Currently, inside and outside the classroom. When used


Currently,
technology plays a significant role in society
and education is no exception. Its role to make tasks
easier is changing the game on how students are learning and how teachers are
teaching. The usage of technology in education is a gateway to a brighter future because of its high
accessibility. Students nowadays have
access to many types computing devices to help aid them inside and outside the
classroom. When used appropriately, technology can be a powerful implement to transform education by helping enhance
relationships between educators and students, reinvent methods to learning and
communicating, reduce gaps in equity in those
with disabilities and accessibility in those with an economic
disadvantage, and create learning experiences that will meet the needs of all
students.

Teachers are an essential
part of learning and as technology
becomes incorporated into education, it is modifying
the role of a teacher. Technology offers the opportunity for teachers to become
more collaborative and extend learning beyond the classroom and with the use of technology, it increases
teacher-student relationships. Noticeboards and education communication apps such
as Edmodo or Remind, are tools many educators use to communicate with students.
Due to technology, a new media is created to instruct students and educators can now have the capability to design
an engaging learning experience. This is presented in the use of the computer
game Minecraft. Jeffery Adam, Professor Jessica Bayliss, Karen Yager, and Andrew
Weeding are all educators who incorporated this open-ended game to help engage
in authentic learning (West & Bleiber, 2003).  The use of Minecraft: Education Edition is a versatile
and collaborative platform which educators use for all subject areas (Minecraft.edu). It helps
build on an idea that is familiar to many
and allows teachers to capture students interests as they learn.

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Technology changes
a traditional learning environment into a more active learning environment. The
use of interactive educational games, websites, participation clickers,
laptops, tablets, etc. have been used to engage students and incorporate
technology into the classroom making learning livelier.  Nowadays students can take notes
electronically during class, share notes with others or submit assignments to a
professor by using cloud-based tools. Access to valuable online content from
approved educational helping sites such as Khan Academy, TED-ED, Clutch Prep,
and the availability of various tools for research such as online library
databases (Tausend) enables personalized
pathways for learning that are more engaging through active and collaborative
learning activities.

According to John
King, U.S. Secretary of Education, “One of the most important aspects of
technology in education is its ability to level the field of opportunity for
students,” (U.S. Department of Education, 3). Technology in education closes the achievement gap and eliminates obstacles
related to equity and accessibility. In education, accessibility refers
to access to content and educational activities
for all learners (5). This can be illustrated
by an analogy
of public businesses. Many businesses include features such as ramps, automatic
doors, elevators, or braille writing plastered
on walls. This ensures customers that
everyone is welcomed. In comparison, features such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, enlarged font sizes, color
contrast, dictionaries, and glossaries are built into educational technology to
make learning accessible to everyone. More importantly,
assistive technology, such as alternate response systems, alternative keywords,
and testing accommodations supports
students with disabilities in accessing learning. In addition to enabling
students with disabilities to use content and participate in activities, the
concepts also apply to accommodating individuals learning needs, such as International
Students, students in rural communities, or from economically disadvantaged
homes. 

In education, equity
refers to “students’ access to educational
opportunities with a focus on race, ethnicity, or national origin; sex; sexual
orientation or gender identity or expression; disability; English language
ability; religion; socioeconomic status; or geographical location” (5). Technology
helps improve the fairness of educational output through many Federal education
programs. Programs such as the federal E-rate program has made billions of
dollars available to provide discounted high-speed wireless access in schools
across the country (fcc.gov).

As technology continues
to advance it will be able to make it possible for those with a disadvantage to interact with digital learning
resources in ways that would be impossible before. However, many issues still
stand with technology in education. Today there are still challenges with
educational equity. Rory Kennedy’s documentary Without a Net: The Digital Divide in America follows how some schools
in America still remain woefully underfunded, that kids from “wealthy” neighborhoods
have better facilities, and how “poverty” schools contributes to poverty in our
nation. Narrated by Jamie Foxx, the film enumerates on the technology front,
every student needs their own electronic devices and that those who must share
and can’t take devices home are handicapped. This film is a great way to see
the big picture about this divide (The Digital Divide). Many institutions
have to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
policies which require students to use their own technology. The problem with
this is that some students’ families cannot afford the devices. This creates concerns with a
“homework gap” between students whose internet connections at home are slow or
non-existent, a problem common in rural and underserved communities, and those
with an efficient internet connection. Those
with sufficient internet may encounter a digital divide between students who
use technology to create, design, build, explore, and collaborate and those who
simply use technology to consume media passively. Without intervention and
attention to the way technology is used for learning, the digital use divide
could grow.

Through technology
the idea of education changes. Its helpfulness to strengthen teacher-student
relationships and create an active environment where students can use their
interest are key pieces necessary to realize the transformation made possible
by technology in education. Although the presence of technology does not ensure
total equity and still presents a digital divide in learning, it still has the
power to lower barriers to both in ways that were previously impossible. No
matter their perceived abilities or geographic locations, all learners can
access resources, experiences, planning tools, and information that can set
them on a path to for achievement that was unimaginable generations ago.

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