Many studies show that students learn better when mobile technology is incorporated in the classroom. Using mobile technology in classes excites students and increases their motivation. It allows teachers to reinforce and expand on content in the moment and to cater to varied learning needs, while helping students learn more effectively.
It's true that mobile technology is becoming widely available in classrooms today. But many teachers either don't know how to use the technology to students' best advantage or are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications and their possibilities.
Research conducted by Filigree Consulting on behalf of SMART Technologies Inc. shows that instructional technology works most effectively when combined with teacher training, high-quality digital content and the implementation of best practices.
The disconnect between available mobile devices and the training that would allow teachers to use them effectively was the impetus for the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, which partners with 24 schools in underserved areas across the nation and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Verizon found that educators struggle with how best to integrate technology such as tablets and smartphones into the classroom in meaningful ways to enhance students' learning and achievement. Verizon decided to use its resources and technology to help transform the way teachers teach and the way students learn.
Making technology work for students and teachers
In partnership with Verizon, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) provides training and mentoring to all VILS teachers. Training starts with a three-day onsite workshop during the summer and continues throughout the school year by way of virtual training, mentorship and coaching.
The year-long training is the best way to ensure that teachers truly understand the concepts and can apply them in the classroom. That second point is crucial: Studies show that training teachers in classroom technology makes a big difference in effective classroom instruction. But more importantly, these studies also show that teachers who receive support and follow-up are much more likely to use the technology to a greater advantage in the classroom.
But the most important beneficiaries are the students.
Since students all learn differently, some pick up on certain concepts quickly while others need more time. With classroom technology, teachers can personalize the learning experience, giving more challenging tasks to advanced students while going at a slower pace for those who need more help.
Verizon believes this program can make a real, lasting difference. Studies have shown that minorities, women and disadvantaged students are underrepresented in the scientific and technical disciplines, at a time when the demand for workers skilled in these areas is strong and growing. Verizon's goal with VILS is to get students interested and experience success in STEM subjects.
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