Daniel Swersky, Founding Principal of KIPP Washington Heights Middle School in New York and the Owner of Better Tomorrow Consulting, is an educational leader and a thought leader in the use of educational technology. In the article below, Daniel Swersky talked to us about the state of technology in schools, and how it can improve student learning.
Massive leaps in digital and interactive technology have changed classrooms a lot since most of us were last in school. With new VR and AR devices, mobile learning platforms, and interactive tech-assisted lessons, teachers are better able to present information in a fun and engaging way. By keeping students interested in the lessons and meeting students where they are academically, teachers have the potential to produce better learning outcomes, says Daniel Swersky.
Within the last decade, educational technology has advanced at a faster rate than at any other point in the past. Daniel Swersky dissects how these advancements can improve learning and make a real change in the way children, adolescents, and university students process information and understand new content.
Technology is Bringing Difficult Concepts to Life
Interactive learning is one of the most effective ways to teach difficult concepts according to Danny Swersky. When students are actively engaged in the material, they are more likely to understand and remember the information- students remember what they think about. One way that technology is bringing difficult concepts to life is through the use of virtual reality (VR). While there are implementation challenges, VR allows students to immerse themselves in content and experience it in a completely different way, says Daniel Swersky.
For example, if a student is learning about the human body, they can put on a VR headset and be transported inside the body to see how individual cells function together to create tissues, organs, and systems. This type of immersive learning is not only effective, but it’s also fun, explains Daniel Swersky.
Students are more likely to be engaged in the material and want to learn more when they are enjoying the lesson.
Technology is Helping Students with Different Learning Styles
In the past, classrooms were designed for students who learn best by listening to lectures and reading texts. However, this is not the case anymore. Danny Swersky says that thanks to technology, there are now a variety of ways that students can learn, no matter which style suits them best.
For example, some students prefer to learn by watching videos. Thanks to online learning platforms, such as Curiosity Stream and even YouTube, there are now countless educational videos available online that cover a wide range of topics, says Daniel Swersky. Teachers can simply connect their monitors to a projector and immediately share video content for students who prefer to learn by watching and listening.
Other students prefer to learn by doing. These students often benefit from interactive lessons that allow them to experiment and explore. There are now many digital tools that allow students to manipulate and experiment with different concepts. For example, several mobile apps have been developed to help guide students as they practice math equations.
Technology is Allowing Students to Learn at Their Own Pace
Daniel Swersky says one of the great things about technology is that it allows students to learn at their own pace. In the past, students were often forced to move on to the next concept even if they hadn’t fully mastered the previous one. However, with technology, students can now go at their own pace and review concepts as many times as they need to.
There are now many educational platforms that allow students to progress at their own pace. For example, Khan Academy and Math Lab are both websites that offer a variety of educational videos and exercises. Danny Swersky says students can watch the videos and complete the exercises at their own pace. These platforms make wonderful supplementary material that teachers can assign to help students learn.
Technology is Making Learning More Engaging
In the past, learning was often seen as a chore according to Daniel Swersky. However, with the incorporation of technology, learning can continue to meet students where they are in this fast paced world.
According to Daniel Swersky, early-childhood educators can now benefit from in-class robots that help teach children the basic concepts of coding and engineering. By introducing these topics at a young age, teachers help prepare their students for more advanced skills that will prove highly useful in the real world, says Danny Swersky.
Thankfully, as classrooms become more engaging, students are finding it easier to participate and stay focused on the lesson. Their growth can be transformational as they spend more time with engaging content.
While it is a challenging time for educators, Daniel Swersky explains that technology can be leveraged to improve both teaching and learning. Technology has made difficult concepts more understandable, allowed students with different learning styles to thrive, and made learning more engaging. As the world continues to advance, innovations in educational technology will create better classroom environments that help students understand the world around them.