Technology has introduced revolutionary changes in all areas of life, from interpersonal communication, economy, entertainment industry, even education. It seems that today, more than ever, students are faced with changes that not only fundamentally alter the way they learn, but their everyday life as well. It is simply impossible to ignore the tremendous impact that modern technologies have on new generations of students.
Children grow up with laptops, tablets, various gadgets and modern digital systems, so they have long been ready for the modernization of education. With that in mind, the importance of technology in education only becomes more obvious. Learning styles have changed over the years, gradually introducing new technologies with a potential to improve teaching.
Students’ readiness for technology in the classroom is excellent news, because the digital age brings new challenges, not only in education, but in all other areas of life as well. Therefore, it is important that students learn to harness all the potential of modern society while still at school.
Technology as a bridge connecting students and school
Educational technology refers to the implementation of advanced technologies, i.e. software and hardware that enable modern teaching methods. This way, students and educators have access to numerous digital and educational resources that facilitate mutual cooperation and make it easier for students to master the teaching material. This modern approach has brought changes at all levels of education, from elementary school to college.
Improving the learning experience is directly related to student needs and life habits. Given that they use social media and the Internet and play video games on a daily basis, children expect information to be presented in a similar way at school. Lesson content should be pictorial and entertaining, it should captivate their attention and contain as little redundant information as possible, which is one of the major shortcomings of the traditional approach to education. Of course, school responsibilities are not the same as playing video games, but it is useful to know what things can draw and hold students’ attention and help them master the teaching material.
It is clear that teachers need to understand the needs of their students, how they communicate with each other, and things that can be used to draw their attention and make them interested in the teaching material. This way, children will want to apply their knowledge for educational purposes, instead of entering intergenerational conflict. Interestingly enough, teachers also benefit from the new technologies and teaching methods, because many segments of their job have been simplified.
Easier teacher-student communication and cooperation
It has been long believed that the most efficient teaching method is traditional lecturing, where students passively follow the teacher’s lecture. A lot has changed in the last couple of years, and teachers were given the opportunity to make use of the advantages of modern resources. Therefore, as far as teachers are concerned, the importance of technology in education is obvious:
- Easier communication with students
- Records of students and their progress are digitized
- Testing can be done using different apps for students
- Teachers are better informed which positively affects the quality of teaching
- Possibility of creating engaging, multimedia-assisted lectures
- More effective, and time-efficient work in the classroom
- More time and opportunities for professional development
All these things improve teacher-student cooperation and aim to provide students with the best possible education.
Technology has permanently changed our approach to education
The importance of technology in education is visible at each level of education, however, junior grades of elementary school and high school are where modernization is most acutely felt, because in this period, children prepare for important challenges that await them at the next stage of education, which is why it is crucial that they approach learning in the right way. Many things are now easier, which allows children to focus on their personal development.
Information has never been so accessible
In the past, students spent a large part of their time searching for information. Nowadays, the search for information is digitized and practically everything can be found on the Internet. Instead of going to the library, students can find the desired content on Google or any other search engine. This way, the learning environment becomes an online environment that provides information in all possible formats (text, audio, video, photographs, infographics, etc.).
Thus, students get a better understanding of the teaching material that enables better learning in line with the standards of the 21st century skills. This advanced approach is based on tools – fast Internet, stable Wi-Fi and a laptop (tablet or mobile phone) and therefore many schools make great efforts to give each of their students access to a computer.
Modern communication models have greatly facilitated learning from home, i.e. online learning. This teaching method became extremely important during the 2020 global pandemic when schools were forced to shut down and fully switch to distance learning. Even before that, online courses were very popular, because they provided education to people who wanted professional development, but didn’t have enough time or money to get it. Distance education enables individuals to attend lectures even if the lecturer is on another continent.
Not only does online education enable people to attend schools that may be physically located in another part of the planet, but it also allows them to work and study. Namely, many educational institutions have recognized the role of technology in education and enabled students to attend classes, take tests and work on projects when it suits them. This way, quality education has become available to a larger number of people.
Improved development of student critical thinking
The importance of technology in education is particularly evident when it comes to the development of critical thinking. Different educational approaches allow students to express themselves in original ways, thus arriving at different solutions. In that process, they approach information critically, thinking about each available piece of information to reach the desired result.
The place that used to belong to textbooks and notebooks is now occupied by tablets, videos, animations, Internet, audio recordings, collages, etc. This way, students can communicate in a way that is most familiar and relatable to them, so even shy students or those who struggle with teamwork now have the opportunity to shine and achieve better results.
Perhaps the most obvious change occurred in the classroom of modern schools. The only ‘gadgets’ that were available in the traditional classroom were the blackboard, chalk and the classroom globe, whereas nowadays, they have access to state-of-the-art technological advances, even artificial intelligence. Thanks to virtual reality, students can visit any part of the planet in geography classes, or watch a 3D movie about the ancient world in history classes.
Education has come a long way from using a projector in class. All the things mentioned above are used in higher education, where bigger university budgets allow a wider and more comprehensive application of the latest technologies for educational and research purposes.
The potential of technology in education
As you can see, the importance of technology in education is tremendous, and its impact is growing. However, it is crucial to implement technology in education in the right way, because many traditional teaching methods should continue to exist. In addition, the computer is not applicable in every situation, nor is learning with it necessarily more efficient. Therefore, it is up to teachers to strike a balance between future-ready education and the good old offline teaching.