Technology and learning in the classroom: six tips to get the balance right

Christian Moro, Kathy Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalOnline ResourceResearch


[Extract] Australia was one of the first countries in the world to have more computers than students in schools. But as the numbers of computers and other technological devices increased, student performance did not. The days of cramming computers into classrooms and expecting improvements in learning are numbered.

Some argue there’s little evidence to justify investment in technology in the classroom. In fact, some studies even suggest potential harms. Some have suggested links between screen time and increased ADHD, screen addiction, aggression, depression, and anxiety, dizziness, headaches and blurred vision.

There is also a risk that schools’ focus on acquiring the “next best thing” may come at the expense of students’ interpersonal, cognitive, critical thinking and communication skill development. Teachers should use technology in a balanced way that enhances learning and skill development. Here are six evidence-based tips on how to do just that.

1. Use two (or more) ways of communicating
There are endless opportunities for students’ writing to appear in ways that combine two or more modes (such as visual, audio or spatial). Making e-books, videos, animations, blogs, web pages, and digital games are the new ways of demonstrating literacy that involve clever combinations of these modes.

Words are rarely used on their own on digital platforms now. Instead, they’re illustrated with images, screen layouts, pop-ups, hyperlinks, and sounds to create meaning in different ways to, say, an essay.

Multimodal literacies are actually a requirement for students in the Australian curriculum. More than 200 learning outcomes address this type of literacy, right from foundation (prep) to year 12. Supporting children to create multimodal designs, even something as simple as creating a digital drawing or diagram, is a fantastic way to ensure educational benefit when using technology.

Nearly half (44%) of current jobs are at high risk of being digitally disrupted in the next 20 years. The fastest-growing jobs now require multimodal design and digital communication skills, for example engineering or architecture.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


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