The Impact of Technology on the Teaching and Learning Process

The Impact of Technology on the Teaching and Learning Process

Lisa A. Finnegan (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2838-8.ch011


The teaching and learning process of traditionally run classrooms will need to change to meet up with the requirements under the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Under the ESSA, the infusion of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework into the teaching and learning environment sets the stage so that instruction and assessment support all levels of learners. Along with UDL, ESSA supports the inclusion of technology-rich learning environments to prepare students for 21st century problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Critical to preparing students comes an understanding of who the 21st century learners are. The current teaching and learning process involving the use of technology continues to hold students back as passive observers of content. Merging technology and the UDL framework in the classroom will be an avenue to meeting the learning needs and wants of 21st century students.
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Teachers, now more than ever, have their work cut out for them! What other field or profession has been so scrutinized by politicians, outside professionals, and the general community? The teaching-learning process (TLP) of past decades will no longer work in the current time period or the future. Effective teaching is identified as being an art and a science (Marzano, 2007); but where does that leave learning. An effective TLP means that not only is there an art and science to the teaching; but ultimately, there should be an art and science to the learning as well. If an artful and scientific approach to teaching and learning is the direction to be taken, what then, does teaching and learning look like in the 21st century and beyond? As of the present moment, two decades have passed from the start of the 21st century and within these past two decades technology advancements and applications have continued to evolve daily. The TLP of the 21st century requires teachers to not only teach the state adopted standards; but also support the social, emotional, and intellectual development of the culturally, linguistically, racially, and socio-economically diverse students within their classroom walls. Teachers are no longer preparing their students under college and career ready standards to become highly functional and productive citizens of the nation; but rather to become citizens of the world that are diversely skilled, problem-solving, tech-savvy, innovative and creative.

Wiggins and McTighe (2007) state that a teacher’s

role, behavior, and strategies must stem deliberately from an established mission and goals, the curriculum, and agreed-upon learning principles. In other words, the particular approaches, methods, and resources employed are not primarily subjective “choices” or mere matters of style. They logically derive from the desired student accomplishments and our profession's understanding of the learning process. We teach to cause a result. Teaching is successful only if we cause learning related to purpose. (p. 129)

Identifying the purpose of learning for the 21st century learner is the place that the TLP should begin. The TLP in the 21st century must be rejuvenated to cause a result that aligns with a purpose of meeting desired student accomplishments. That result and purpose mean achieving the accomplishments that the students themselves aspire to and the understanding that the profession’s learning process must align with that aspiration. The rejuvenated TLP takes into account student learning outcome desires and finds a path to deliver them. Teachers, in the rejuvenated TLP, are the monitors of the path rather than the pavers. Teachers inform students through instruction, support their construction of knowledge through questioning and probing activities that facilitate understanding, and coach students in the complex process of deepening their understanding to apply what they have learned (Wiggins & McTighe, 2007). To arrive at this deepening level of understanding, the way teachers instruct, question, and arrange probing activities must provide a fit for a different generation of learners’ needs in the 21st century. Of significance to the TLP are changes in education and the educational environment within which learning occurs.

What is seen as the biggest educational change is actually occurring outside classroom walls rather than in them (Prensky, 2010). Students of the 21st century are actively learning through their peers using social media such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat or many other cellular apps (Prensky, 2010). They are identified as the iGeneration or digital natives. From the moment of their birth, technology has been a part of their life and they want something different than the generations of learners before them. Prensky (2010) states that

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Theories: Philosophies of how learning happens.

Technology Rich Environments: A learning environment that promotes the use of technology based on the students interests and skills and not based on teacher selection or district provided technology.

Brain-Based Learning: Learning that connects the functions of the brain as an optimal way of learning.

Multiple Literacies: A variety of ways that individuals can access and share information.

Engagement: A point at which a student is interested and becomes an active participant in their learning.

Digital Native: An individual that has been born in the age of technology.

Connected Teacher: A teacher that collaborates with fellow teachers.

Digital Divide: A groups of students that do not have access to technology.

iGeneration: Interchangeable with a digital native. A person born within the age of technology.

Digital User Divide: A lack of creative use of technology by students such that they become passive learners through observation only.

Web 2.0 Tool: A technology tool available through the internet that provides a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and collaborate with their peers.

Universal Design for Learning: A framework designed to support all learners by providing option in how material is presented, how student share their knowledge, and how students engage in learning.

Partnering Pedagogy: The philosophy that both the teacher and the student partner together for learning to occur.

Teaching-Learning Process (TLP): The instruction, feedback, and assessment loop that results in learning.

Connected Learner: A student that is digitally collaborating with their peers.

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