Technology And Its Impact On Education

We’ve all heard the rants bemoaning the use of calculators in the classroom, the impending demise of the analog clock, and the addictive powers of video games. Love it or leave it, technology is changing nearly every aspect of the world we live in–including the way our children learn in the classroom. 

Educational TechnologyIn her article, “3 Ways Technology is Changing Higher Education,” Carole Oldroyd reminds us of the “transition from black and white photos to color and that, not five years ago, many households still had a large, heavy, obtrusive TV set in the living room.” Technology has enhanced our personal lives in countless ways. And, educators and students seem to agree that, for the most part, technology can greatly enhance the learning experience when used properly. Here’s how. 

Technology as a Teaching Tool

The days of dusty chalk and smudged black boards are quickly disappearing. Thanks to the marriage of technology and teaching, students are now presented with a plethora of information in a whole new way. 

The use of more interactive media allows students of all learning styles to better understand and absorb new concepts. Furthermore, the interactive nature of many technologies enables students to learn by actually doing. For instance, role-playing games can be used to teach children how to solve problems as a city planner or manage a family budget. High school students can experience the responsibilities of childrearing through spending time with a high-tech baby doll–an endeavor that, according to “Baby Helps Teens Think it Over,” can dramatically reduce teen pregnancy rates. And virtual manipulatives can enable children to better understand mathematical ideas. 

Technology as a Student’s Tool

Enabling kids to use and adapt to the newest technologies at a young age will not only give them skills with that particular tool, but it will also provide them with the confidence to conquer new technologies throughout their lifetime. This is a huge benefit in a fast-paced world of never-ending change. 

Furthermore, technology has paved the way for students to demonstrate their learning in new and creative ways. Bye-bye boring poster board collages, shoe box dioramas, and lifeless monologues. Thanks to the power of educational software, the Internet, PowerPoint, and more, students can devise lively and polished presentations. And they will likely be very excited to strut their stuff in front of their peers. 

During the attempt to create a top-notch presentation for their classmates, they will also learn valuable lessons including addressing the needs of their audience, deciding which media best suits their message, and identifying the most concise way to communicate said message. Not to mention the benefits of carrying lightweight e-readers or iPads instead of schlepping hernia-inducing backpacks loaded to the max with binders and textbooks–an activity that WebMD’s “Heavy Backpacks Strain Kids’ Spines” states can cause back injury and pain.

Technology as a Source of Information

Without a doubt, technological advances have made it much easier to access information about practically any subject matter imaginable. No longer do students have to rely on outdated library books for research–nor do overextended school systems have to invest sizeable financial investments into their library holdings. Plus, digital libraries require no physical space. 

Furthermore, learners can now meet with other students across the nation–or even the world–to exchange ideas and learn new global perspectives from one another. And, according to “M-Learning: Where Technology Meets Education,” classes need not remain within the hot and sticky confines of the physical classroom any longer thanks to technologies that permit the teacher to move the lesson to the great outdoors. 

The one caveat is that educators need to teach students how to evaluate internet information sources for accuracy and reliability. 

Technology as Problematic

One major concern with the use of the internet as a research tool is the temptation for students to commit academic fraud by copying someone else’s work in its entirety or “cutting and pasting” different passages to create a supposedly “new” work. There is also a problem with students simply regurgitating concepts found on the web and not formulating any ideas or opinions of their own. 

Yes, technological advances have given us many contraptions that we now take for granted. The Keurig in your kitchen, the airbags in your car, the furnace in your basement, and the laptop on your…um…lap have all been made possible by technology. And, according to the experts, it will give your kids a better education too. 

What is your take on technology in the classroom? Why? 

Kimberley Laws
I am a freelance writer, avid blogger, illustrator, and aspiring novelist who thinks the world is a terribly funny place filled with bizarre things to observe--and, of course, comment on.
Kimberley Laws

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