Technology is the most ambiguous concept of modernity; some of us favor its development because each innovation and technological advancement makes some domain of our lives and activities easier. Others fear the uncontrolled growth and integration of technology in the traditionally human domains because of the fear that technology will oust human labor and dehumanize people overall. Even students of Technology courses, when they start to look for “someone who can do my essays,” are first of all interested in writing about the role of technology in education. Indeed, this is a highly contradictory topic – in some way, technology has enriched education and has made it more diverse. Inclusion of technology in class material delivery has made learning more interactive and tech-savvy, which is important for the development of digital literacy skills essential for citizens of the 21st century. On the other hand, skeptics warn that heavy reliance on technology in education may erode the traditional values and change the very educational process negatively. So, what is the real value or harm of technology for education, and which educational tools does technology offer at present and promise in future? Let’s figure this out.
H2: Tools for Teachers
Technology has changed the way in which teachers now deliver educational material to students and communicate with them. For instance, teachers are now able to collaborate with each other online without any borders – literally on a global scale – and share ideas and resources with each other. This is a real boost for education, since in earlier times, teachers were limited with the course materials of their educational establishment, their local and national practices, and had to spend much time and money to visit some other countries for enriching their experience. Now they can use the virtual space for communication and partnering with colleagues from all over the world, which makes the teaching process more appropriate, valuable, and flexible.
Second, teachers now have access to learning materials and resources worldwide through the Web, and can conduct further learning, search for new interesting materials for courses, and view best practices from other teachers online. This mode of professional development is very flexible, as you may spend only a couple of minutes a day, or hours a week, to learn something new and develop as an educator. As a result, the quality of such teachers’ work with students increases, and student satisfaction and educational outcomes improve as well.
Finally, it is essential to note that educators now have a much greater toolkit for individual approach to every student. While in the past, the teacher had to keep track of each student’s pace of learning and individual learning style in the classroom, now all data and student records are held in online journals. Each student has an individual account in the educational establishment’s system, which simplifies his or her educational progress tracking and assessment. Thus, the teacher gets more able to perform individualized evaluation and give recommendations to each student based on the personal data.
H2: Benefits for Students
No doubt, for students, the intense use of technology in the classroom is an even greater benefit. First, education becomes more relevant for them, as modern children grow up hand in hand with technology and become tech-savvy at a very young age. As a result, they often come to school with a set of digital literacy skills that they wish to apply to learning, and traditional learning methods seem too slow, boring, and outdated for them. Luckily, schools are getting increasingly aware of the need to keep students interested and motivated for studies, so they are enforcing technology integration into the educational process.
Besides being relevant and interesting, technology is a wonderful tool for developing students’ research skills at a young age. While in the past, most part of education took place with students passively consuming information delivered by the teacher, technology enables scaffolding to a larger degree. Now the teacher is much more of a guide and coordinator for the students, while the latter search for information, analyze it, and present the synthesis to classmates and supervisor. This benefit also reflects students’ access to the diversity of learning material online as another advantage of technology-enhanced learning. Students are also no longer limited by the finite amount of material in the course of their educational establishment and can search for evidence in the Web.
Moreover, students like the flipped classroom practice that has become quite popular recently. It involves shifting the exposure of students to content from the classroom to home, and takes the form of readings, instructional videos, collaborative online activities, individual online assignments, and some combinations of these technologically enhanced types of educational work. Since the activities take place online, they are of interest to students, and active engagement of students in them results in active learning and better educational outcomes.
H2: Future Trends
So, if technology is so good for students and teachers alike, what should be expect from it in future? Has technology given all it can for the educational sector, or are there are innovations that are yet to come and change the educational process even more? Here are some trends observed in the ed-tech field now and projected to continue being present in the years to come:
- Students are getting more personal access to mobile devices. Though in the majority of developed countries, each student has a couple of devices already, the trend is expanding to less developed countries as well. It is not surprising, since technology is getting ever more accessible, and students all over the world now can afford participating in the global online classroom.
- Connectivity is growing. For many of us, constant access to 3G and 4G connection is a commonplace, accustomed reality, but in many parts of the world, it is still rare and unaffordable for masses of people. However, things are changing, and Internet connection is getting ever more accessible without boundaries. Therefore, we can expect that in the next couple of years, students will have greater access to online education regardless of their location.
- The use of mobile devices for schoolwork is increasing. All students have smartphones, and they are integrated into the educational process as a tool; that’s very convenient, as students may leave textbooks at home, but they will never part with their phone. Hence, teachers can reach out to students much better by sending them homework, reminders of the assignment submission deadlines, alerts and announcements about school events, and other relevant material.
- Video is getting a more commonplace part of homework. Finally, it is vital to point out the growing role of video content in both class work and homework. Videos are consumed and understood by students much better and easier than reading materials are, so their comprehension grows. In addition, it is much more engaging for a student to watch a video than to read a book, and it is an additional valuable way for teachers to reach out to students effectively.
As you can see, technology is beneficial for studies, and there are many ways in which it will continue to develop. So, the best approach is to enjoy the process and reap the benefits of technological innovation for more effective and involving educational process.