There is no doubt that technology, when used with clear, well-planned learning objectives, yields successful results with students for several reasons. First, technology assists in accommodating the needs of students with different learning styles. Our student population is culturally diverse and our classrooms contain students at different educational levels. Technology provides a diversity of tools to meet their needs. For example, at-risk students or those with learning disabilities feel safe using technology because it provides immediate feedback, is motivational, and is non-threatening. Furthermore, because technology includes multimedia--sound and images--it provides a multisensory environment for students who are hearing and/or visually impaired.
Secondly, technology promotes learner-centered practices. Students feel in control of their learning. They work collaboratively using wikis, blogs, and Web 2.0 sites. When students work cooperatively, they engage with other students and learn from each other. They share responsibility for their learning and are challenged to produce at a higher level than if working alone.
Finally, digital media provides access and tools so that educators can manipulate the curriculum. By manipulating data, teachers provide the instructional material in creative ways to reach all students. Educational software exists for every subject and the development of open source software further contributes to its accessibility. Podcasting, storytelling, multimedia, video production, word processing applications, graphic design software, and other applications offer students a myriad of options to learning, working collaboratively and producing great products.
Jackson, R. & Harper, K. (n. d.) Teacher Planning and the Universal Design for Learning Environments. Retrieved from http://aim.cast.org/learn/historyarchive/backgroundpapers/teacher_planning on March 2, 2011.
Pitler, H., Hubbell E., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria: VA. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel)
Rose, D & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved on March 1, 2011 from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/
Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, new schools. Eugene: OR. International Society of Technology in Education.