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Examining the Benefits of Technology

Many factors can contribute to students’ engagement, performance, and learning. Students who develop a sense of agency are more likely to experience academic success (U.S. Department of Education, 2017). When students are presented with opportunities to make decisions about their learning and to practice non-cognitive competencies, their agency for educational capability and self-directed learning is strengthened (U.S. Department of Education, 2017). Technology provides a multi-faceted support for learner agency. The most recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (2018) revealed that ninety-seven percent of 3- to 18-year olds had access to at least one type of device in their home in 2016. The overwhelming majority of students had a smartphone or computer, and the three percent who did not, have access to school, classroom, or library devices. An increasing number of districts and states are adopting 1:1 student-device ratios in schools (McKnight et al., 2016). As students have rapidly expanding access to technology, teachers can and should leverage technology to improve and reinforce student achievement.

McKnight et. al (2016) highlight several key ways technology enhances the educational experience including student accessibility, responsibility, communication, and purpose. With access to technology, students also have access to instruction and content, anytime, anywhere (McKnight et al., 2016). This accessibility also benefits students with special circumstances or needs, increases students’ independence and engagement, and provides a wider variety of topics that can appeal to students’ interests (McKnight et al., 2016). The incorporation of technology gives students more choices and control in their education, and more responsibility for their learning process and performance (McKnight et al., 2016). Technology platforms enable collaboration, polling, performance analytics and progress monitoring, all of which provide ongoing and immediate feedback, as well as, consistent and transparent communication (McKnight et al., 2016). Lastly, by “using technology, students can authentically extend the purpose and audience of their work,” globally connecting, sharing, and learning with others far beyond the classroom walls (McKnight et al., 2016, para. 41). Increased accessibility, responsibility, communication, and purpose by means of technology can contribute to a student’s sense of agency and success.

I do not know if churches need to adopt digital capabilities to maintain a congregational body, but I do believe that the churches that do keep up with technology trends are more relevant and likely to attract members and experience growth. For the same reasons schools are and should integrate technology and learning, I think churches should be digitally capable. By embracing technology, churches can provide accommodations for those with disabilities, share opportunities for growth and service, promote open and transparent communication, and reach a global audience.


References

Mcknight, K., O’Malley, K., Ruzic, R., Horsley, M. K., Franey, J. J. and Bassett, K. (2016). Teaching in a digital age: How educators use technology to improve student learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(3), 192-211. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1080/15391523.2016.1175856

National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Digest of education statistics: 2017 (NCES 2018-070 January 2018). Retrieved from  https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/index.asp

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology (2017). Reimagining the role of technology in education: 2017 national education technology plan update. Retrieved from https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf

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