In todays' world, technology is developing rapidly and we try to follow the novelties in every area. New generation is very interested in technological tools so in education, also we as teachers should use technology actively. Games, simulations and many technological tools are used in schools to increase visualization and attention of learners to lessons. At this point, there is also a beneficial technolgoical system which is a necessity in education, called "LMS" LMS is the abbreviation of Learning Management Systems. It is used in education to gather all information under a single roof. For example, all lesson materials, homeworks, videos, news and etc. are included in LMS so that every student can easily access here when the school is over. Moreover, there are many types of LMS but best 12 of them which are most used are in this link:
LMS is useful for both teachers and students also school administrators. For teachers, they can follow the process of students in a course and can see which student did the homework or not. Also, teachers add information about students grades, quizzes and create classes and add course materails here. Thanks to LMS, they can always access information about students. There are also many benefits for students. Since we live in tecnlogoy era, especially young learners use technology in every phase of their lives. They play with computers, cell phones, i-pads etc. Therefore, compared to teachers, students can easily adapt to LMS usage in education. Teachers turn students' technology interest to an advantage for education. Students can follow all course materails via LMS. For instance, there may be some students who usually forgets the homework. LMS is also beneficial for this type of students because they can easily access homeworks, quizzes and process of themselves in a course. For administrators, they can build files of students which are visible only for teachers and administrators. Then, they can access the background information of students in the school. For instance, in Turkey, "e-okul" is useful for this purpose.
To sum up, LMS is useful in K-12 system for both teachers and learners and also administrators. It is a new way in education and it will develop rapidly as technology does. In order to follow the novelties which are brought by technology to our lives, we as teachers should follow novelties. We shouldn't follow that : "todays' students will build our world's future".
Think about a school! Teachers use just direct instruction in courses and don’t follow any novelties in education or technology. What do you think about this type of class? Do you get bored or do you learn effectively in this type of class? In my opinion, you get bored because of lack of fun and visualization in the course. In order not to have such courses, we as teachers should start to follow up technology and use it in our lessons. There is a big reason to use technology: “We live in technology era and it is growing fast in today’s world. Students of this era are using technology more than us and will continue to use technology more in the future. Therefore, in the light of the article called “Using the technology of today, in the classroom today” by Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, Jennifer Gross and Jason Haas, I will try to explain the necessity of technology and how can we use it in the schools.
Students usually ask the question in the courses that “Why do we learn this and where do I use this knowledge?” We as teachers try to explain the real world conncetion of lessons but osmetimes it may not be enough explaination for students. At this point, we benefit from technological tools like games, simulations or web sites to make real world connection of lessons. Using technology in education provide effective understanding and vice versa. Therefore, educators should deveop themselves about effective technology use. Teachers should use technology to follow novelties in both education and world. More importantly, students can make their knowledge more meaningful and understand the apllication of their school knowledge in real life in different contexts.
Many students spend much time by using computer games. In order to benefit from this spended time, teachers can use digital games in school and get students’ attention to the courses. Students love games because there are competition and desire of success, desire to win the game and much visualization in the digital games so teachers should turn this situation to an advantage for the lessons.
Simulations are also examples of real life and they are like models of real world. Simulations differ from games at the point that simulations are more stable than games but there is more movement in the games and there is no win situation in the simulations. In my opinion, simulations are more beneficial for students because in the games, students can focus more on winning situation but in simulations they understand where they can use their school knowledge in real life and can internalize the knowledge.
Social networking also is a good way for technology embedded instruction. Students can share their opinions or project ideas in these sites. However, social networks can also be used for bad purposes like ridiculing with someone’s ideas. Social networking can be used properly when teachers and students have collaboration and when students don’t use these sources apart from the courses.
When it comes to use technolgy effectively in schools, of course there can be some obstacles. However, we as teachers can overcome these problems. Firstly, we should focus on “the context (school), the innovator (teacher), the innovation (project or tool) and the operator (students).1 Teachers should ask some questions to themselves about these four factors. Does these factors have prior knowledge? Is it appropriate for the school or students’ learning level? Is there any support for technolgy use in schools or not? etc. Teachers should be willing to use technological innovations in schools then they can overcome some obstacles.
There are four important tips for teachers: “explore- partner with a colleague- find additional supports.”2 Teachers should explore technology first and make trials at their home and then should use them in school. Also, they should collaborate with their colleagues from same of different departments. By doing so, they can motivate each other and technology use in schools increases. Finally, teachers can find additional supports. Teachers can develop some technological tools and get aid from some companies, foundations or instutitions so that they can develop themselves and it is beneficial for students. By using technological tools, effective and deep learning occur and students increase their attention to lessons and they internalize the knowledge with real life.
Think of a classroom that students only use a pencil and a notebook and teacher uses a blackboard and students just take notes on their notebooks. In every course, teacher uses this method. In this scenario, can you say that the instruction method is useful and beneficial for stıudents’ learning? In today’s conditions, we answer this question as “no” Because, our era is technology era and teachers cannot provide effective instruction without using technology in schools. Therefore, educational technology is usage of technology in educational process via using some applications in courses and facilitating students’ learning. Technology integration is usage of technology in some areas like education and instruction. When we think conditions of 21th century, educational technology and technology integration to education are crucial concepts.
In order to increase students’ learning in education, we as teachers should increase the use of educational technology in instruction. For instance, think that there are two different classes in a school and two teachers use different methods in math course. In the first class, the math teacher just writes formulas on the board and says students to memorize these formulas and solve some problems and finish the unit. In contrast to this teacher, the other math teacher firstly explains the real life connection of the math subject and shows some simulations on the internet and uses some computer applications related to the course subject and summarizes the course to students and finishes the course. In which class do students learn effectively? Of course, in the second class. As in the example situation, students learn best when they see the usage of their knowledge in real life and see some examples of the course that they learn.
We can make list the vital reasons for educational technology and technology integration to education. Thanks to technology integration:
· Students learn effectively.
· Students take active roles in learning process via using technology in courses.
· Technology increases students’ creativity in courses.
· Since students will have books in their computers thanks to technology, they don’t have to carry heavy books in their bags.
· Students think critically in problem solving.
· Students have opportunity to access their teachers outside of school.
· Students have opportunity to access many people to ask questions or to collaborate with them for learning.
In order to provide active and effective learning of students, teachers should use technology effectively in their classes so that students follow the novelties of information era and learn effectively and become active in learning process. In this process, teachers should be a guide for students and motivate their learning activity.