Technology in Education: Essential for the 21st Century Classroom
How do you make it in 21st century business? Tech knowledge. How do you learn technology: on the fly? On-the-job training? Do you really think a company will be willing to use valuable time to teach employees how to use their computers? The answer is no. To all of it. The workplace is where you strengthen or build upon previous knowledge. Firm business skills begin where all essential life skills emerge: in the classroom. There are countless tech skills one can learn; however, the following are the most commonly used in the workplace as well as school (and life in general!) and are therefore the most important to be impressed upon students: keyboarding/typing skills, writing effective and appropriate emails, Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, though emphasis on the first two) and effective Internet research.
Of course, there are tremendous hurdles when it comes to implementing greater exposure to technology in the classroom, whether it be lack of funding to lack of appropriate tech faculty, and universal technology in the classroom is a bit of a pipe dream. Public school teachers and officials have enough on their plates these days, and unfortunately, with the implementation of the Common Core, various programs and some specialties are getting pushed to the wayside in favor of promoting government-approved literacy and math standards. However, one must keep in mind that the purpose of school is to teach invaluable life skills; skills that will enable students to become productive members of society. In the 21st century world, one of the aforementioned invaluable skills is comfort with and knowledge of technology. Technology in the working world is simply inescapable, and the mastery of such will allow for today’s generation to become effective leaders of the one thereafter.
The days of finger-pecking at a typewriter keyboard are long over, as today’s business world moves faster than anyone ever could have predicted. People need to be able to type reasonably quickly and accurately. To do so, they must have keyboarding skills, which is where the classroom is most essentials. Ensuring that schools have adequate keyboarding or typing classes will allow for students to gain a most valuable skill they can use not only in the short but also long run. In schools, keyboarding can also be taught using the typewriters of old, thus negating the need for excessive technology funding. A typewriter is considerably cheaper than a computer, yet the skill they can teach is priceless.
WRITING EFFECTIVE AND APPROPRIATE EMAILS
You would be amazed at how today’s students craft and send emails: riddled with “text speak”, emails are commonly replete with using letters instead of words (i.e. “u” for “you”), emojis (symbols displaying an emotion and/or picture), incomplete sentences, words written all in caps (indicating shouting)...the list can continue. Students today are, whether fortunately or not, so adept with and accustomed to instantaneously conveying their every thought via the click of a button. People (children and adults alike) need to have appropriate emailing writing skills in their talent toolbox. In the classroom, students can practice drafting and sending appropriate emails that include both a salutation and a closing, as well as use of words. Actual words and not abbreviations. ROTFL, 2 many emails r sent w/those. Additionally, students can practice ensuring their emails sound appropriate, thus reinforcing language arts skills of tone, phrasing, and basic English grammar. Knowing how to convey ideas effectively will come in handy in the long run!
MICROSOFT OFFICE SUITE
Most classes require them. The prospect of them hangs over the heads of nearly every student, and when the words themselves are spoken, they induce shudders amongst the strongest of persons. ESSAYS. With its spelling and grammar checking abilities, as well as formatting and style tools, Microsoft Word is a mainstay in the tech world and for good reason. It works and works well. Learning how to use it inside and out in the classroom can inevitably help students in their later working world experiences. Additionally, Excel is a constant in many professional spheres, and learning how to make tables, upload and track data is essential for today’s effective student to have in his and her back pockets to be tomorrow’s successful employees. Though rivaled by the more flashy and fun iMovie, PowerPoint is still utilized by many companies and businesses which makes learning the basic ins and outs of the program an important part of the 21st century classroom.
Once upon a time, when students had to complete research, they turned to their local library, in which they could find these paper-filled, hard-binded documents called “books”. Nowadays, students turn to their laptops to clickety-clack themselves to an online journal, e-book or website from which they find information. The double edged sword of the Internet is that information is everywhere, all the time….and not all of that information is accurate or reputable. In addition to helping their immediate studies, students need to learn how to safely and effectively peruse the Internet for valid research to bolster their information-discerning skills for the future. In tech ed classes, students can learn what makes a website reputable; how to use online databases as basis of research; how to use library resources online, and maybe - just maybe - be encouraged to look inside one of those “books” for trustworthy and reliable data. Employers do not see value in employees wasting countless hours ineffectively gallivanting around the Internet, and therefore, as employees of tomorrow, students today should learn this timeless skill sooner rather than later. - Peter Belbita