By Joe Garvey

Technology is becoming more prevalent in educational settings, but is it being used effectively?

Helen Crompton, associate professor of instructional technology and director of the Virtual Reality and Technology Enhanced Learning labs at Old Dominion University, will discuss "Technology in Schools: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" at the Science Pub scheduled for Jan. 28. It will be at Smartmouth Brewing Co., 1309 Raleigh Ave., Norfolk. Networking begins at 6:30 p.m.; the program begins at 7. RSVPs are requested by Jan. 27.

In 2018, Crompton received the Rising Star Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

She will discuss her research on the use of technology in schools. Crompton will highlight the benefits, with examples of types of learning that could not happen without digital technologies.

"Technology is here to stay," she said. "We are fully immersed with digital technologies in our social lives, but now we see these technologies in K-to-12 schools."

Crompton said technology can provide students with many ways to extend learning, such as one-to-one support, individualized learning and accessibility to experts from around the world.

She also feels virtual and augmented reality can enhance learning.

"Virtual reality can transport students to locations in the world which would be a little expensive for a field trip, or places that are physically impossible to visit," she said. "Augmented reality[CH1] is an amazing tool to have students take field trips that are digitally enhanced. I like to refer to them as field trips on steroids."

However, technology is not effective if it's not used properly.

"There is a misconception that teachers will automatically know how to integrate technology into learning, and this is definitely not the case," Crompton said. "Students can be seen directed to iPads to keep them entertained, and, in some cases, technology looks amazing in a class but does not actually match the learning objective."

Science Pubs provide an opportunity for community members to have casual conversations with ODU researchers. RSVPs are encouraged but not required. The first 20 to arrive receive a free beverage.

Robert McNab, professor of economics and director of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis & Policy, will speak at the next Science Pub, scheduled for Feb. 25 at Maker's Craft Brewery in Norfolk.

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