Undoubtedly, technology has taken over the world by storm, for better or for worse. For the past 20 years or so, we have witnessed a rise in all things internet-based, as well as smartphones, laptops and iPads. Whether you believe in the power of technology for good, it's clear that it has had a huge impact on our day to day lives, and not least of all, education.
So how exactly has education been affected by a surge in technology? Clearly, the basis of education, where a teacher instructs students, is still in place today, and there are many face to face learning advantages. However, there are also countless benefits of technology in education. Here we have given you just a few.
Is there more accessibility?
The benefits of online classes are that they can easily be created virtually and across long distances. There is no longer a need for teachers and their students to be in the same place during a lesson, which also means that both children and educators can complete their work within the familiarity of their own home. In addition, anyone who cannot make a commute to school due to distance or other responsibilities now has access to online lessons and material, meaning they don’t always have to be online at a specific time, and they can focus on other aspects of their lives. This creates an increased importance of online learning It gives students at a disadvantage a greater opportunity to learn and overall makes education much more equal, for everyone.
In what ways does interaction change?
This can be both negative and positive- there are many pros and cons to online interaction. For instance, students can very quickly send their teachers questions regarding their lessons via email and texting, rather than having to wait for their next class. Nevertheless, this also means that the social aspects of face-to-face conversations no longer exist. However, online interaction also means that students with special needs feel more comfortable communicating to their teachers when they’re alone, rather than worrying about being in front of their classmates, and possibly “wasting their time” because of their personal needs. They are also more likely to have their family nearby, meaning they’ll feel safer in their environment.
How does the content differ?
In a classroom, the main sources of information available tend to be the teacher’s knowledge, and the appropriate textbooks. With online learning, there is much more material accessible through the internet, such as on YouTube and Google. Using these sites, students can find a wider range of information relating to their lessons and use it in their virtual classrooms or to assist with their homework. It means newer ideas being generated, and more independent students.
Doesn’t interactivity decrease?
No! Contrary to the previously perceived idea that online learning means less interaction, it can actually lead to more. When students have more control over navigating the internet to find information and learn, they are more engaged in the process than, for example, memorising a list of world countries from a textbook at school. This also leads to students are more likely to enjoy learning and pursue topics further after their lessons take place.
Can an online learning environment be adapted to my child’s needs?
Certainly- an online learning space leaves plenty of room for any student to adapt it to their specific requirements. Naturally, no-one learns in the same way as another person, so with the many learning tools that can be found online, your child has the opportunity to experiment until they find what works for them. Consequently, they have a much more personalised learning experience, making it overall much more enjoyable for them. This helps students make further progress in their lessons and be more engaged during their lessons.
Will classroom dynamics be affected?
They will, and it’s our belief that they change for the better. When students have the internet to research ideas, they no longer solely rely on their educators for information and this means their teachers are people who they can discuss and develop their ideas with, rather than passively listening and taking notes. Students will see their teachers as mentors more than lecturers and feel more comfortable talking to them.
Does technology-based learning have any future implications?
The answer is yes, it does, and these are all of benefit to students. Although many people might have been used to learning through textbooks in a classroom and might at first feel unfamiliar learning online, everyone should have experience working with technology. This is because in the near future, it is likely that most careers will require knowledge of how to work digitally and use technology to the employee’s benefit. Using technology to learn now prepares the next generation for a world filled with it.
The impact of technology on education- good or bad?
From what we’ve seen so far, we’d say a confident good. Online distance learning comes with countless other advantages and benefits; what we’ve listed here are a few of many. It makes learning more engaging for all involved and provides a much more equal learning experience for everyone. Naturally, each online distance learning school has its own online teaching methods, but overall with technology-based learning, we are on the right track to achieving a common goal: education for all.