Technology has already become an integral part of our lives, changing the way we work, the way we communicate, and our lives, in general. Technology influences all areas of our lives, so there’s no surprise that it also changes education. We don’t use encyclopedias anymore. Today, we can access any necessary information immediately by making a few clicks or tapping on a display of the smartphone.
On the one hand, technology makes education much more accessible and enables educators to use advanced methods. On the other hand, some people point out that technology also serves as a huge distraction for students. However, there is one thing everyone can agree on with certainty: technology will continue to improve, and its influence on our lives will continue to get stronger.
Technology Makes a Difference
Improving education is very important. Students deserve to get the most accessible and effective education, and technology can help educators address some common problems, improving this area step-by-step. Technology has increased the accessibility of education. For instance, learning management systems (LMS) enable students to access sources that they couldn’t otherwise obtain physically. However, it’s not the only way technology changes education.
Perhaps, the most noticeable aspect of the use of technology is collaboration. Classrooms had always been isolated. All the communication and collaboration in the classroom should follow certain rules and have certain limits. However, technology managed to eliminate even the toughest limitations. For instance, American students can study the climate of another continent by accessing media materials from researchers, including photos, videos, live streams, blog posts, emails, etc.
Another great opportunity for collaboration is the use of cloud solutions like Google Docs, which help multiple students work on the same documents and collaborate in real-time. Technology also changes the roles of a teacher and a student. Teachers used to be the only source of knowledge, while students passively received the knowledge from them. Thanks to interactive approaches, students can be more proactive, while teachers can shift their role to guides who help students choose the right direction. Innovation in technology helped create services like Turnitin that promote academic integrity. However, technology also allowed students to cheat on exams, buy essays online, and trick Turnitin to avoid plagiarism detection. Still, there are a lot more positive sides to technology than the negative ones.
Now let’s consider the impact of technology on education in more detail.
Thanks to technology, educators can use collaborative and interactive approaches. This way, the learning experience becomes more engaging for students. Students can get an opportunity to learn by using various skills in practice instead of simply memorizing facts. Actionable learning can also be encouraged by quizzes and discussions. However, technology enables educators to do, even more, providing a gamification experience so that students can play educational games and work in virtual environments, such as virtual labs.
However, if you want to create a really engaging experience, your success directly depends on your ability to make it truly interactive. For example, it’s possible to use augmented reality in the classroom, making the overall experience more engaging and including additional elements to make the learning process more comprehensive.
Virtual reality can help students learn medical procedures in practice with no need to visit a hospital. Besides, augmented reality provides countless opportunities for simulation. There are many subjects that are impossible to learn without practical experience, and technology can help educators address this issue.
Cooperation Among Schools
Given that increasing the accessibility of higher education is a common problem among schools from many countries, universities can unite their efforts. Technology can help universities cooperate so that more than one university will have the same learning ecosystem. Universities can also help each other develop and improve programs and courses, exchanging knowledge, and educational practices.
A great example of collaboration among schools is La Tríada, a project that united the Andean University of Colombia, the Monterrey University of Technology, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Thanks to this unique project, more than 150,000 students gained access to 100 online courses. One of the best things about such collaborations is that students don’t need to be limited by the information they get from one curriculum, and technology has the potential to help them.
Universities can cooperate to achieve a variety of goals. For example, they can create a common grading system or a common credit system. Virtual learning environments can also encourage collaboration between thousands of students, no matter where they live.
Thanks to technology, universities can reach a wider audience, is not limited by the campus. Besides, their audience can also expand in regard to its age. Obviously, distance learning can also help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford education. It also can make education more flexible.
Although distance learning can provide a comprehensive learning experience, it will not necessarily replace traditional education completely. Moreover, it can help students who want to get a traditional education. For instance, distance education can help students better prepare for the university curriculum.
Another advantage of distance learning is that it can be optimized for the whole range of devices. Students can access learning materials from their smartphones or tablets. This way, they can learn from virtually anywhere. The flexibility of this type of education also enables students to adapt to the new learning environment quickly.
Online education can also help educators address many important issues. For instance, it can help students who took a long break get back on track. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we can expect educators to come up with even more advanced practices. Artificial intelligence provides countless opportunities for personalization, which in turn can improve the quality of education significantly.
Eliminating the Shortage of Teachers
Technology can also solve another common problem. There is a shortage of teachers in many areas. Given that this problem exists even in the U.S. and other developed countries, there is no surprise that this problem completely undermines educators’ efforts in developing countries. For instance, in India, the shortage of teachers in government higher education institutions reaches 39%. Digital learning ecosystems allow experts from the business and scientific community to offer individualized study programs that will fill the students’ knowledge gaps.
Universities might also be able to create online exchanges of teachers so that teachers can educate students from different institutions, regardless of their location. Besides, technology can also give many opportunities for research. For instance, Quartolio is an AI-driven platform that assists researchers from Stanford, MIT, and Berkeley.
The Personalized Pace of Learning
Traditionally, some students had always been learning faster than others. All students had to adapt to a common pace of learning. However, all students have different styles of learning and every one of them has their own optimal learning pace. Online assignments can help educators address this problem. Students who need more time can continue the educational process outside of class, and they also get an opportunity to learn faster.
Online resources can be accessed whenever students need them, and instructors get more opportunities to help students learn the necessary material well. Self-paced learning not only is necessary for some students but it can also be very useful when learning digital literacy and other technical skills that modern employees should possess.
Technology changes all areas of our lives, and education doesn’t lag behind. It gives educators an opportunity to come up with more effective approaches, making the overall education experience more engaging and comprehensive. The internet and smart devices can make education much more accessible, enabling students to learn from virtually any place in the world, at any time. Technology has already transformed education in many ways, and its impact will continue to grow.