Monday, September 12, 2011

Benefits of Educational Technology

Benefits of Educational Technology

21st century technologies will require a new infrastructure within our educational system. As educators of digital natives, we must explore more meaningful and effective practices that will naturally motivate our students as well as foster the very technologies that will be embraced in a competitive global work force.

Past brain research theories have increased our understanding of child development information and developmentally appropriate practices. Now, through new technologies such as brain imaging, we are able to have an even more profound understanding of specific parts of the brain and their correlation to cognitive functions.

Research also supports the integration of educational technology as a beneficial method of facilitating instruction as well as enhancing student learning.
According to Dr. Wolfe, "to understanding learning, we must understand how it works in the brain." (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). Dr. Wolfe's research focuses on making connections. Her research defines the motor cortex as the controlling part of the brain with all movement, excluding reflexes. As dendrites receive information via the axon branch, electric impulses are created to make connections. Connections that are activated more frequently, will increase the potential effectiveness of that connection. Integrating educational technology-related experiences, will provide needed reinforcement practices that will allow students to make better connections.

Dr. Wolfe's second discussion of brain research and its relevance to learning identified four findings that are applied to classroom instruction. Our life experiences sculpt our brains. This knowledge will allow educators to understand that the importance of creating a classroom environment that will have a positive impact on their students' brain development. The human brain needs to identify the relevance of concepts being taught. Without purpose, information is not stored in the brain. As with Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, research shows that all human beings have different types of intelligences. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

Although some intelligences are more developed than others, experiences that address diverse learning styles will provide more meaningful connections. (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008) Exposing students to emotionally and meaningful learning experiences that are engaging, will deter students from traditional procedural or rote practices and improve students' declarative memory skills. This type of memory helps students have meaning and ownership of their learning.

Educational technology, along with the aforementioned research would benefit both educators and students. Technology provides instant motivation and elaborative experiences that allow students to make connections through familiar experiences of everyday technologies uses outside of the classroom. Online lessons, computer labs, blogs, and other multimedia presentations provide diverse learning styles that foster multiple intelligences as well as equip our students with problem-solving, analytical and life skill needed productive citizens who are capable of competing in an 21st century world.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program one: Understanding the brain [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology.

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 1: Theoretical Foundations

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program two: Brain research and learning [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology.

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