Technology Enhances Learning

I think technology closes the achievement gap, especially for those learners who may need accommodations due to various disabilities. I agree with others’ opinions that technology is a tool, to be beneficial only if wielded appropriately. Teachers have the responsibility to ensure students have access to any tools that may enhance successful learning.  I have personally seen a student nurse using a, “talk-to-text” phone app in a clinical setting, due to severe dyslexia.  Without this technological tool, she most likely would not have succeeded through nursing education.

Assistive Technology LD

Other technological tools that students use in the Practical Nursing Program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic include a ‘high fidelity simulation lab’. This is the use of a computerized mannequin as a patient in a simulated hospital environment, that provides students a practice run through real nursing scenarios. A 2012 article from the ‘Open Nursing Journal‘, states that simulation leads to improved interpersonal communication skills, and to improve students’s critical thinking and self-confidence.

I think that cell pZombie Apocalypse techhone use has gotten a particularly bad rap because of ‘texting while driving’ accidents, or improper use of phones socially or professionally.  If one associates technology only with cell phone use, it is no wonder that they might be opposed to using technology in general, in the classroom.  In the classroom, students may be distracted by using cellphones; however without a cellphone those same students most likely would distract themselves in other ways. As mentioned in our last class, students need to learn etiquette of technology use such as not answering their phone in class, or turning ringer to silent.

Other forms of technology in the classroom may include the use of Powerpoint, YouTube videos, or in class surveys such as surveymonkey or wordcloud to promote learning.  In the Practical Nursing Program, we incorporate technology in adult education in many different ways including online courses, online lab preparation exams, phone apps like, ‘nurse central’, and smart boards, to name a few.

Nurse Central

In elementary and high schools, teachers should try to incorporate more use of cell phones in positive, educational ways, which would take away the thrill of having to hide it.  I remember I had one teacher in high school that offered pillows for students who would rather sleep in his class.  That way, he said, they weren’t disturbing others.  This would be a similar approach in the classroom, if students were not forced to hide using their cellphone.

Meme Texting in class

On a news website, ‘The Telegraph’, a 2016 study proposes that kids are so addicted to using cell phones that taking them away actually will cause, ‘smartphone separation anxiety’ so high as to affect learning and even grades! It goes further to state that ‘technology breaks’ should be offered in the classroom to lower anxiety and actually help to regulate cellphone use. Completely banning cellphones in the classroom is not the answer.

In the Practical Nursing Program, we are moving all course exams to be completed using personal electronic devices instead of written on paper.  Students cannot use smartphones to ‘write’ exams, but instead can use personal electronic devices like tablets.  They download an application called, ‘ExamSoft’, which locks down any other computer use during exam time. The rationale is that it this is more realistic as the Practical Nursing national licensure exam is written electronically.

The younger generation is completely immersed in technology, so I feel it is our responsibility as teachers to show students the right way, or etiquette of technology use.  We have to find out what is most relevant and beneficial to students by getting back to basics and actually asking them, such as through surveys. More research has to be done to discover how technology may be best incorporated and beneficial in the classroom.

Mobile App Wish list college

I think that to stay relevant and therefore engage students in learning, teachers must use technology to maximize and enhance learning.

Technology has unlimited potential benefits! 

7 thoughts on “Technology Enhances Learning

  1. Excellent post! I completely agree with your point about students using technology to assist learning disabilities as well as lessen the gaps. We have a high EAL population at my high school with many students coming straight from foreign countries. Many of them are given iPads and other tools to help translate instructions and become more involved in the courses they take. It is also so cool to see in action! I also think it’s a great idea that you are incorporating so much tech into the nursing program. My question is who provides the tablets for the exams? Are students expected now to have their own personal device on top of tuition and other fees? It’s a great idea, and I wish I had the resources to integrate something like that at the high school level but cost is always an issue for us plus, responsibility of the said devices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Shelby! Thanks for your comments. Sounds like your high school is also incorporating lots of technology, which is great when it’s being put into use and beneficial for students’ learning! As for your question, our students are asked to purchase a personal electronic device at the beginning of the program, however we do provide extra devices for anyone who doesn’t have or is having technical difficulties during an exam. So far, we implemented the electronic exams just this past year, and only a couple students have required the Practical Nursing program to provide a device. I agree that it could definitely get expensive to provide devices, especially when they need continual updates and maintenance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. catherineready

    I enjoyed reading your post and learning about a different world of technology use in the classroom (through nursing). As an elementary school teacher, I don’t often see cellphones as a distraction, but there are students that use assistive technology that greatly improves their learning and communication experience. Also, I completely agree with the comments on not banning cellphone use (especially in high school). The comments on smartphone separation anxiety are very real and I have experienced this with my own niece (Grade 9 student). Like you said, it is our duty as educators to teach appropriate use of personal technology!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lori!

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. You bring up many, many good points about technology use in the classroom. Right off the hop I agree that technology, when we use this TOOL correctly, has huge potential to lessen the achievement gap because it gives kids options and it takes many disadvantages away for kids who don’t learn, for whatever reason, in the conventional way.

    I also loved how you touched on the idea of digital citizenship. There is no excuse that these important skills are not being taught so that kids can use technology safely and to its full potential in all facets of their lives. It was super interesting to hear about the nursing programs are integrating technology. 😀

    Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the though provoking post Lori. Cellphones are getting a bad rap right now. I do not foresee this getting better or if ever. I think the times are different now than they used to be, and that’s not good or bad, just different. Our parents grew up without computers, we grew up with them. We grew up without social media, our kids will grow up with it. Things change and evolve. Our kids will grow up just fine….but our work is cut out for us. Digital citizenship is key, across the life span!

    Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melinda, for your comment! I agree that times are different now and that’s not god or bad, but just different. Its amazing to think how far technology has come in just a few generations! Digital citizenship is definitely key!


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