators perceive technology with a particular focus how technological equipment can be effectively applied in the classroom to improve learning (Maloy et al., 2011).
Educational Technology Issues and Trends
Klopfer et al. (2009) recognize the serious implications of emerging technologies on the modern teaching and learning environment. Advances in technologies including simulations, digital gaming, and social networking tools have added educational value across most industries thus demonstrating the powerful learning opportunities and benefits they afford. A 2015 study by Ghavifekr and Rosdy posited that using technology in the classroom helps the modern students to stay active and engages them more thus providing them with a better learning experience. According to the report, the introduction of ICT into the classroom enables the students to remain attentive and engaged, broadens their knowledge paradigm and enables them to gather information and effectively relate it to what they learn in class. Educational technologists encounter barriers in ICT planning, organizing students, resources and dealing with some of the ethical concerns regarding the integration of technology in education. Students, on the other hand, are unable to conduct effective research on given topics and have trouble determining which sources are credible or adequate.
Teacher Implementation of Technology and Digital Identity
As educators, teachers use technology to develop students’ basic knowledge and skills while ensuring that they develop into responsible citizens and lifelong learners. Exposure of students to modern educational technologies improves their productivity and arms them with lifelong competencies. Similarly, preservice teachers apply technology in the learning and development of 21st-century skills among students. Some of the technologies used include a presentation and graphic organizer software, projectors, video streaming, and weblogs among others. Some of the goals of using 21st-century technology include enabling the teacher to plan and design effective lessons, maximize student learning, facilitate assessment and enhance productivity as well as professional practice.
In conclusion, effective learning and teaching is supposed to be fluid and adaptive to contemporary culture. An effective teacher needs to understand the core skills, competencies and knowledge and present them in a way that the student finds relevant. Using the technological tools effectively enables the dissemination of the necessary 21st-century skills to the students.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2000). National educational technology standards for teachers: Preparing teachers to use technology. ISTE (Interntl Soc Tech Educ.
Johnson, B., & McElroy, T. M. (2012). The changing role of the teacher in the 21st century. Teachers Net Gazette, 9(10).
Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., Groff, J., & Haas, J. (2009). Using the technology of today in the classroom today: The instructional power of digital games, social networking, simulations and how teachers can leverage them. The Education Arcade, 1, 20.
Mayes, R., Natividad, G., & Spector, J. M. (2015). Challenges for educational technologists in the 21st century. Education Sciences, 5(3), 221-237.
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