Technology in the Classroom

Technology in the classroom opens opportunities for students and faculty alike, as students have the opportunity to communicate to audiences outside the classroom, tune into classes even when they cannot physically be present, access information from professors with the click of a button, and even take courses without ever stepping foot on the campus. Much of this technology is inexpensive or free to use on the internet. Nontraditional students, those who are adults, part-time, or juggling families or jobs are prevalent in community colleges. They benefit from a learning environment that is "flexible and responsive to their needs and responsibilities" (Stewart, 2008). Instructional technology increases accessibility for all students, particularly those who are non traditional, at the same time increasing student accountability and increasing enrollments in higher education (Mars & Ginter, 2007). As Cohen, Brawer, & Kisker (2013) explain, distance education has exploded in popularity in recent years, at the community college level as well as at four-year institutions: “In 1994-1995, 58 percent of community colleges offered online, hybrid, or other distance education courses; by 2006-2007 that number had ballooned to 97 percent. Over 6.1 million postsecondary students were taking at least one online course in fall 2010…” (p. 193). Technology in the classroom has a positive effect on relationships between faculty and students, as well as between students and one another (Stewart, 2008). It improves the way content is presented and makes it more accessible to students (Stewart, 2008). Overall, technology improves opportunities for both faculty and students to communicate both within and beyond the classroom setting.

With instructional technology, the options are seemingly endless. Cell phones, wikis, and Blackboard all offer quick communication between faculty and students. Skype allows students to attend class when they cannot physically be present, as well as opportunities to speak with experts in the field who could not be brought into the classroom any other way. Twitter, blogs, and wikis also offer opportunities to communicate beyond the classroom, to the greater world.

Where can you go for support in applying technology to your teaching? Talk to those in your department for ideas on how they have incorporated technology in their instruction (Mars & Ginter, 2007). Seek support through your school's Information Technology Office (IT). The internet offers a multitude of ideas for incorporating technology in your class, a sample of which is available below.

Click the boxes below for more information on and examples of the use of technology in the classroom.

Google Docs.jpeg
Multiple Approaches

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Cohen, A. M., Brawer, F.B., & Kisker, C.B. (2013). The American community college (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Mars, M.M. and Ginter, M. (2007). Connecting organizational environments with the instrucctional technology practices of community college faculty. Community College Review, 34(4), 324-343.
Stewart, D.P. (2008). Technology as a management tool in the community college classroom: Challenges and benefits. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4(4), 459-468.

Summary of website links:

Website: google docs
Website: wikis
Website: blackboard
Website: twitter
Website: blogs
Website: skype
Website: multiple approaches