Role of technology in education

The growth of technology and social media in the 21st century has changed how we shop, connect, socialize, play and most importantly, how we learn.

Ten years ago we used to walk or drive to the grocery store to buy our groceries and today we visit the online store, place the grocery order online and viola, the order is delivered to our doorstep.

Technology has intertwined with almost every part of our lives and with its ever growing presence, it only makes sense to bring it to the classroom. Gone are the days that a teacher stands between a group of students and a black/white board in a classroom.

We live in such an era where devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones fill the hands of our kids. Most people have instant access to knowledge on any topic that has ever been known to mankind - at one click away via the internet. 

In developed countries with stable economies where most advanced technologies are abundantly available, schools and universities have already embraced the technology to educate the next generation of learners, while some economies or developing countries are still struggling to have access to the same technologies. It seems fair to assume that when the world progress with newer and better technologies, those communities too will gain access to technology and start to following the same trend.

Let’s take dive into the vast sea of technologies and see how it assists the educators and learners.

Technology provides multiple sources for learning. Instead of the teacher being the only source of help, students can access websites, online tutorials, and more to assist them. Learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school day because students have access to teachers, resources, and assignments through the internet and online networks and access these resources at any time. Students can also seek out help and tutoring at any time, whether from the teacher via email or online collaboration, or from a help website.

It also provides multiple sources for teaching. Apart from using the textbook in the school curriculum, teachers can now use various material and resources to educate students. Research papers, White papers and many other publications available online are to name a few. The teacher no longer has to dictate facts from a book to students. Instead, they can guide students to access the internet, find resources and answers, encourage questions and becomes their coach for finding solutions and answers themselves. 

Providing the most up-to-date information while bringing entertainment is another role that technology plays in a classroom. When you have access to the internet in a classroom, teachers and students can reach the most recent updates on any subject matter with one click of a button.  It turns the classroom into a happier place. Students do not necessarily have to carry heavy books around anymore. Learning becomes a fun process for students, where they can play online games, solve puzzles and interact with other kids inside the classroom. 

Technology acts as an enabler of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking of students inside a classroom. It helps students to learn to communicate the way the world communicates, collaborate projects, online assignments with others. And it also provides an ample number of platforms where students can improve creativity such as music or art. And if technology is used correctly in a classroom, it can also promote the critical thinking of students and help create problem solvers.

Involving parents is another way to encourage students to reach their highest potential. Most parents today are extremely occupied with busy work schedules, different working hours and can’t always help their child with homework or attend school meetings. Technology can help. Parents can visit the class website online and see what their child is working on; they can contact teachers via email or social/online networks. Furthermore, they can monitor their child’s attendance and grades through online systems. 

Using technology in the classroom to learn today, helps craft next generation of professionals tomorrow. How so? Children who've been using computers, smart boards, other technologies and social media during their learning process, are better equipped with skills and minds to cope up with technologies present in their future work environments. They are more likely to make faster and smarter decisions and be successful in their chosen jobs/careers. The more they use technology to learn now, the more they become familiar with technologies and make them technologically savvy when they are grown up. 

Being a platform for all virtual and online learning programs and making the distant learning programs so much easier to conduct and follow is another role played by technology in the 21st-century education. It brings together students from various communities and countries and helps exchange their knowledge and ideas via online study programs via online discussion groups, forums, instant messaging and video conferencing facilities.

The role of technology in a classroom is ever changing as the technology itself evolves. Educators may find it challenging to decide the extent of which technology is used to teach students and coming up with blended learning programs. However, it is pivotal to review and choose the right technologies and how they are utilized inside a classroom time to time, with new advancements in technologies over time. 

Created: July 28th 2016


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