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Why Use Technology in Schools and Higher Education?

The world seems at an end without access to technology. Organizations in various cities and countries tend to increase their usage of technology to reinforce customer interaction, enhance brand value, and build up a strong business network. There is substantial evidence that a good number of schools and colleges in the U.S and in other countries worldwide are using technology to revive the teacher-student relationship.

The 2010-11 survey report released by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth found “98 percent of higher ed institutions are on Facebook, and 84 percent are on Twitter”.

Teachers find social media and mobile devices highly effective in fostering an improved learning atmosphere. They are playing a great role in engaging more students into active learning in classrooms whether live or virtual. Academic faculty is tapping into the raw potential of online social media platforms to teach various subjects and execute projects. For example, professors are using Smartphone’s to teach geography, iPads to download an educational video from YouTube, and Foursquare to guide students around new college campuses.

Let’s have a quick look at the positive effects of using technology in classrooms.

Learn Comfortably

Tech tools allow students to learn at their comfort. It means a student can learn at ease by setting up a convenient time to study and complete assignments at home.

Invite Guest Lecturers

Social media and high-end mobile applications allow teachers to invite guest lecturers from any part of the world to participate in an online discussion with the students. It helps the learners gain access to expertise in a specific topic or subject-matter.

Improves School Efficiency

Technology also helps the administrators to collate bulk data, easily and effortlessly to improve their decision-making process and rule implementation. They can capture and store data in their central database to view and share later with the senior authority.

High Engagement

Technology also engages students in learning – they can instantly seek clarifications by asking questions, collecting feedback from fellow classmates, and interacting with the teacher(s), 24×7. In a sense, online applications help a teacher improve class attendance, decrease drop-out rates, and thus increase ROI.

Improves Teaching Skills

Teachers can enhance their teaching skills and train themselves to manage classes better. Download multiple e-books and similar other reference materials from the internet to use in the development of finer classroom practices.

Meet the Needs of All Students

Today, students want virtual access to all course catalogs, class schedules, registration forms, and much more. Technology enables them to do all of that and more in a far simpler yet affordable way. School management can upload upcoming class schedules, class calendar, registration forms, examination timings, etc. on the school website to let people view and download the required documents, anytime and from anywhere across the world.

How I Mess Up Managing a Child’s Behaviour in School But Only Very Briefly!

I rarely have to face a failure when managing children’s behaviour in school but here’s a good example of getting it wrong and how it was put right! Describing it as a failure is maybe an exaggeration but it’s a great example of managing behaviour badly…

A little guy started in my class — totally out of control in school, with behaviour consisting of aggression, violence, abusive and foul language. He’s just 8 years old. In his mainstream school his language would make your hair curl! He frequently starts fights, is defiant, lashes out and runs away. What a state to be in!

He settled in class very quickly in the behaviour unit and soon relaxed into the routine. Routine and consistency give children security and confidence and that’s what he got. Managing children’s behaviour is so much simpler when they know what’s going on, when they trust their environment and the people around them.

All sorts of other ‘input’ had been unsuccessfully tried to manage his behaviour previously. It was all a waste of time and reinforced his perception that he didn’t have to follow adults’ instructions. A road to disaster!

His school had been advised that the problem behaviour should be ignored as much as possible and that the adults should behave as unpredictably as the child! Oh dear me! Such advice is common place but so wrong and so damaging to the child and the adults who are trying to manage behaviour in schools. As with most of the other advisors, the person offering this ‘advice’ doesn’t deal with children directly. None of the harsh reality of actually managing behaviour for her…

So, things were going well in my classes, but less well in school. On the day in question he’d had a good morning at the behaviour unit and went to school in the afternoon. I visited the school that day and was told that this little guy had been in a fight at lunchtime break. His fellow combatant was new to the school having been moved from his previous school due to his behaviour. His mum perceived that the constant trouble he was attracting was caused by others ‘picking on him’! Get a grip mum — if your son attracts trouble constantly then the chances are that he’s a major part of the problem!

Our little chap took his ‘mood’ into afternoon class and became more and more unsettled and before too long, defiant and disruptive. The class teacher sent for the head teacher and he was removed from class. Sitting outside the head’s office shouting and creating havoc, he ignored the head’s instruction to be quiet. Indicating for me to take over I went out and told him in no uncertain terms that he was to go and stand in the office where I could keep an eye on him! That’s where my ‘failure’ started — read on to find out how!!

He reluctantly went into the office stood in the corner as he’d been told. He looked very disgruntled and after a couple of minutes he dashed out of the office, disappearing as fast as a rat down a drain, along the corridor and out of the front door!

My reputation for managing children’s challenging behaviour very successfully was a bit dented! The head teacher thought the whole thing was hilarious. In the nicest possible way it gave her comfort to see my face well and truly plastered with egg! What an idiot I felt! Oh well… It can happen to the best of us!

He wasn’t pursued — I knew I’d be seeing him in the morning and planned carefully what action would be taken. Plans had to be made for if he ‘threw a sicky’ to avoid facing any consequences for his behaviour. His mum would be called the next morning to ask if he was on his way and if he was feigning sickness suggest he was collected. It was quite expected that he would try and avoid school. However, the unexpected happened and in he wandered, bold as brass!

What happened? He was told very firmly that his behaviour the previous day was totally unacceptable and he would have to write letters of apology to his class teacher and head teacher and they’d be written in his free time that morning. There was a very clear warning — a repeat of the behaviour would lead to big trouble. The tone of voice gave him no doubt that this was serious. He complied without a murmur.

So, what were the mistakes made the previous day? Quite simple — lack of vigilance. I’d take my eye well and truly off the ball! If you become involved in an incident well after the start you have to give it your total attention. This child was adrenaline fuelled and ready for flight. Increased vigilance would have meant he’d been put in the corner (the adult taking control) and had little option other than to stay there until the end of school, about 30 minutes later. Moving him from the corridor was essential to prevent him causing disruption and having control of the situation. However, I should have kept control and my lack of vigilance enabled the child to take over and abscond from school.

It shouldn’t really have been a surprise that he came to class after the incident. Why not? Well, his reaction after he’d been in the fight the previous day was how he’d been allowed to behave in school and at home for years. Nothing had happened before to tell him the behaviour shouldn’t be repeated, so why should he expect something to happen this time? If there are no consequences how is a child to know that their behaviour is unacceptable?

The consequences on his return to class the next day informed him of who was in control. Believe me I won’t be making that mistake again! The skills involved in managing children’s behaviour aren’t difficult. Anyone can do it. Some pretty basic strategies, used with total consistency and you soon have children acknowledging that they have a confident adult running the show! They’re happy and so are you!