In this essay I will talk about a topic that is close to my heart, a topic we can all relate to on a day-to-day basis and a topic that is constantly evolving every minute. I will talk about the role of technology in education.
As the centuries have passed education now almost seems unrecognizable. More and more frequently we are seeing students introducing technology into their education to help their own learning. The data that was once stored on floppy disks is now stored onto websites for all to access and the classic blackboard has now been replaced with smart boards and computers. Tech also brings along it’s perks such as exciting new opportunities and benefits to learning, yet has technology always had the best impact on children’s education?
Firstly, I think we can all remember a time that the teacher was handing out our end of unit tests, only to find out she hadn’t printed enough. Imagine your child being the one left out due to the teachers ‘photocopying budgets’. Well not all faith is lost! Computers/ laptops allow you to complete tests and quizzes online with the same ease and in a controlled manner. Not only can the teacher track your scores but they will also be able to track individual progress and mistakes throughout the test just as they would’ve before. Deputy headteacher Mr. Dunn feels very strongly about the use of technology in tests saying how “the Internet and technology has revolutionized the testing system and made the data we can collect from these tests even greater, so we can determine the areas that each pupil needs to work on”. Feedback is instantaneous, communication is effortless and planning stress is often reduced. Another noteworthy point is that technology allows disabled students to complete tasks in a way that encourages engagement with the topic. The use of technology in special education allows the barrier to be broken for disabled people so they can be provided with a fruitful education. Education’s traditional teaching methods can become a challenge for some children with learning difficulties. For instance, studies have shown that children with down syndrome learn better with a greater range of stimuli, including visual lessons rather than spoken input. For example, words like ‘hare’ and ‘hair’ have two completely different meanings but are spelt the same way. Children with disabilities are more likely to recognize the human hair that we produce rather than the animal however, if an image is provided of a hare, then the child will be able to process the differences quicker and intake the visual image. This is where computers become a huge advantage as the information is presented visually in picture and writing form. Visual learning from computers can allow periods of attention to be increased by up to 42%, higher motivation in the classroom and most importantly a confidence boost for children. And yes, you may be thinking to yourself, most children can exceed in a rigid classroom structure, but those who find this setup difficult face needs that cannot be met, showing how technology has opened a new path for many.
Technology has provided a sense of inclusion for all as there are endless ways of adapting computers to suit the needs of students. Students who may not experience the same level of day-to-day independence, such as students with learning difficulties and disabilities, can be rewarded with the ability to use a cursor and keyboard, which uses significantly less precision than writing and drawing require.
Worried, concerned and disquieted; many have felt the same way when venturing into something new that is still evolving, however why should this hold anyone back. The Internet, despite being sometimes negatively reviewed by the press, is an amazing place, full of sites that will benefit you and get you hooked into using the Internet daily. It is full of useful resources for revision, podcasts on topics you may take an interest to and e-books. Some would even say that the Internet is similar to a highway, with many ways to go that lead you to many different places. After questioning fellow students, I can conclude that the Internet has had a positive impact on their learning. Charlie Barker, a fellow student of mine confesses that he wished he’d found out sooner how useful revision guides on BBC BiteSize, a site which offers online study support and aids students from their first steps in a classroom to their final day of their academic period are. He went as far as saying, “It has changed my life completely, giving me greater confidence in exams and a much more fulfilled knowledge on subjects”.
Continuing on from what Charlie Barker said, 63 percent of students in the UK say technology allows them to feel they have prepared better for classes and 82% of students went on to say that digital technology allows them to spend a greater amount of time studying through the increased amount of accessibility.
Now we’ve talked about how learning opportunities are limitless in modern education due to the rise of technology, however it has also boosted the collaboration and communication between students and teachers and the devices they use. Modern education has given a new and greater emphasis to interactivity in the classroom. Students can engage directly with the technology they use such as interactive models, computers and videos. Technology also allows students to work in a collaborative manner. Technology allows us to keep in contact with other students and teachers via emails and school websites. This is a vital life skill for the future world of work as many will be working alongside other peers. Laptops, smartphones and tablets are key to remote collaboration and online learning outside the classroom and they enable a much healthier relationship between students and teachers.
On the other hand, some teachers and schools believe the Internet is harmful to students and the work they submit. By being granted access to all of this information filled websites students can easily plagiarize their work. Not only does plagiarism put your child at the risk of having exam papers disqualified but it could also lead to legal actions along the line. If students are taught how to take information from websites and manipulate it into their own work successfully then plagiarism can be avoided however many children see copying as the easiest option. It is also unethical as it is a form of theft that leads to self-benefits. As technology has grown teachers are able to check their students’ work for any plagiarism and monitor what information is theirs and what isn’t.
Moreover, there could be further negatives to consider. Technology possesses many tools to increase a child’s knowledge and performances however these are not the only important aspects of the education system. As students are prepared for the world of work through education, a key aspect is the ability to collaborate and socialize in a professional manner with fellow peers however, could technology promote the opposite. The individual use of computers, phones and other smart devices could be disengaging socialization of students in face-to-face learning. Face-to-face learning is a vital skill every child should learn however could introducing technology into a child’s classroom affect the socialization between them and their peers in the classroom. Around a quarter of students in the UK (23%) say they would choose to work with a computer rather than a peer if given the facilities to do so. These statistics reinforce the idea that technology can have detrimental effects on the social aspects of a school.
In conclusion, I absolutely believe that technology improves the learning process. The technology market for schools is growing and becoming more and more unimaginable. Every year more and more Internet devices are being created that are revolutionizing schools, and the possibilities are becoming more and more limitless.