How New Technologies are Changing Education
Technology has revolutionized all the aspects of modern life, from housework to communication, from business to entertainment. Education is an area which paradigm has been completely changed by technological advancements and their implementation. Today’s classrooms have tools that can enable students to learn different things and at such pace that was impossible only a decade ago, thanks to new technology.
Students can create projects that would have required large investments of time and money in the past. They can use their handheld devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops (that are more powerful than the technology used to send a man to the moon) to connect to the Internet and meet anybody on the planet or access any information they need.
Availability of information
Before, students had to visit a library and browse through dozens of books in order to find the information needed to, for example, write an essay or paper on a particular topic. Libraries have a limited number of books and have their work hours, so if there were no book copies left for you to use and if it was vacation time, there was no way to gain access to the information you needed. Today, what you need is a computer and an Internet connection to have access to unlimited sources of information, from wherever you like, and whenever you like. This can be seen as the same kind of revolution brought by Gutenberg’s printing press in the 15th century.
Thanks to technology, the aspect of communication has been changed and improved dramatically. Not that long ago, if you needed to get in touch with a student or your teacher, you were limited to letters, phone calls, or personal visits at the university. Today, you’re just an email away from them. Thanks to blogs, forums, and (especially) social media, you can reach your fellow students and communicate with them easily.
Evolutions of textbooks
Textbooks were very limited in their printed form – there was text, pictures, and tests, and that was about all of it. Many education facilities nowadays have their digital textbooks that provide much more to their students, thanks to their digital form which offers multimedia content. For instance, what was once a boring biology lesson about cell division, it can be made much more interesting if we include animations, videos, and links to additional information, making learning a much more comprehensive experience.
Textbooks can also be shared, as there are websites where you can download lecture notes and student scripts, which can be of great help for preparing your exams. For example, there is an Australian website where you can find past exams from QUT and other Australian colleges to help you prepare for exams.
Learning and studying was, in the past, a more theoretical than applied practice. Take the books, sit down, read and memorize every piece of information that you could. Then, repeat and try to recreate what you had memorized when asked by a teacher or a professor. Today, with practical segments of the studies being introduced right away, knowledge gets put into practice much sooner, allowing students to have a better understanding of the content of their courses.
In 2014, National Center for Educational statistics published survey results that showed that 1 in 5 undergraduates has participated in at least 1 distance education course during their studies. Online educational tools and distance learning solutions are growing in popularity, and so does the effectiveness with teachers and colleges. In the past, trying to learn something without being present in the same room as the teaches was unimaginable.
Today, with video chat services and tools, such as Skype, the reach of education has been extended to almost every corner of the planet. There are also online portals that host courses from universities around the world, as well as websites like YouTube, where you can find a tutorial on almost anything.
Increased educational options
Let’s say that you want to work in IT, but don’t have the time or money to spend on formal, college education. Today, you don’t have to do it, but just enroll in an IT online course and learn everything you need for your future occupation. You used to be quite limited when it comes to college choices, as there was the matter of high prices and geographical location of good colleges. Thanks to new technologies, you don’t need to spend so much money on education that may or may not be wasted. Also, graduating on an Ivy League college won’t necessarily promise you a higher pay today as it did in the past.
People seem to rush to digitize education, but they do it with a firm reason. They want education to be spread, so they must provide strong efforts in providing everything required for harnessing these teaching tools (electricity and tools).
Education is being changed by technology, and the world is so close to providing it to those who are deprived of it. This kind of revolution can be key to ending extreme poverty. Thus, understanding and respecting local needs, capacities, and needs has to be a part of the educational development, no matter if it takes place on a computer screen or a chalkboard.