Technology has become an integral part of human society and its role will increase over time changing almost every aspect of our lives. It is altering the way we communicate, socialise, do business, play, learn and teach. As a result of the introduction of technology, the learning environment is constantly evolving. Students are now exposed to a much greater range of options. In the past, people used to study in classrooms only, whereas now, with one computer or a smart device and internet access, learning happens anytime and anywhere. Following these changes, the role of teachers has changed to support the development of students’ needs, skills, and knowledge. Technology and education are now inextricably linked, and technology is there to open new horizons and opportunities. Its presence has transformed how we see and approach education, and the following changes demonstrate the impact it has had on education.
Increased Access to Education
Modern learning technology has allowed students to have better access to an enormous range of information whereas, in pre-internet times, it was quite difficult for an average person to find necessary books. They were always rare and expensive, accessible only to the privileged elite. Various forms of educational content such as books, videos, blogs, and podcasts are now available online. It’s also possible now for students to get an education and a degree online on various platforms. Although many students still prefer traditional textbooks, eBooks have opened a wide range of possibilities. Contrary to what most people think, eBooks aren’t just digital versions of paper books, they offer much more. For instance, multimedia content can be incorporated into a PDF book for better illustration. Also, students don't have to carry as many books as before but they still have instant access to a wide range of online books they might need to complete their tasks.
Encouraged Collaborative Learning
With such a wide technological versatility in learning, students nowadays can collaborate more easily and effectively. Collaborative learning is when two or more individuals learn something together and it typically involves problem-based learning, conversations, analysis, and other ways of active participation. Technical equipment such as laptops and smart devices are of great help in the process of remote collaboration and online learning. In that way, students learn new approaches to problem-solving and ways of collaborating with their peers, which is a valuable skill for future potential careers. Collaboration is a requirement, ranging from social networking websites to instant messaging software, with numerous resources that promote and encourage cooperation such as the famous Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote. Another perk is that students can help each other by creating online resource bases such as the extensive KCL study notes with materials uploaded by those students who have already covered certain topics and passed those exams.
Static classroom framework was previously the main characteristic of the world of education. The learning experience was the same for every student regardless of their needs or skills, which caused some students to thrive in this environment while others were left with their needs unmet. Having technology present in the learning process enhances a school’s ability to meet the needs of various students that might have hearing, speech, or vision impairments, as well as those with physical disabilities that prevent them from regularly attending classes. Students with cognitive, emotional, or developmental disabilities can now benefit from technological advances due to their capacity to enhance communication opportunities and access to information.
Changed Roles of the Teachers
Teachers’ and students’ responsibilities have also changed as a result of technical improvements. The teacher is still the primary source of knowledge with students on the receiving end, but they're now not the only ones. Today, with increased access to resources and educational opportunities enabled by technology, the teacher is less considered as the only source of knowledge and more of a guide and a moderator of the learning process. This also means that students are taking more responsibility for their learning and are using technology to find relevant information. As a result, schools and universities across the country are reimagining learning environments to support this new paradigm of education, encouraging more students engagement and independent work.
Traditional Education vs. Modern Method – striking the balance
The trend of flipped classrooms where students learn new content online at home to prepare for class and homework is done in class with teachers makes room for more personalised guidance and interaction with students, instead of having only traditional lecturing. However, as much as these new learning models are enriching conventional education, they should be applied with caution. Too much screen time can lead to alienation so the recommendation is to use these new models of learning as a method rather than the basis of teaching. Technology does help in saving time but the trick is to find the balance between the use of technology and real social contact.
Technology is a powerful and effective tool that can greatly improve education. All parties involved, the teachers, students, and parents can draw benefits from free access to online resources, customised learning materials, and opportunities for further learning. Schools all across the country can embrace new technology knowing that it will be a good investment in their student's future. Ultimately, technology is here to stay and advance as a high-level asset in any modern classroom.