“Education is evolving due to the impact of the Internet. We cannot teach our students in the same manner in which we were taught. Change is necessary to engage students not in the curriculum we are responsible for teaching, but in school. Period.” – April Chamberlain (Rao 2012)
Evolving. Changing. Change. People never seem to like change. However, this is one that proves difficult with which to argue. I am talking about technology in education. Technology has advanced the world of learning in more ways than can be counted and yet, many are still very resistant to it. Students around the globe are able to take part in the wonderful advantages that technology affords them. The television, the internet, DVD players, MP3 players, computers, and cell phones are just a few of the tools that students use to thrive in the educational environment. While many do not readily embrace this idea, it is important to note that the positives to utilizing technology in education far outweigh whatever negatives there may be.
David Warlick said, “We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world (Rao 2012).” Once upon a time, the pen, the paper, and the textbook were all that the average student had. However, today’s students have the privilege of benefiting from innovation. In many classrooms today, smart boards replace chalk boards, and interactive learning is the focus of the curriculum. Instead of the standard professor lecturing for hours in front of a class, students now have internet access to podcasts, lectures outlines, and lecture notes; they are able to receive a more collaborative learning experience. Students today take advantage of all sorts of internet and mobile technologies that enable them to actively take part in their own education. They are able to engage in more self-directed learning through the utilization of internet videos and sites aimed at aiding the student’s educational progress. Students greatly benefit from interactive software like Blackboard® which enable students to communicate easily with professors, teaching assistants, and classmates. Students are able to post in discussion boards and view material that the professor has posted online. Through Blackboard® technology they are able to engage in individualized learning. The educational experience that they receive is specialized to the needs of each student. In many courses, an electronic copy of the textbook, activities, and quizzes are provided as additional resources. Students also use the aid of internet sites like Youtube® which provides educational videos of all types, such as guided explanations to difficult subject matter. Students struggling in subjects such as Calculus and Physics survive from the step-by-step instructional videos that are provided online. Technology gives students access to endless resources that aid them in achieving their educational goals.
As a student, I have thrived off of technology, using it to become essentially who I am today. I speak so fondly of technology in education because I know first-hand what the benefits mean to those who cannot afford them. Growing up in a poor school district, we did not have access to some of the nicer technologies that affluent institutions could afford. By the time I reached a college classroom, much had changed. I purchased my first lap top during my freshman year; it became my portal to the outside world. It enabled me to connect with anyone at anytime. This meant being able to type my lecture notes, which made it easier to keep up. This meant reviewing the morning’s lecture podcast when I was too sick to attend class. This also meant emailing a last minute question to a professor the night before an exam. The internet and technology meant connectivity. It meant the ability to provide an education for myself. For the first time in my life, I felt like the possibilities for my future were endless. Without technology, learning would, in my opinion, be stagnant. Technology not only means change — it means growth. With technology, we as students are able to move towards individual development. Technology is changing education by making it personal to every student and providing a gateway into tomorrow.
Rao, A. (2012, March 1). 10 Educational Technology Quotes. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from http://teachbytes.com/2012/03/01/10-educational-technology-quotes/