Here are the big ways new and developing technology are already empowering students — and expanding their worlds.

1. Inviting new interactions

Communication technology, including video conferencing, online chat tools and virtual communities, can connect students with experts. University professors, engineers and more — who can’t visit the classroom in person — can introduce students to novel opportunities and viewpoints.

Science students learning about igneous rocks can talk to volcanologists. A social studies class studying Ancient Rome can question archaeologists in the field. Inexpensive and accessible technology tools allow these interactions to be more frequent and impromptu. Students gain confidence asking questions and relating to real world professionals in real time.

2. Opening doors to new experiences

If a field trip to Mars or Pearl Harbor or the rainforest isn’t possible, students can take these journeys through virtual reality. Such technology — many of them free — let students explore far-off times and places. Learning comes to life as students travel to new realms without leaving the classroom.

Because safety isn’t an issue, students can feel comfortable exploring on their own. They can choose what paths to follow and what questions to research while broadening their understanding of their world.

3. Enabling problem-solvers

Technology doesn’t just expand a student’s worldview by fostering new connections and experiences. It encourages curiosity and interaction with learning. Whether it’s a new device, software, coding language or tool, students must engage with the new technology, as they learn to use it as mathematicians, historians, authors, artists and scientists. They must figure out how it works and how they can use it to solve problems. As they find solutions, they start developing questions for more complex and rigorous problems.

Technology in the classroom empowers students to think outside their current worldview. Students can even use technology to express their new knowledge and improve their storytelling skills through blogging or podcasting. Ultimately, with technology, students learn to innovate new solutions, which will help them better compete in our evolving digital society.