As educators, our goal is to improve student learning inside the classroom using the tools and resources available to use. Technology is enviably becoming more present in our daily lives and education system. However, Cox (2013, p. 85) argues that the effectiveness of using the devices for learning still requires more research.
Cox (2013, p.85) suggests that more research should be done to look at the differences between formal and informal uses of technology for learning and the difference between them. One of the resources becoming more and more popular is the use of technology in the formal setting of a classroom. What was once only accessible in higher education, has made its way down into primary school classes (Cox, p.88)
Due to the high rate of changing technology, research struggles to keep up with the rate of change. There are so many new technology tools and resources becoming available for teachers and students every year that there is no way to properly conduct research on the effectiveness for everyone.
In addition to the change of technology tools, the role of teachers and learners continues to evolve. Through 21st century learning, teachers are transitioning more towards the role of a facilitator as students are able to construct their own learning more readily with access to the internet through their devices. Teaching has changed from a directed model towards a constructivist approach with technology supporting this movement (Roblyer & Doering, p. 46).
As technology continues to evolve, so does the research to determine if integrating technology actually enhances the educational experience. Cox (2012) argues this point by stating that it is difficult to know if the technology improves learning. There is no doubt that technology enhances student engagement by using tools that students use in their informal settings but does it actually show significant improvement in the learning.
With the rise of mobile devices and social media, technology can be taken with you anywhere with learning able to happen anytime. This has changed the way the classroom looks and this transformation requires more research to better understand it and how to most effectively use technology to enhance learning. Teachers are no longer teacher technology as a stand-alone tool but rather a tool that is used in a way to support and enhance the student learning (Voogt, Knezek, Coz, Knezek, & ten Brummelhuis, 2013, p. 5)
In addition, the training of teachers should be looked at to ensure how we teach teachers to integrate technology is the most effective method for student growth.
As technology continues to advance, researchers and educators should continue to ask ourselves 'What does this mean for our education system? What does this mean for learning? What does this mean for student growth?' As we keep the student learning at the core of our thoughts as we navigate the newest realms of technology, there is much research still to be done.
Cox, M.J. (2013), Formal to informal learning with IT: research challenges and issues for e-learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29: 85–105. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2012.00483.x
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching [Sixth Edition].
Voogt, J., Knezek, G., Cox, M., Knezek, D. and ten Brummelhuis, A. (2013), Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A Call to Action. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29: 4–14. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00453.x