What is Instructional Technology?
- Instructional technology involves using an assortment of teaching tools to enhance student learning. Past classroom technology included transparencies and overhead projectors, film strips and projectors, and slideshows. In today's classroom, these tools may include a range of items, from calculators and PowerPoint presentations, to laptops and other electronic devices.
In the virtual or e-learning environment, instructional technology encompasses computer-based courses, online resources, and synchronous (real time or direct) and asynchronous (indirect) teaching and learning. Synchronous learning requires participation in events such as live discussions, chat sessions, or real-time lectures. Asynchronous learning materials are available online at the learner’s convenience, and include such items as assignments, resources, discussion boards, and previously recorded lectures or presentations.
Technology in the classroom has changed dramatically over the last 20 years with the increase in use of mobile devices and the utilization of information acquisition from the internet. Many schools are taking advantage of and seeking ways to blend the learning environment. This leads to the implementation of virtual, digital, or e-learning opportunities. Students in the 21st Century are expecting access to instruction and classroom resources in a 24/7 environment.
How Instructional Technology Enhances Education
Instructional technology is more than the implementation of digital textbooks. The digital age has brought more and more technology to the forefront in regards to technology access in the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education recognized the importance of incorporating technology in the classroom when it released its National Educational Technology Goals in 2000.
According to various reports and highlighted in the previously mentioned government report, instructional technology provides the following benefits and outcomes:
- Increased access to ongoing, updated information and knowledge
- Acquisition of information literacy
- Elevated retention rate of materials studied
- Improved comprehension of difficult concepts
- Higher test scores
- Preparedness for the workforce
Blended Learning provides more access for students to learn through the use of digital medium and cloud computing. Over the last decade we have worked to increase access to devices throughout our school district (K-12).
Cambridge-Isanti Schools has a 1:1 model with Chromebooks in grades 3-12. Students in grades 3-5 use the Chromebooks in their classrooms. Students in grades 6-12 bring their Chromebooks home, which provides them with the following blended learning benefits:
- 24/7 access to curriculum and instruction through the use of learning management systems (Google Classroom and Schoology)
- Further utilization of individualized learning paths and differentiation
- Impacting lives through relationships as modern educators who create a dynamic learning experience for students.