Why Should You Introduce Technology in Education?

There has being a lot of talk regarding why educational organizations should introduce technology in classrooms. This year, New York City’s Department of Education plans to increase its technology expenses to $542 million for setting up internet connections and giving wireless access to all the city schools.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that the ‘brick and mortar’ classrooms didn’t help students get the kind of education they deserved. Prior to technology, students still learnt and came through tests with flying colors. However, technology has brought in some significant benefits that even the most vocal critic can’t disagree with.

I will share with you some crucial points in support of implementing technology in educational organizations. Let’s figure them out.

Expansion of Time and Place

In technology minus classrooms, students had a fixed time to meet their teachers and exchange ideas and notes. A normal class period would be around 40 to 45 minutes in duration. However, technology has erased the time and place constraint. Now, a student can easily chat and discuss with a teacher whenever he/she wants to. Skype, online forums, etc. have made it possible to connect with the school faculty, 24×7 at their convenience.

Depth of Understanding

You can expand your knowledge base about a specific subject or lesson via interactive simulation and illustrations. Using a projector, a teacher can now demonstrate and explain a topic far easily to a large group of learners than just sitting in the class and giving lectures.

Learning at Your Own Pace

You can readily access and download learning materials as and when needed. Technology has eliminated the physical barrier of collecting notes and coursework only from the campus library or from the teacher. Now, all you need is a computer with an internet connection to get the information from anywhere and at any time.

New Media for Self-expression

In traditional classrooms, students had to write every assignment and homework in notebooks to let the teacher review it. Using modern technology, students can create several online slide presentations, videos, and set up a website or blog to make their assignments or projects accessible to the teacher, 24×7.

Collaboration Online

Students can at anytime add, remove or edit information online. They don’t need to carry textbooks to school, as e-books can easily be viewed and downloaded from the internet. Large chunks of coursework can be organized and stored in a computer database for future usage. Educational projects can be collaboratively done by small groups of students residing at different locations. Online tools such as the web, email, text messaging, etc. helps you to complete homework in conversation with your classmates, without anyone’s physical presence.

I sistemi LASIT per l' incisione laser plastica permettono la realizzazione di incisioni estremamente precise senza danneggiare in alcun modo il materiale.

How Has Technology Improved Education?

Teaching and learning have taken on a whole new dimension due to the major impact of technology in schools. Teachers now have a medium to communicate effectively with one another and share ideas to better their teaching skills. They now have a pool of endless resources they can utilize to offer students the assistance they need to develop their ability and advance. The computer has improved education in many ways. There is now the reduced use of paper, which plays a role in environmental conservation. This positively supports what teachers are trying to instill in their pupils; it is important to preserve the natural environment and take care of our surroundings. There is no better way to do it than putting a stop to cutting down trees.

Other notable areas of improvements as a result of technology are;

– Information on different subject matter is readily accessible. This is not only beneficial to teachers, but students as well. There is no limit to the knowledge one can attain from the internet. What’s more, the material available is diverse since it’s presented by people from different parts of the world. This opens up a student’s viewpoint and allows for fresh, new ideas to arise.

– There is a lot of software that schools can use to create far more interesting presentations and programs. Students can use the software on projects thus they have a way to express their tasks effectively and in detail.

– Technology has helped do away with distance and time restrictions. Online education has opened numerous possibilities for students and teachers alike. You can now school or teach from anywhere in the world. Many online schools are accredited and registered with the necessary government bodies. This means that every individual interested in acquiring a higher education has the opportunity to do so now. Many people who have jobs also have the chance to pursue further studies without giving up their careers.

– The introduction of schools online has made education more enjoyable and achievable. Because this allows a visual and audio mode of communicating, everyone can share ideas, knowledge, as well as information and make others the better for it.

Through technology, education has been transformed. Learning and teaching has become more interactive. It has also done away with barriers as knowledge can now be shared across borders. Different cultures can now openly appreciate one another as they learn the various ways of life. Technology has undoubtedly improved the scope of education and through this there will be more technological advancements. Thus, technology and education are correlated; they work together to develop each other.

Technology and Literacy Learning Through the Eyes of Students

The age of modern day learning has arrived. It is no longer a matter of whether we want to integrate technology and education; it is a necessity. The reality poses an immense problem and threat to the longstanding educational institutions that have for the most part remained unchanged for nearly a century. Who would have imagined that the alphabet’s letter “E” would forever transform the face of education to E-Ducation?

Technology in education has progressed from basic tools such as the abacus, pencil, ruler, paper and calculator to computers, laptops, iPads, tablets, software and apps. The technological advancements alone are forcing the manner in which teachers teach, how students learn, the ways schools are structured and breaking the barriers between home and school life. At its core, technology is impacting the very essence of the future of humanity.

Digital Natives: A Generation Dedicated to Learning with Technology

The prominence and rise of technology in the world applies to all aspects of life including how we learn. It appears that the days of “open your textbook, read the following pages and answer the questions” will be for the most part a thing of the past.

As educational institutions resist and make attempts to adapt, it is crucial to keep in mind the learning needs of today’s digital natives. The digital natives are those that were born during or thereafter the inception and introduction of digital technology.

This generation is not only accustomed to technological advancements and devices they expect it. As such, drastic measures will have to be implemented to meet the student’s expectations for learning. The key will be to adapt to an uncertain, modern, changing and dynamic global world.

Pivotal Technologies and Learning Portals

Technological advancements will allow education to be universally accessible, customized, individualized and highly adaptive. In essence, learning with technology is propelling independent learning to the forefront.

Now more than ever, students will have the opportunity to individualize and navigate the knowledge portals through pivotal technologies such as the Internet, Open Sources, Virtual Learning Environments and Mobile Learning Devices. Open Sources includes MOOCs and Web 2.0.

Massive Open Online Courses will allow students the autonomy and flexibility to choose what they want to learn independently. The Web 2.0 is simply the way new web pages are designed and used. Students will have a multitude of options by virtue of using Open Sources through a variety of Mobile Learning Devices.

Virtual Learning Environments will only enhance the learning experience by making it fun and interactive. Students will have a wide selection of learning mediums to complete assignments and receive feedback. Hence, the learning would be more interactive and engaging.

Individualized Learning and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The role of the teacher would alter to monitor and provide feedback at an unparalleled level. Technology would of course also help the teacher with the many independent learning assignments, projects, presentations etc. of the student’s through the use of Learning Analytics. Learning Analytics is the accumulated of created data to continually evaluate and precisely guide student learning.

The digital natives are choosing their own devices to learn in a world that has cloud computing and the Internet. They are living in a digital information literacy online world. Their reality encompasses learning through educational games and virtual learning platforms. They are living in a world where the physical and virtual have amalgamated.

Learning with Technology from Students’ Perspectives

As such, what do kids think about technology and learning? How often do we really ask for their thoughts and opinions? Do we really take into consideration how and what they want to learn? Should what they have to say really matter how we as educators make decisions? Personally, I do believe that they do bring value to the decision-making table.

My sister in law is an eighth grade social studies teacher at a middle school. In a conversation with her, she mentioned to me the various ways she integrates technology in the learning. What I found especially of import was her comment on how the students use technology as easily as breathing.

She explained to me that now only do students expect it but that they demand it. She further informed me that it is a necessity and it brings lots of fun to the learning. As an educator, I firmly believe that learning should be continuous, fun, engaging, inquisitive, and ongoing.

Students are Right at Home with Technology

Humanity should be learning something new each and every day. It should be viewed from a window looking out into the horizon of each new day. It seems logical to catch a glimpse of learning through the eyes of children.

I often reflect on how my 7 year old niece sees the world and how through her eyes I learn something new every day. As Digital Natives do, she carries an iPad with her and frequently shares videos, cartoons, games, songs, etc. with me. I can literally say that I am learning things that a 7 year old child is learning.

Wow, the whole idea seems to put me in awe. What she has learned through the use of technology can be only termed as amazing. The ease, comfort and curiosity that impel her to learn independently without her parents or teachers imposing “because you have to” are truly remarkable.

Learning with Technology: A Necessity

Never in the history of our world has the trajectory of technology education been a certainty to create a better global society where one and all will have the opportunity and accessibility to be literate.

A view from a student’s perspective about learning with technology as mentioned above is a 6 part series that will include technology and students, learning with technology, student’s and iPads, learning with games and virtual learning. Stay tuned to next week’s blog article on students learning with technology.

Video Conferencing Technology and Education

This is the first in a series of articles focusing on video conferencing and education. Part 1: The Teaching Predicament primarily focuses on the dilemma that educational institutes around the world have been facing in terms of teaching.

Over the recent years, visual communication as an effective tool to enhance delivery of education has gained a lot of traction. Educational institutes are constantly faced with the challenge of maintaining consistency and quality of teaching over geographically dispersed branches. For instance, will a student enrolled in an undergraduate business studies program at a top tier American university experience the same teaching quality in the Middle East or Europe? The answer to this question will most likely be ‘not quite’. Although there are a number of variables at play here but the most fundamental challenge is access to the same quality of instructors across geographical regions. Geographical regions can typify different branches in the same city, across cities, countries and continents. Maintaining teaching standards across continents is even a bigger challenge given the social, cultural and ethnic divides.

A traditional approach to somewhat alleviate the problem is to fly in faculty periodically to conduct workshops. However, this can prove to be very costly and cumbersome. Technology has an answer for this common and age-old problem. Although video conferencing solutions have been around since the 1980s, they’ve never been so affordable and accessible as they are today. Visual communication technology has advanced leaps and bounds making it highly immersive and interactive. More importantly, the bandwidth and the infrastructure that is required to support a truly interactive video conference is ever more affordable and ubiquitous now. This makes videoconferencing a viable and practical learning tool for the classroom. Truly interactive visual communication can add a level of teaching consistency across multiple institutes.

Full HD 1080p video, 360-degree audio combined with interactive whiteboards and multiple cameras provide the next best thing to being physically present in a classroom. Video conferencing technology has truly reinvented how teachers and students interaction. From sharing lecture notes and feedback to carrying out assignments and group work, a video conference setup in a classroom knows no geographical boundaries. The selection of video conferencing equipment however may appear to be daunting initially with the sheer amount of options available. I personally prefer Panasonic Video Conferencing.

Panasonic is a manufacturer of state-of-the-art Video Conferencing equipment. Their Visual Communication technology combines full 1080i video coupled with advanced compression algorithms connecting you with colleagues and experts around the world on standard broadband connections. 360° HD Full Duplex Audio with echo cancellation technology combined with stunning video provides a truly immersive and collaborative video conference.

Technology and Disabled Students

In our current tier of ever-advancing technological society, of course our students are also affected but the steady climb of what becomes considered common, everyday technology.

Often, disabled students are in the same class despite their various abilities or inabilities to completely comprehend the material being taught. Therefore, they are not learning at the same level.

This is why using software designed for disabled students is such a good idea, most likely more so than technology in the classroom designed for students who do not have disabilities and who are all primarily on the same educational level. With disabled students and technology, individual students are able to learn at their own pace and the instructor is then able–judging by what he or she knows the individual student is capable of, and can grade the work accordingly.

In addition, the instructor can keep much better track of his or her student’s progress by keeping records of all of the individual students work on a hard drive and back-up disks. This is also a way to teach the students how to organize their files neatly.

Many programs, even those that are not as advanced technologically as those of the other students and make it easy for them to put different files in different folders depending on the subject–and further organize his or her assignments with other folders marked by the exercise. They can even go as far as to learn programs that teach how to save old files that have been improved such as English papers or book reports that have been revised from the original version they wrote after the material was reviewed.

Balance:

As a teacher, it is difficult to instruct a class composed of students who learn at all different levels to make the lesson interesting enough that they do not bore the more advanced students–which often makes them “tune out”–and, by the same token, they do not confuse and frustrate the children who are slower at learning and require more time to reach an understanding of the material being taught. It is virtually impossible for any teacher to do so.

The main point is that technology and disabled students is almost becoming an essential part of teaching mentally handicapped children. And although technology is also helping advance other learning– i.e. learning for students without mental handicaps, without disabilities, is still a very effective method of teaching. But it does take away from the actual teaching itself, and for some teachers that is a sad thing. When the computers do most of the instructing, the teacher, of course, does less.

Be choosy in the kinds of computer software you purchase for your students. Some software for technology and disabled students is quite effective, contains a long warranty and allows the students to get the most possible benefit.

On the other side of the spectrum, certain computer software and other technological learning devices are without warrantee and are of lesser quality. Therefore these kinds of programs can unfortunately be a waste of money, even if they are less expensive. Check out consumer reports on technological software before you purchase any program. You want the very best for your disabled students.