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Technology Use in Modern Education

Technology has already become an irreplaceable teaching and learning tool in the modern classroom. In schools across the country you will find devices ranging from smartboards and projectors, to ipads and tablets. Schools have computer labs and makerspaces in their libraries, and today’s students have access to information in various electronic and digital formats. Technological competencies are a high priority in many classrooms, and in Ontario, the Ministry of Education has stated that in addition to developing students’ technological skills, technology-enabled teaching and learning practices play a significant role in supporting the development of the full range of 21st century competencies (2016). As such, it is clear that technology will play a significant role going forward in all educational fields, and this includes EE! 

The Benefits of Technology Integration

Benefits of technology integration into the regular classroom:


  • Improved:

    • Academic success 

    • Engagement 

    • Communication

    • Innovation and creativity

    • Personal inquiry skills

    • Critical thinking

    • Opportunities for collaborative learning

    • Behaviours and attitudes

    • Understanding of materials

    • Leadership skills

    • Independent problem solving

  • Useful to teachers;

    • Enhances communication with other educators

    • Functions as tool for daily tasks and routines

    • Provides learning/teaching resources for teachers and students

    • Enhances personal productivity

  • Development and acquisition of 21st century competencies

  • Differentiates learning experiences

  • Facilitates engagement in social issues

  • Creates reflexive citizens

  • Shifts classroom dynamics from teacher centered model to student driven model


Benefits of technology integration into the outdoor environmental education classroom:


  • Can be used for internet connections, collaborative learning, file sharing, organization and scheduling, content creation, assessment and feedback, and consumption of content in any time/place

  • Can be used to meet EE goals and teach EE value systems

  • Can be used to create a blended learning model that combines traditional classroom learning with outdoor EE - seamless transitions from indoor to outdoor learning and vice versa

  • Provides students with the ability to work on personalized content

  • Supports outdoor activities and site specific learning

  • Facilitates and supports nature walks, field experiments, outdoor learning, and student reflections and inquiries

  • Encourages deeper exploration of topics

  • Provides opportunities for more unique and novel learning experiences

  • Equally as effective at providing opportunities for fun and promoting positive relationships and attitudes towards nature as traditional methods

  • Increased personal connection to content

  • Increased self-efficacy of students regarding scientific skills

  • Helps keep learners on task

  • Useful and rapid recording tool (photos, note taking, sound and video recording)

  • Provides opportunities for more authentic learning experiences

  • Contributes to development of scaffolded learning experiences

  • Improved:

    • Engagement

    • Knowledge retention

    • Motivation

    • Nature observation

    • Social interaction

    • Critical thinking

    • Test scores

    • Accessibility

    • Understanding of lesson content

    • Communication

    • Collaboration

    • Sharing

    • Inquiry skills

    • Interest in/engagement with nature

    • Real time decision making

    • Self-discipline 

    • Attitudes towards learning

    • Cognitive achievement

    • Productivity

    • Awareness of environmental issues

    • Satisfaction in learning 

Please note that these lists were generated through the consolidation of findings from the resources below:


Anderson, C. L., Miller, B. M., Eitel, K. B., Veletsianos, G., Eitel, J. U. H., & Hougham, R. J. (2015). Exploring Techniques for Integrating Mobile Technology into

     Field-Based Environmental Education. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 19(6), 1-19.

Bitner, N., & Bitner, J. (2002). Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Eight Keys to Success. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 10(1), 95-100.

Bleck, S., Bullinger, M., Lude, A., & Schaal, S. (2012). Electronic mobile devices in environmental education (EE) and education for sustainable development (ESD)

     Evaluation of concepts and potentials. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 1232-1236.

Brooks-Young, S. (2010). Teaching with the tools kids really use: learning with Web and mobile technologies. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Brush, T., & Foon Hew, K. (2007). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.

     Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(3), 223-252.

Crawford, M. R., Holder, M. D., & O'Connor, B. P. (2016). Using Mobile Technology to Engage Children with Nature. Environment and Behavior, 49(9), 959-984.

Ferrie, C. (2009). Exploring Nature in Cyberspace. PERCReport, 27(3), 16-19.

George, A., & Archontia, M. (2013). Educational Technology as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Environmental Education. International Journal of Academic

     Research in Business and Social Sciences, 3(9), 191-205.

Graham, R. (2006). Techno-Resiliency in Education: A New Approach For Understanding Technology in Education. Cham: Springer.

Hechter, R. P., & Vermette, L. A. (2013). Technology integration in K-12 science classrooms: An analysis of barriers and implications. Themes in Science &

     Technology Education, 6(2), 73-90.

Holloway, P., & Mahan, C. (2012). Enhance nature exploration with technology. Science Scope, 35(9), 23-28.

Kacoroski, J. (2015). Time for Change: A New Frontier for Digital Nature Experiences. Parks & Recreation, 34-35.

Kacoroski, J., Liddicoat, K.R., & Kerlin, S. (2016). Children's use of iPads in outdoor environmental education programs. Applied Environmental Education &

     Communication, 15(4), 301-311.

Kamarainen, A. M., Metcalf, S., Grotzer, T., Browne, A., Mazzuca, D., Tutwiler, M. S., & Dede, C. (2013). EcoMOBILE: Integrating augmented reality and probeware

     with environmental education field trips. Computers & Education, 68, 545-556.

Lai, C.H., Yang, J.C., Chen, F.C., Ho, C.W., & Chan, T.W. (2007). Affordances of mobile technologies for experiential learning: the interplay of technology and

     pedagogical practices. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23, 326-337.  

Looi, C.-K., Zhang, B., Chen, W., Seow, P., Chia, G., Norris, C., & Soloway, E. (2010). mobile inquiry learning experience for primary science students: a study of

     learning effectiveness. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(3), 269-287.

Ministry of Ontario. (2016). 21st Century Competencies: Foundation Document for Discussion.

Ruchter, M., Klar, B., & Geiger, W. (2010). Comparing the effects of mobile computers and traditional approaches in environmental education. Computers &

     Education, 54, 1054-1067.

Schneider, J., & Schaal, S. (2018). Location-based smartphone games in the context of environmental education and education for sustainable development:

     fostering connectedness to nature with Geogames. Environmental Education Research, 24(11), 1597-1610.

Woong Choi, G., Land, S. M., & Toomey Zimmerman, H. (2018). Investigating children's deep learning of the tree life cycle using mobile technologies.

     Computers in Human Behavior, 87, 470-479.

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