13 reasons to use educational technology in lessons


This article has been superceded by 15 reasons to use education technology in your classroom.

Sometimes you need to convince colleagues to think about using educational technology in their lessons, or to identify where in their scheme of work they could incorporate it.

This list is a starting point: you may find one or two points that would "resonate" with your co-worker, and grab his or her attention.

  1. Where information and communications technology (ICT) is taught well, it has been shown to enhance pupils’ levels of understanding and attainment in other subjects. That’s because “real” ICT is more about thinking skills than about mastering particular software applications.
  2. ICT can provide both the resources and the pedagogical framework for enabling pupils to become effective independent learners. For example, computer programs are available that adjust themselves to the pupils’ level and then set appropriate tasks and give feedback on performance. Used wisely, these can help pupils to move on.
  3. Also, newer technologies such as Web 2.0 applications enables pupils and others to collaborate in ways that reflect a broadly constructivist approach to education.
  4. ICT places all learners on an equal footing. Given the right hardware, software and curriculum activities, even severely physically disadvantaged pupils can achieve the same degree of success as anyone else.
  5. ICT has been shown to have benefits in terms of motivating pupils. That comes about partly through factors like being able to produce nice-looking work with no teacher’s red marks all over it, and partly because the computer is seen as being impartial and non-judgemental in its feedback to the pupil.
  6. ICT enables pupils to gather data that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible to obtain. For example, data from inaccessible places (eg outer space), inaccessible times (eg overnight), from both overseas and nationally on demand (without having to physically go anywhere) or data at very precise time intervals.
  7. ICT enables pupils to gather data that would otherwise be time-consuming or costly or both. For example, pupils can use the internet to get up-to-the-minute information on prices. They can use a DVD or the internet to watch movies of old dictators speaking, or the moon landings, or to listen to a piece of music by Mozart.
  8. ICT enables pupils to experiment with changing aspects of a model, which may be difficult or even impossible for them to do otherwise. For example, pupils of Business Studies and Economics can see what might happen to the economy if interest rates were raised or lowered. Pupils can use webcams to capture the development of an egg or a plant.
  9. ICT enables pupils to draft or redraft their work until they are satisfied with it.
  10. Another reason to use ICT in lessons is because it can help to implement personalised learning.
  11. Pupils usually enjoy using computers and other types of technology, so lessons which make use of it start off with an advantage (which is all too often squandered).
  12. Educational technology puts the pupil in control (if it is well-designed), enabling her to personalise the interface, select and create resources, and even choose what to learn.
  13. Just about every aspect of modern life involves educational technology; therefore, to not make use of it in the curriculum is anachronistic.
  14. Because educational technology pervades all aspects of modern society, schools have a duty of care to ensure that pupils understand issues such as keeping safe online, protecting their identity, recognising good and misleading information sources on the internet, the effects of educational technology on communications and the economy, to name but a few issues.

Contribute to the Review of the National Curriculum -- especially if you think ICT is important!

A slightly different version of this article was originally published on 16th January 2008.