How technology has changed education
In the 21st century, technology has had a huge impact on many aspects of how we go about our lives. These days, technology is a vital component for much communication, entertainment, shopping, and more. And, most educators would agree that technology has had a dramatic effect on the teaching and learning process, the tools used in schools and colleges to assist with learning, and students having more freedom and flexibility when it comes to how and where they study.
So, how exactly has technology impacted the way that we learn in the past few years? Today, it’s made it possible to learn in ways that would have been unheard of just a few decades ago, like online degree qualifications, or online classroom collaboration. Here are just some of the main ways in which modern technology has changed the way that most people learn.
The Audience Has Changed
Due to technological advances, students’ sense of audience today is completely different from what it was just a few decades ago. Back then the audience was your teacher, and this evolved to the teacher and peers. Today, the world is your audience. Over time, the growth of blogging, social media networks, and other online platforms have completely changed our notion of who our audience is.
Poster Boards Are No More
Technology has drawn more and more students away from pen and paper, and electronics in the classroom are no longer something to hide under your desk, but more of a vital learning aid. Presentation boards are a thing of the past, with web tools like Glogster having a huge impact on this experience.
Students can use technology to create multimedia posters and presentations to demonstrate their knowledge on a topic, without having to pick up a pen at all. Pen and paper are still used, but nowhere near as common, which has led to:
- More environmentally-friendly classrooms
- Reduced waste
- Increased online collaboration between students
- Less need for supplies for both students and teachers
Ring Binders Aren’t as Common
Maybe you remember being in school or college and the annoyance that came with carrying a bulky ring binder around with you everywhere. These days, students never have to know the shoulder pain that came along with that. A laptop computer or even a tablet can easily keep all your files and handouts in neat and organized folders, and there are web tools and apps that students can download to create online binders and organize their notes.
Learning is no longer restricted to the classroom, making it more easily accessible to anybody. Online courses are on the rise thanks to sites like Udemy, where you can enroll in courses created by experts in pretty much any field that you choose. But online learning courses aren’t just restricted to improving your knowledge of a subject or learning a new skill.
If you want to, there are many options to choose from that enable you to gain a qualification online; online degree programs are on the rise thanks to institutions like Suffolk University, which offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs that can be studied from the comfort of your own home as long as you have a computer and an internet connection. Online degrees have several benefits, including:
- The ability to access education and gain a degree even if your circumstances prevent you from attending physical classes
- Easier access to higher education for single parents, full-time workers, and people with disabilities
- The ability to gain a degree from a school of your choice even if physical relocation is not possible
- The option of getting your degree at a lower cost, thanks to less associated fees with studying online compared to studying on-campus
Textbooks as we know them are completely changing due to technology. They are no longer based on text and pictures alone; in fact, many modern textbooks come complete with websites that include animations, videos, additional materials, interactive quizzes, forums and much more to help support the learning of new content. In addition, eBooks are becoming far more prevalent in schools and colleges thanks to modern advancements in e-reading devices and tablet computers.
Downloading a textbook to your smartphone is easier than ever, and can save students time, space, and money – plus energy, that would normally be lost carrying bulky books around.
No More Note Passing
While it may or may not always be directly connected to learning, students aren’t passing each other notes in class anymore – they just text one another instead. While some students might be texting each other about anything but the learning materials, it’s also important to note that this new ease of communication between students in large classes has also had a significant impact on how students work together and collaborate on group projects. Students can use tools like Google Docs or Google Sheets to work together on projects without the need to get up from their desks or even be on the school campus at all.
Increased Web-Based Research
Libraries are still an important pillar of education, but much more research and learning are now done online. This is also facilitated in libraries, where rows and rows of computers have taken the place of bookshelves, and it’s more important to make sure that desks are fitted with charging ports rather than reading lights.
What used to take hours in the library to find, students can now discover with a few clicks by using Google and other search engines. And, many universities have web-based libraries of eBooks, journals and more for students to take advantage of.
More Learner Needs are Met
Finally, modern technology has made it easier for educators to meet the needs of all learners. Classroom-based, pen-and-paper learning is no longer the only way forward, and technology has made it possible to offer different ways to learn to different students, allowing them to truly follow their own learning style and study in a way that best suits them.
Has technology had an impact on your own learning experience over time?