Today’s guest blogger, Meg Wilson, comes to us with  a background in special education.  She has seen what opportunities technology can provide for all students.  Be sure to check out Meg’s website,  ~EMP

Education today is changing with the help of technology. Students now have access to tools that allow them to enhance their own learning, wherever and whenever they want. Teachers have opportunities to individualize instruction in ways that simply didn’t exist ten years ago. Schools have classrooms filled with ideas that are being shared around the globe. This growth in educational technology has had a profound effect on the success of today’s students and teachers.

My philosophy on the importance of using technology in education stems from my background in special education and adaptive technology. For years, I have offered exceptional students the opportunity to use technology to access information, accommodate learning, and assess knowledge. When I began co-teaching in general education classrooms, I quickly realized the importance of using technology as a tool to individualize instruction for all students. Everyone learns in their own way and technology can assist teachers by tapping into students’ individual strengths. By giving students the tools they need to succeed, teachers are opening doors for students to enhance their own learning, to invest in their own future, and to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that is meaningful to them.

Today’s students require knowledge that is meaningful, social, and authentic. Educators can use technology as a tool to assist in this process. Individualization is crucial; what is meaningful to one student may not be meaningful to another. Knowledge thrives when students have opportunities to be social, to debate issues, to question others. Technology is giving students the opportunity to have individualized and differentiated instruction that lets them be truly authentic learners.

Thanks to technology, global learning is taking over classrooms. Students are using mobile learning devices and Web 2.0 tools to share their understanding about different topics with others around the world. Teachers are exposing students to tools like video conferencing, blogs, and wikis, where classrooms can collaborate on an unprecedented level. Classrooms are extending beyond the school day and students are taking learning to a whole new level by utilizing technology.

There is a clear paradigm shift happening in education. No longer is technology an activity, it is a tool. It is a tool to individualize. It is a tool to discover. It is a tool to create. It is a tool to publish. It is a tool to inspire. Technology is a tool that is changing education as we know it.