Slowly, but surely, technology is changing education. There is evidence showing that tech not only improves access to but also the quality of education. It has been argued that technology improves teacher-student engagement, from whiteboards to virtual classrooms.
Of course, for long, technology has been transforming how we interact outside the classroom. However, in the recent past, the beneficial effects have started to be witnessed in the education sector. Concerns have been raised over the possible negative implications of tech for students. These mostly revolve around content, distraction, and privacy.
That said, the transition to a more digital society is starting to positively impact education. In this article, we present a balanced debate on the benefits and challenges facing education technology.
Benefits of Education Technology
In truth, technology-driven education is gaining popularity fast, despite the financial implications. Today, technology is changing learning in ways that involve replacing the teacher-reliant model of instruction with one that is centered around the student. What is important to note is the ways in which technology requires teachers to become motivators.
Of course, the instructor is also better able to enable students to understand concepts in a clearer and more interesting way. Even if you are thinking, “I want to pay someone to write my paper,” there is an application for that. Here are some direct benefits that can come from investing in technology.
Technology Allows Greater Flexibility
Times are changing, and education needs to adjust. Today, more people are choosing to get jobs before pursuing higher learning. For most students, combining the rigors of the workplace with the demands of the traditional classroom can become too much to handle.
Online technology is emerging as a great way to free up teachers and students. It allows participants in the learning process to take a more targeted approach to instruction. Thanks to such strategies as the blended approach to teaching, use online platforms and videos to allow learners to take in information at their own pace.
Students can now study part-time, scheduling their classes around their timetables. Everyone is able to learn at his or her own pace. Thanks to learning applications, students are able to get greater access to quality information outside the classroom setting. This means that learning can now happen anywhere as long as students have access to technology.
Technology Makes Quality Education More Accessible
With technology, access is not just about quantity, but also quality. For many years, students have been kept out of classrooms by geographic and physical barriers. There are those who are not able to attend their preferred colleges because of the costs involved in commuting to and living abroad.
Thanks to technology, access to quality education has improved considerably. Today, a learner can attend classes online from any college in the world. The barriers have been eliminated. By offering the tools for bridging the disparities in access to education, technology also serves to narrow the socio-economic gaps that exist in society. Research shows that children from poor families have 50% less likely to get to college. Technology gives these students improved access to learning through personalized coaching and tailored information.
Technology Improved Efficiency and Collaboration
Another great benefit of incorporating technology in the education sector is the potential for improved efficiency. Stakeholders in the education sector are always worried about value for investment. As it turns out, the surge in the popularity of applications makes it easy to reach vast crowds at very low costs.
Teachers can issue assignments on short notice and at low costs. Students are also able to access study material such as books and guides at low costs. All they need is the initial investment in technological devices. There is also the possibility to use technology for classroom management and assessment.
In terms of collaboration, technology allows students to research and share information. There is evidence showing that a collaborative approach to learning is relatively effective. As the flurry of collaborative tools and networking applications continue disrupting the social landscape, there is much potential for the education sector. Students are more motivated to develop their practical skills. They are able better able to seek feedback on their learning.
Possible Challenges Facing Educational Technology
The main challenge facing the use of education technology is the cost of adoption. Most of the devices required for implementation, including virtual classrooms and other gadgets, are quite expensive. It has been argued that not all forms of technology are outrightly beneficial for learning. For instance, the use of mobile phones in the school environment can cause major distractions. Social networking sites, if not well-managed, also pose serious challenges.