Starting as early as preschool, children will be introduced to computer programs and media presentations as a part of their learning experience. By the time students hit college, new technology becomes the center of their educational existence. This mixed blessing comes with a list of pros and cons, however. Here are some ways in which the classroom experience is different, for better or worse.
The cons? Comes with the territory.
Teachers must now spend a large portion of their time preparing technologically based utilities. From electronic handouts to advanced message board interactions, teachers are expected to use the many tools that are now present in the educational world. This means teachers are spending more time on technology, and less on actually preparing lessons. Beyond being time consuming for teachers, the process is often difficult to manage.
Teachers often find themselves wrestling with difficult tech problems just to make an assignment available, evaluate a student or perform a simple, yet vital task. Learning institutions are also expected to keep up with all modern technology. This requires that the institution invest heavily in online systems, tools and resources. While beneficial to students and faculty alike, it comes with a price.
One of the greatest drawbacks of education is that it’s made some classrooms into one-trick ponies. While students have a variety of learning styles (auditory, presentational, hands-on and so forth), most technology uses only a presentational line. The amount of time spent staring at a screen can also deprive students of valuable face-to-face time. While students of the past could engage in large classroom discussions, ask their teacher direct questions that could benefit the whole class, and so forth, these opportunities are becoming more and more rare.
Hooray for the pros!
Technology has worked some wonders in the classroom as well. While the technology may be hard to learn, once mastered, it can help create high-quality presentations and learning tools in less time than ever thought possible.
Technology in the classroom has also opened up an array of alternate environments with their own benefits. These include:
• Distance learning (in both colleges and high schools)
• Web-based classrooms
• Video lectures
These alternate classroom settings, as well as the technology on the whole, allows for unprecedented levels of accessibility. The increase in access to technology also simplifies the learning process for many students. This is especially true of those who were exposed to computers at a very young age. Rapid-fire access to assignments, class details and even comprehensive educational libraries, has all allowed students to thrive.
Communication is also more open than ever. Emails are easier to answer, message boards and community features allow students to have advanced interactions outside of the classroom, and everything that is done has a word-for-word record to help keep things clear. These same community features also allow students to share information, thoughts and general advice on succeeding in school.
The problem with technology in education is that it is challenging to learn and too easy to rely on. While striking a proper balance may be difficult, doing so will lead to phenomenal results.