Education in the Technology Era
What would you have done had you had the internet when you went to school twenty or thirty years ago? Broach the subject around people who are old enough, and you are likely to hear lamentations about the laziness of the present generation of students and how, despite the fact that they now have so much information on their fingertips, they have not been able to fully capitalize on the advantages of going to school in the modern era. So, how has the linkage between technology and education transformed the modern day classroom?
Education and the Internet
Talk of the impact that the technology has had on the education sector would not be complete without mention of the internet. Today, learners practically have information on their fingertips. Although that does not always translate into more knowledgeable individuals, the fact remains that the education sector has vastly benefited from the advances that, over the past decade or so, have been precipitated by the rise in internet connectivity. The following are but a few ways through which the internet has benefited the education sector;
- Greater information availability: Today, everything that learners need in order to acquire knowledge is practically on the tips of the fingers. All that they need in order to learn about the Great Wall of China, the Industrial Revolution and the Slave Trade is take out a smartphone, connect to the internet and they will be good to go.
- Computers are now widely available; Computers, not so long ago, were mythical gadgets that only the rich could afford. That was despite the fact that the ones that were around were rather clunky and unwieldy; at least by today’s standards. Today, most homes in the developed world now have at least one computer.
- Smartphones are now widely available: Not only is this the case, but smartphones (yes, smartphones are computers), another revolutionary leap that has brought about greater connectivity across the globe, have also brought computing right into people’s pockets. Even the developing world has not been left out of this boon. Today, wherever one goes, from the Serengeti to the happy kingdom of Bhutan, one is likely to discover that the majority of people, even nomadic herdsmen, now have some form of connection to the World Wide Web.
Computers in the classroom
Another way through which technology has vastly transformed the education sector in today’s world is through the introduction of computers in the classroom. When I went to school, the best that many of us had ever seen were clunky typewriters. Had a computer been introduced into our midst back then, we would probably have thought it pure magic.
Today, it is not uncommon to find classrooms across the globe; even in underdeveloped parts of Africa and Asia, decked out with the latest in computers. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate a little. Most of the computers that find their way to classrooms in Africa are second hand. They are, however, still very functional and go a long way in neutralizing the education gap that exists between the developed and the underdeveloped parts of the globe.
A computer in every classroom and a tablet in every child’s backpack used to be a dream. However, in many parts of the globe, teachers are actually having trouble keeping tablets and other internet connected devices out of classrooms. The benefits of having this level of technology to the education sector can never be overemphasized. Technology and education have become intractably linked, with the latter drawing on the advances that have been taking place over the past few years.
Browse through the internet today, and you are likely to come across hundreds of sites that offer you the chance to acquire your very own Degree or Diploma without ever setting foot in an actual classroom. Although most of the institutions that offer these programs are rather questions, it remains that e-learning is another way through which technology and education have intractably merged for the benefit of humanity.
The concept of brick and mortar classrooms is fast being challenged by virtual schools, where learning takes place at the learner’s pace. This is truly learning in the 21st century, with each learner being offered solutions that are tailor made to bring out the best in terms of knowledge acquisition.
Technology and Education: A better learning environment
Another major reason why the linkage between technology and education is so important is the fact that the learning environment has, as a result, been transformed over the past few years. We have already mentioned the fact that most countries are now striving to have a computer in every classroom as a way of enhancing the quality of education that is offered.
The value of technology in education is not limited to this, however. Even in the less privileged parts of the world, the advances that have been taking place have meant, as an example, better building standards, which enhances safety for learners in the classroom.
Shipping Container Classrooms
I have previously written, on this blog, about the fact that old shipping containers are now turned, in Africa and elsewhere, into classrooms. This, without doubt, is a major benefit for pupils who, hitherto, have had to carry out their studies under trees.
The Solar Revolution
The great thing about these Shipping container classrooms is that they are solar powered, which both makes them cost effective and benefits the environment.
Technology and Education: The Future
So, what does the future hold, as far as technology and education are concerned? Well, as the world transitions towards a much more connected way of life, even greater changes can be expected within both the education and the technology sectors. The cost of getting an education will likely continue to fall, as information becomes even more accessible on the World Wide Web. The learning environment itself will likely become even more flexible, with learners themselves choosing both the times and the manner of instruction.