It’s no secret that technology has had a profound impact on education. From online classes to using apps for homework, students today increasingly rely on technology to help them learn. But did you know that technology can also help students become more confident learners?
For students to be successful in the classroom, confidence is critical. High self-esteem helps students build relationships, bounce back from mistakes, and actively engage in learning. But sadly, it’s easy for students to get discouraged.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to use technology to build confidence and keep students interested in learning. Read on for some of the ways you can use technology to pave the way for your students’ academic success.
What is academic self-esteem?
Academic self-esteem refers to a student’s confidence in their abilities. A student with high self-confidence views themselves positively, trusts that they are competent, and expects and feels worthy of respect from their peers.
Why is self-esteem in students so important?
Self-confidence for students is critically important for learning. Confidence and self-esteem enable students to embrace their full potential and explore new subjects and hobbies without worrying about how others perceive them. This can also be hugely beneficial in social situations and building relationships, giving students the freedom to be their genuine selves in front of their peers without fear of judgement.
High self-esteem can also boost motivation. Students who are confident in their capabilities tend to believe that their goals and aspirations are within reach, which encourages them to put in the effort needed to achieve their ambitions. It’s also believed that student confidence can enable students to handle setbacks better. Students who believe in their abilities are more likely to bounce back from mistakes to try again.
On the other hand, lack of confidence can lead to feelings of self-doubt and make students reluctant to engage in learning or take the risks needed to tackle new academic challenges. In the face of such challenges, students with low self-esteem may disengage or stop trying altogether. In addition to the impact of a lack of confidence on learning outcomes, there is also a worrying association between low self-esteem and anxiety, depression, and risk-taking behaviours.
Seven strategies for using technology to build confidence in the classroom
Fortunately, technology makes it much easier for educators to build student confidence. Here are seven strategies to consider.
1. Allow students to access external resources
One of the biggest benefits of technology is its ability to connect students with an almost endless source of information. Traditionally, students facing a tricky problem had two options: ask a teacher or refer to a textbook. Now, students have a world of information at their fingertips.
Give your students a problem and encourage them to research the topic and find a solution using online resources. Encouraging students to problem-solve in this way will help them build confidence in their abilities while also giving them a feeling of accomplishment when they succeed.
2. Encourage critical thinking
But with all this information at a student’s disposal, critical thinking skills are, well, critical. Critical thinking is the ability to analyse information and form an opinion or argument off the back of that information.
Giving students access to online resources enables them to build critical thinking skills. It gives them an opportunity to research, reflect on what they find, seek out more information if needed, and then make their own reasoned judgements.
This kind of approach to learning builds confidence by encouraging students to trust in their thinking abilities, reasoning, and decision-making skills.
3. Encourage participation
Many students lack the confidence to raise their hands or answer questions in class. Technology enables students to participate in learning through digital means, which can be especially helpful in building self-esteem in students with social anxieties.
Give students the ability to work out their thoughts, ideas, or answers on a digital device before presenting them to the class, or allow them to privately submit their responses using online polling or assessment tools. For instance, an interactive display, like the Promethean ActivPanel, can be used with screen mirroring technology to enable students to work on a problem on their own device, before displaying their work on the interactive display at the front of the class.
This approach will encourage students to participate in class without the feeling that all eyes are on them, helping them grow their confidence until they feel more comfortable contributing verbally. When students have developed the confidence to participate more actively, an interactive display can also be used by inviting students to work directly on the screen at the front of the class.
4. Personalise your lessons
One of the key benefits of using technology in the classroom is that it enables educators to personalise their lessons to the needs of individual students. While traditional classrooms tend to rely on a lecture-style format, technology empowers students to learn in a way that suits them best.
It’s easy for students to get discouraged if they struggle to grasp a concept. But their ability to comprehend may not be the issue; rather, it may have to do with how the content is delivered. Using a variety of methods to deliver a lesson means that no matter a student’s preferred style of learning, they’ll be able to engage with the content in a way that cuts through.
5. Make your lessons more accessible
Research has shown that students with special needs are at higher risk of suffering from low self-esteem. It’s far too easy for students with unique needs to become alienated from their peers or fall behind in class. Struggling to keep up with the rest of the students in the classroom can substantially impact a student’s feeling of self-worth. However, with the introduction of technology, students are empowered to learn alongside their peers at the same pace.
Incorporate assistive technologies, such as voice-to-text and text-to-speech software, eye-gaze technology, and other digitally-enabled learning aids to help special education students build confidence in learning.
6. Keep track of student progress
Technology enables educators to keep track of how students are performing more easily. This allows educators to measure the effectiveness of different teaching approaches and adjust their style accordingly, and also allows them to accurately track how a student is progressing across different subjects.
Adopt a digital tracking system to keep records of test scores, homework completion rates, number of reading hours, and other important metrics. This will give you insight into how each student is progressing. You can identify students struggling with course content and provide them with additional time and support. Students at risk of falling behind will be given the support they need to keep up with their peers.
7. Encourage collaboration
Collaborative learning is critically important for building confidence, as well as communication, teamwork, problem-solving and social skills. Technology makes it easier for students to brainstorm with their peers, share and work on projects together, and give and receive feedback.
This kind of collaboration can occur both inside the classroom and outside of it. At school, students can collaborate on shared digital games or work together on a single problem displayed on a collaborative, interactive display. After school, students can continue working together, sharing, or chatting online.
How to incorporate technology into the classroom to build student confidence
There are many ways you can use technology in the classroom to build student confidence, such as using online tools for assessments or providing opportunities for students to share their work with their peers. You may need to experiment with different tools and strategies to find what works best for your students, but the benefits are abundantly clear.
By harnessing the power of technology, you can help your students become more confident and successful learners and empower them to take on new challenges. If you’d like to learn more about the power of using interactive displays and other digital tools in the classroom to help your students build confidence, get in touch for a free demo.