In previous articles, I have touched on the topic of technology and its role in education. However, there are still many discrepancies in opinion when it comes to whether it is beneficial or not, to training our new generation. Does allowing technology entice children into playing games in the wrong environment? Does it give children too much access to content that they shouldn’t have access to? These questions are all fair to have, but sometimes they are unjustified – and in many cases I don’t believe they really matter.
The benefits that can be derived from technology in the classroom are evident and visible. The resources that they have access to allow them to learn extremely complex things even from a young age. Technology is a tool at the end of the day. People will inevitably choose to use a tool differently – take a knife as an example. A knife can be used to help prepare a nice meal for your partner, or in the wrong hands could potentially lead to a stabbing. While this is a somewhat stark comparison, the principles remain the same. Some people will utilise the technology to leverage their knowledge and learning, and others will abuse this power.
The big worry of games
Parents always worry about their child becoming addicted to an iPad game or some sort of other game that prevents them from learning, and limits some children from reaching their potential. As I mentioned before, technology is simply a tool. It is definitely possible to put parental controls on an iPad and prevent them from downloading games, or to stop them from opening certain apps at certain times – yet is this really needed?
From my perspective, children will do what they are shown, and see others doing from a young age. Take language learning as another example – when a child is young they are able to rapidly learn languages, as they just follow someone else’s lead. Similarly I believe that if children are taught to use technology correctly from a young age (higher proportion of time spent on things that are beneficial to them), then the habit will continue. Just to clarify, I am not saying to cut out games, but rather see games as a reward rather than the norm. This all comes down to parenting I think (and I’ve just been through the technology phase at school and uni too).
Need for Speed
In a world where we are constantly having to learn more and more every year, being able to navigate through your notes is an integral part of life. One that is often overlooked by students, at least until their exams are on the horizon… Many people that I have seen have PILES of notes in notebooks, on odd pieces of paper, and then just some random photos of the whiteboard that they took on their phone, and will never look at again. Now that doesn’t sound like it is that useful.
With the development of fabulous applications like Microsoft’s OneNote, we are able to logically organise all of our subjects into notebooks. Then create sections within that, and have pages within each section. This organisation sounds tricky to navigate, but is surprisingly straightforward once you use it. The best function that Microsoft OneNote offers, is the ability to search through all your notes (including handwritten notes), which makes finding keywords or specific pages easy. Although, if you are a student, then I recommend that you pick yourself up a Microsoft Surface Pro (linked to my review) as you get the pen functionality – they always say that the best way to learn something, is to write it!
When you’re sick, you can actually catch up…
In the past, if you missed a day of school, it was a real hassle to work out what you missed in each class. You would have to go around and ask your friends, then borrow and copy their notes so that you had them too. What a waste of time. As long as your teacher has received the necessary training regarding how to use these online learning platforms such as Canvas or Edmodo, then you should be ensuring that you get all the worksheets online (whether or not you’re in that class doesn’t matter so much).
I guess you could say that in essence, technology allows you to gain a ‘complete’ education. You don’t miss out on anything, as long as you are disciplined about catching up. I view this as no different from previous times. The kids playing games on their iPads, are just the modern day equivalent of the kids that messed about at the back of class. It is teaching people to use the technology to their advantage, that will really help them reap the benefits of it and improve the way in which they learn.
Through these massive platforms like Google Docs and Microsoft’s OneDrive, people are able to work on documents, presentations or spreadsheets simultaneously. It enables students that start a project at school to continue to collaborate in their own time, which is something that was virtually impossible 20/30 years ago. Collaboration is ultimately one of the best ways to learn in my opinion, as when you work with other people, you utilise each other’s strengths.
They claim that the best way to solidify your own knowledge is to explain the concepts to someone else, and modern technology gives us the option to work on documents and video call at the same time. Explaining these complex concepts to one another will ensure that all people in the group gain a complete understanding of any single topic.
Encourages individual learning
This is my favourite benefit, however, this is obviously a personal preference. You have the ability to research literally ANYTHING on a laptop, and improve your skills in so many areas. In the past, people would have had to search through libraries to find the right books to learn the requisite knowledge. YouTube is the best platform for this. You can learn about all sorts of stuff, from how things work, to explanatory videos, to practice videos.
If you are one of the people reading this, and thinking that you aren’t quite an independent learner – I urge you to start exploring topics that interest you on YouTube and really absorb the wealth of knowledge that’s available at the tap of your fingers! This is also the factor that is imperative in distinguishing people that do well in life, they have this constant thirst for knowledge. The more you know, the better.
So why should technology be used in the classroom? Well because it’s beneficial.
- The worry of children playing games should be forgotten about, as explained above.
- Organisation is a necessity in an increasingly complex world.
- Access to all resources (even if you missed the lesson)
- Encourages collaboration among students, which is a great way to learn.
- Encourages independent learning, which helps you prepare even more for later in life.
Also, with the developments in technology, you can even learn virtually anything only with a $10 subscription per month to SkillShare – through this link you will also get two months of premium for free to try it out.
If these points aren’t enough to convince you, then please tell me why you disagree with any of the points I’ve made in the comments! If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it. See you guys next time!