What are the advantages of technology in education is one thing that a lot of educators are asking themselves right now. The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a wake-up call to all us educators. If we are honest most of us will say we were not ready to deal with an immediate closure of all schools. Luckily technology did bail us out in most cases. While it may not have been ideal, it was good enough tech. This crisis will spur a new push towards better software to deliver learning in a way that will not only reduce exposure to viruses contracted at school but possibly be more effective at delivering that instruction. We discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of education and provide examples to integrate with other technologies to provide this benefit to education.
The advantages of technology in education will only increase for students as educational technology improves. The advances in technology have impacted every facet of our lives, and education is no different. Kindergarten children receive instruction on PowerPoint( not sure this is effective). The majority of schools have complete wireless coverage throughout the campus and computers in most classrooms. These technologies provide benefits to students by allowing the teacher to utilize multiple methods of delivering instruction.
Wireless used to be something nice to have, now it’s a necessity to provide access to students. College campus students even demand to be always connected, and they expect the college to ensure that capability while they are on campus.
Cloud computing and social networks have created a situation where people are always looking for more information. Ask a question in a group, and someone will google the answer on their phone.
This increased connectivity has provided many advantages for technology in education. Some of these items are real benefits, and others may be considered disadvantages.
Advantages of Information Technology in Education
- Information Technology in Education – The information technology department is the primary driver of whether an institution can effectively implement any sort of technology-based instruction. The growth of the cloud has enabled some of the technology that can enhance the delivery of distance-based education. An example is during the recent Covid-19 outbreak. Many educators turned to services like zoom or Cisco Webex to deliver instruction to their students. These SAS type information technology services enabled many school systems to move their regular face to face instruction to a distance education enabled course with no investment in hardware outside of the laptops, that the professors already had. This area will only grow in time, and this pandemic has probably accelerated that growth. To realize the benefits of technology in education the IT department must be a major player in the adoption of educational technology.
- Students Prepare for Future Technology.– Technology changes at an ever-changing rate. Cell phones were considered a luxury just a few years ago, but now they are a part of everyday life. The mobile devices of today have as much if not more computing power than full desktop computers did in the early 2000s. Every year the mobile devices become more powerful and will soon replace desktop computers. With the move towards cloud computing, it is no longer necessary to have large amounts of storage on a device. This allows teachers to deliver instruction right to student’s phones through the use of such apps such as Office 365 or Google Apps. Faculty can be more reactive to student needs and deliver more personalized instruction as each student can have an individualized study plan.
- Teach digital literacy in students – Students today will graduate into a workforce where technology is at the core of their work activities. This does not matter if they are working in an office or a factory, technology is changing everything, and the more digital literate the students are, the easier time they will have to excel in the workplaces of tomorrow.
- Flipped Classroom Instruction – Teachers in the classroom can use these tools to create a dynamic learning environment. Feedback can be offered immediately to students, which allows them to correct incorrect assumptions quicker in the process. Faculty can make use of the flipped classroom model and use technology to deliver instruction to students in the evenings and then use class time to reinforce the learning objectives. Microsoft Classroom may be useful in pushing the flipped model forward with its integration with student information systems. This benefit of technology in education is one of the fastest-growing areas. To effectively use flipped classroom methodology you must require multiple technologies at once to effectively deliver effective instruction and the growth of cloud-based SAS solutions has provided more options for educators to deliver the technology in a beneficial manner without the large initial costs associated with any educational technology product. By utilizing cloud technologies the advantages of using technology in education can be realized much faster.
- Classroom Flexibility – Since students are learning more from interaction with technology such as MyMath Lab, the students can learn at their pace. This flexibility provides the faculty member with time to help students who may be struggling with a concept while allowing the more advanced students to work at a faster pace.
- A Diversity of Information – The internet has produced a wide array of varying ideas, and students can locate reliable information on a variety of topics. The faculty member does need to incorporate a level of teaching students how to search and verify the information to ensure its accuracy. The amount of information available is diverse and only limited by the student’s thirst for knowledge.
- Broadened Thinking – For thousands of years, most people developed their sense of beliefs based on the ideas of those people who were geographically close to their homes. Technology has changed all that. Now students can communicate in real-time with others across the world as quickly as they could converse with their neighbors. Applications such as Skype and Social Media allow instant communication regardless of distance. This thinking will enable students to broaden their horizons and not see the world through such a small window.
- More efficient use of the educator’s time. – Through tools such as video recording and distance learning platforms, teachers can be more productive as they can create a video explaining a complex topic, and students can view as many times are needed to grasp the concept. The faculty member can spend time on value-added tasks and not on remediation. Time management is critical for faculty as class sizes have grown.
These are just a few of the benefits of technology in education. There are many other ways you can use technology in the classroom; it only takes a little imagination. Some will say that technology is expensive, and that is true, but applications such as Office 365 or Google GSuite have made it cheap for institutions to bring more robust technology into the classroom. Acceptance of such trends as BYOD, where students bring their own devices and use those in the classroom, makes it more affordable for most schools to incorporate technology into classroom instruction.
Disadvantages of Technology in Education
- Cyberbullying – Cyberbullying has become a severe problem in a lot of areas. Bullying is not new kids have been doing it forever, but through technology, it has become more of an issue. Bullys use technology such as social media to inflict a constant barrage of torment on their victims. The abuse can start at school and persist even after school. Before social media, it was not as easy for bullies to follow someone home. Now all they need is a cell phone. The anonymous nature that one can employ on the internet has also lead to more bullies stalking their victims. The bullies may not harass someone in public, but they will sometimes feel emboldened hiding behind a phone.
- Cheating– One serious downside to using technology in education is the ability to cheat. Students can look up answers on the internet, send text messages to their friends, or save copies of tests. The real cheaters just plagiarize content from the web. There are some technologies such as turn it in or LockDown browser that can help mitigate this, but students continue to find ingenious ways to cheat. Some students spend more time trying to cheat the system than it would take them just to study.
- Social Skills Suffer– Students who spend too much time online may start to have trouble interacting with people in person. They spend so much time online and may even create different identities that they have difficulty communicating with real people.
- Wasting Time – Students can easily be distracted when they have access to Social Media as part of their instruction. Social Media is useful for teaching, but that does not mean that students will always spend their time on the assigned tasks. It is essential to have controls in place to pull students back on track when utilizing technology in the classroom.
- Access to Inappropriate Material – At the beginning of the commercial internet in the late 1990s, many people flocked to the new technology in hopes of making their fortunes. Many investors lost a lot of money as business proved to be unsustainable. One business model that did survive was the porn industry. These caused an influx of websites dedicated to the topic, and many still survive today. This means inappropriate content is abundant out on the web that students can access. Educational institutions have installed web filters to restrict this type of content, but it’s not just this that may be inappropriate. There is a lot of tasteless content out on the web, and students will share this type of stuff with their friends. This is something educators should be aware of and take precautions to keep students on task.
These are just some of the benefits of technology in education. As technologies such as AI and Cloud-based instruction platforms grow, the methods of providing distance learning will only improve. This will enable significant benefits to the ways faculty delivers instruction to their students. The disadvantages can sometimes overshadow the advantage of technology in education, but overall, information technology can make classrooms more efficient. Technology is changing quickly, and as time goes along and more educators learn to use that technology, the advantages will only improve and become more numerous and improve the benefits of technology in school.