As summer approaches, I find myself reflecting on how technology has changed the face of education. From kindergarten to college, students are presented with more opportunities to embrace technology, expand their learning potential, and reach further into the world than previously possible. While part of me longs for the good old times of device-free days, textbooks and recess, the more logical part of me recognizes the many benefits technology has brought to the educational scene.
For one, technology has greatly expanded access to information. From books to podcasts, white papers to videos – there are massive amounts of almost any type of information you may be looking for available on the internet today. Have a question? Google it and you will have an answer (or 10,000) within seconds.
Technology has also increased opportunities for more formal learning through MOOCs, online training programs, college-level online degree programs and more. Colleges and universities are embracing this trend by adding more online courses to their curriculum. In addition, universities are realizing the need and benefit of connecting with institutions both in the US and abroad. “Higher education institutions are no longer isolated ivory towers,” said Stephanie Kim, Faculty Director for the master’s programs in Global Higher Education and Higher Education Administration at Georgetown University. “They are becoming vastly more interconnected with each other and the societies in which they reside, both here in the United States and around the world.”
Technology has made learning possible for many. Online courses and programs are making it possible for learners to gain access to their lessons from home, the subway, bus or a train. With the right device and internet availability, you can instantly connect to the learning world. This has also made it easier for non-traditional students to go back to school, as technology allows them to more easily fit learning into their schedules.
Technology has connected people around the world. Students have access to peers across the globe. Google docs and other programs allow students to collaborate on projects; and invite new ways of communication. Students can share ideas and communicate with others through programs set up and provided by their schools, and also through personal social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Because of technology, teachers can more easily personalize lessons, instructions, and projects for each child. Tracking student progress and identifying issues is easier with the right technology in the classroom as well. Teachers of all age groups and grade levels are working to incorporate technology into their classrooms to increase student engagement and enhance the learning opportunities provided to students. For those instructing high school and college students, Purdue recently suggested that the teacher’s role may be shifting to "more of a 'guide on the side’ as students take more responsibility for their own learning using technology to gather relevant information.”
Technology has expanded the reach of quality education to rural areas. In How to Ensure Rural Students Benefit from eLearning, the writer states, "Rural areas often strugle to achieve the same educational standards as more densely populated regions. For example, a national issue brief from the University of New Hampshire reports that rural schools are ten times less likely to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Perhaps as a result of these limited coures offerings, rural students are also less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to attend college the fall after high school graduation." eLearning makes it possible for students all over the country to take courses that might not otherwise be available to them in their local schools, and allows those schools to more easily share resources and courses online with others from across the state and beyond.
And those textbooks that I fondly remember? Online media, e-books, and online learning programs are beginning to make the textbook “extinct” in some areas, or at least an “endangered species.” In spite of this, my hope is that we all continue to pick up a physical book now and then to remember the weight of it in your hands; to open the cover and feel the sense of excitement, possibility, and the promise of learning something new.
Technology will continue to change the face of education, allowing people from all over the world to communicate, collaborate and learn from one another. Ed4Online is proud to be a part of the Evolution through Education. We believe that we are forever changed by everything we learn. It is our goal to facilitate this evolution by providing a high-quality learning platform and straightforward curriculum in the areas of career development, personal enrichment and professional development. Contact us today to learn more about our online courses!