Technology in Education: Student-Centered Learning

Technology in Education: Student-Centered Learning

Technology in Education: Student-Centered Learning

How much technology was in your classroom when you were in school? How much is in your children’s classrooms? How much do you think will be in their children’s classrooms?

Look at three big reasons why technology holds so much potential in education:

  • Because it can. Any clear-thinking educator looks at a technology innovation — be it a chalkboard or an Oculus Rift — and tries to find an economical way to work it into the lesson plan.
  • Because it helps the greatly outnumbered teacher. What other profession puts a single salesperson in front of two or three dozen customers at once and expects success? Technology can help the teacher connect with more students at the same time. On an individual basis, it can keep students more deeply engaged.
  • Because school needs to keep up with life. Students are searching the web for just about everything and building their own online presence outside of the classroom. The closer education stays to that digital path of inquiry, the more relevant it remains.

The grown-ups, of course, control the budget. They decide how much and which types of technology get into the classroom and, more important, which types will actually get used.

Then, once the technology is in place, IT takes over and controls the network, the throughput, the apps on the devices and even the content students can access. That’s just prudent.

What about the students?

When technology is about budget, control and access, there’s not much room left for input from the students. That’s a lot like building a product without finding out what the market wants.

Technology has always had the potential to support learning, but technology alone is not the answer, especially not when students of all ages are accustomed to personalizing everything from their Tumblr to their playlists.

The technology may meet the needs of administrators, educators, IT, parents and future employers, but what about the perspective of the students? At what point do the needs of the students play a role in technology decisions?

Having spent more than 20 years at the crossroads of education and technology, we at Dell can summarize the lessons we’ve learned in a simple maxim:

For technology to succeed in the classroom, the conversation must start around student-centered learning, then move to hardware and software.

In an environment of student-centered learning, students are more engaged in the learning process. The use of technology in instruction is tailored toward the individual student’s passions, pace and learning style. Stronger engagement results in improved student outcomes.

We’ve put together an e-book called Aligning the Learning Model with the IT Model. It takes the concept of student-centered learning and applies it to systems management and systems deployment in the form of Dell KACE appliances for education.

Next week, I’ll go into more detail from the e-book, including the ways in which education and technology together change the roles of teachers, IT and students. Meanwhile, read the e-book for three case studies and more details on the problem of aligning learning with IT in both K-12 and higher education.

Christopher Garcia

About Christopher Garcia

A ten-year Dell veteran, Chris has had experience in various marketing roles within the organization. He is currently a Senior Product Marketing Manager.

View all posts by Christopher Garcia 

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  • I´am involved in this topic with my kids and see that it is so important to have propper equipment in schools.

  • Good info

  • I believe technology is going to be a huge part of schools and classrooms but first we should be looking at the needs of the students and teachers need much education and training to transform how teachers are teaching so that it's not just replacing paper and pencil.  They need to really know how to handle the technology and engage the students.

  • In higher ed, we need to learn to utilize the technologies the students are already using, rather than forcing them to switch to something that is easier for us to manage. Technology is supposed to be a tool, not the end game itself - by being able to manage a variety of endpoints, we have the ability now to let students focus on using technology in order to learn, not just spend 4 years learning (and relearning when we switch) technology.

  • Proven fact that the human brain learns faster and the learning is more strongly enforced when NOT using technology, IE writing with paper and pencil.  But they don't even teach cursive anymore, so, go figure. Technology is not the answer, engagement is the answer.  If the tech gets students more engaged, then use it.  But don't believe tech alone will solve any problems that already exist.  Some human will have to figure that one out.

  • This is great stuff because i am in K-12 environment

  • Technology helps on the parent side too.  Grades & updates right away help to keep parents informed on how their child is doing, which can head off any problems early.

  • I wish we had KACE when I was working in my college's IT department!

  • There's a lot of good that can be provided by Technology in the classroom when it comes to access to resources, availability of ebooks, new teaching models that can be implemented.  As a parent I love that I can log in and check on my children's progress, also communication with their teachers is much easier now.

  • It is incredible on the technology changes in the past 45 years.  We were barely using electric calculators and today tablets are a necessity.