The advantages of technology in education will only increase for students as 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.
Wireless used to be something nice to have now it is a necessity to provide access to students. College campus students even demand to be always connected, and they expect the college to provide 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 Technology in Education
- 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 2000’s. 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 they 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 allow 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.
- Classroom Flexibility – Since students are learning more from interaction with technology such as MyMath Lab, the students can learn at their pace. This 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 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 home. Technology has changed all that. Now students con communicate in real time with others across the world as easy as they could converse with their neighbor. Applications such as Skype and Social Media allow instant communication regardless of distance. This allows students to broaden their horizons and not see the world through such a small window.
- More efficient use of educator’s time – Through tools such as video recording and distance learning platforms, teachers can be more efficient as they can create a video explaining a complex topic and students can view as many times are needed to grasp the concept. This allows the faculty member not to spend as much time on remediation and focuses their time on one of one help. This ensures students receive enough of the teachers time when class sizes have become difficult to manage.
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 just 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 serious 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, but 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 since they are 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 to pass out to others, or 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 have just taken them to study and retain the material.
- 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 trouble interacting with real people.
- Wasting Time – Students can easily be distracted when they have access to social media as part of their instruction. A teacher can use Twitter in the classroom, but that does not mean that students will always spend their time on the assigned tasks. This means it’s important 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 1990’s many people flocked to the new technology in hopes of making their fortunes, and many did. Many investors lost a lot of money, and many of those companies that made the on paper millionaires proved to be unsustainable. One business model that did survive was the porn industry. These caused an influx of website dedicated to the topic, and many still survive today. This means there is an abundance of inappropriate content 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 for classrooms. There is a lot of tasteless content out on the web and students tend to share this type of stuff with their friends. The reason is foreign to me, but it something educators should be aware of and take precautions to keep students on task.
Technology can provide some significant benefits to teachers and improve methods of delivering instruction if planned correctly. These disadvantages can sometimes overshadow These advantages of technology in education overall technology, can make classrooms more efficient. Technology is changing quickly and as time goes along and more educators learn to use that technology these advantages will only improve.