Is Technology the Future of Education?
If someone were to ask me “what is the future of technology in education?” It’s an easy answer for me, technology is the future of education. Yes, technology is ever changing and keeping it up to date and accessible to students and teachers alike is challenging, but it is do-able.
The use of computers, IPads and smart boards in today's classrooms is forever rising. I say, why not take it a step further. Give every child access to a laptop or tablet to aid them in their learning. The world is becoming increasingly more technological, we can not let education be left behind.
If you were to walk into a primary school classroom, you would see a class of 20-30 students. Trying their hardest to aid every child’s learning will be a teacher and one (two if they’re lucky) teaching assistants desperately trying to help every child at every table. It doesn't work, the numbers simply do not add up. What these teachers need is just a little bit of assistance, and that is where technology comes in.
The benefits of using technology in the classroom heavily outweigh the drawbacks, here are the top 10 advantages to using technology in the classroom:
Future: The world is becoming increasingly technological. Children need to be kept up to date with this, as well as the rest of us. The risk of children becoming digital immigrants is not a risk we should be taking.
Aids teachers: Technology can be a beneficial aid in the classroom. As I said earlier, one teacher and TA to 30 children can be a massive struggle, as I have seen myself. Technology can act as a third teaching assistant in the classroom. A child can use the technology available to them to access information that may help them. In this, the technology could be said to be a scaffold in children’s learning, allowing them to reach higher levels.
All abilities: Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) can benefit greatly from technology in the classroom. For example, children with severe disabilities who struggle to write and are often easily disengaged can use tablets to benefit them.
Similarly, a large range of learning styles can be helped through the use of technology. Children can pick and choose apps that suit their specific needs and help them individually.
Engagement and motivation: The children of today love technology and gaming. Using technology in the classroom will engage children as they are excited to use technology. This consequently creates a positive atmosphere within the learning environment. Apps can supply both teachers and students with progress and results instantly, providing motivation to improve. Children are motivated to get higher on virtual leaderboards and top each other's scores. A study conducted in America on kindergarten students showed that the students who used iPads had significantly higher scores in literacy tests than those who did not use a device. 86% of teachers in Europe say that pupils are more motivated when technology is involved.
Social and global aspect: Students can connect with peers in their own classroom, throughout the whole school, even across the country and possibly the world. By connecting with other schools and students across nations, they can learn about different cultures and religions, gaining a deeper understanding.
Assessment: Assessing students can be done instantly. If there is a problem with a child’s learning, or they are struggling, teachers can see this and can help straight away. For example, a whole class could be given a question through an app with multiple answers to select from, the teacher can then automatically see the students who are struggling and help them instantly. This means that teachers can help straight away without having to wait until they mark the students’ work.
Homework: Similarly to what I said in assessment, teachers can see progress straight away and work can be marked more easily. If the homework to be done is online, there is no excuse for not doing it and children will not get away with it.
Up to date: In my experience within the education system, I have seen that textbooks within schools can often be up to 10 years out of date. I think this is a crucial problem. Think about how much can, and has, changed in the past 10 years, and children are missing out on this valuable subject knowledge. Why when technology can be constantly updated and kept up to date with the present day, so children are never missing out on valuable information? A study in California showed that students using iPads scored 20% higher in maths than those using traditional textbooks.
Cost: Books, stationary and printouts can be very costly, not to mention environmentally unfriendly. Technology can help to save on these costs. Apps and devices can be updated regularly and most apps are even free, no need to spend lots of money on new books.
Convenience: Books, such as textbooks and notepads, can be heavy and annoying to carry around school. Alternatively, a laptop or tablet is very light and convenient to carry around and reduces weight.
The partnership of technology and education is clearly a positive and beneficial thing. It just needs to be given some time and effort to be put into action. Tablets and laptops for every child in the classroom, and used throughout the curriculum in every subject area, could be a breath of fresh air for the education system and something that I personally think needs to happen.
© 2017 Siobhan Kearley