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Making Technology Simple, Inclusive and Flexible by Dr. Ayo Olufade




Since the pandemic began and even before, I have come to the conclusion that making technology simple, inclusive and flexible is the key to enhanced learning. Let me tell you a story. For the first time the other day, I used the whiteboard on TEAMs (Talent Enrichment Accelerating Minds) to explain a chemistry concept. I really enjoyed using the whiteboard to model to my students how to write, illustrate or draw an image like the Bohr Atomic Model to show the distribution of electrons in atoms and show how structure informs function like in the electromagnetic spectrum.

This was one of those topics where science, technology, engineering and mathematics merge. Teaching it can be powerful when teachers teach their students how to use technology or art as a mode of expression that uses creative skill, imagination and experience to aesthetically share their understanding of a concept like the electromagnetic spectrum. My students used technology to model and illustrate how electrons moved from a higher-energy orbit with a larger radius to a lower-energy orbit with a smaller radius. It was exciting.

However, when I started modeling the structure of an atom, one of my students began scribbling and writing on the whiteboard. Initially, I was annoyed yet stayed calm. You can never let students know that they have “pressed your buttons,” so I was calm like a cat.

I’m pretty sure you are wondering why I was annoyed. It was because I felt the students were being facetious in the middle of an important lesson. After a brief moment, my annoyance quickly became discovery as I took advantage of the situation. I realized another type of button--a “collaborative button” had been pushed as we were using the whiteboard. My irritation turned to humor in a split second as I asked which one of my students was playing with me. Of course, I knew who it was.

Since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a shift to or reliance on using technology for hybrid learning as well as in-person learning. This has occurred in many school districts including my own and might have once been seen as a short-term solution for virtual learning during the pandemic. However, now I see school districts preparing for future pandemics, endemics or a 21st-century economy by developing technology road maps and making smart investments that enhance all learning environments. Whether we fully return to in- person learning or not, they are preparing for the future. Most importantly, I see this effort integrated into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education.

To benefit students and teachers (parents as well), there is a need to make technology simple, inclusive and flexible for seamless integration of information. This must be done to engage our students experientially and provide instant feedback for teachers, students and parents' while delivering instruction without over-tasking any of us. The key to using technology in the classroom is to transform it into a hub of inquiry, discovery and collaboration. This is what I realized in that moment of annoyance with that student. Collaboration is necessary.


Students are inspired to engage each other to learn and explore when in a relaxed environment. The best way to do this is to make classroom technology such as the whiteboard, OneNote, smartboard interactive, and docking station as simple and straightforward as possible to encourage student-to-student or student-to-teacher collaboration and to not waste valuable learning time. To transform student learning through increased engagement (even at times when students are overly “playful”) is to motivate learning.


Making interactive technology simple would help teachers immensely to integrate different applications that could bring more collaboration or interactivity into the classroom. This creates exciting opportunities for students to explore math, science and engineering concepts using the innovative technology mentioned above as solutions in STEM education. With an intelligent integrated line of interactive technology products that are simple to utilize, this would help create lessons that are vibrant, interactive and easy to understand by all students regardless of their backgrounds or intellectual capabilities.


Teachers would then be able to better encourage students to participate in learning by offering them opportunities to use their senses (see, hear, touch). Kinesthetic learning (learning by doing) is essential to all types of learners thereby making technology that is simple, inclusive and flexible beneficial to all students.

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