Education represents a pivotal part of every young person’s life journey. Whether it’s K-12 or academia, formal education is there to ensure that new generations prepare for the world of tomorrow. But how effective are they at doing that? Disruptive digital technologies have become second-nature to younger generations, leading to a necessity for reform in education.
According to Ed Technology, 56% of teachers said that students were noticeably more engaged when technology was present in the curriculum. Additionally, 49% have said that technology has made it easier to perform lessons, with 53% stating that it made the classroom more fun and vibrant. There is a clear yearning for digital tools in modern education, both from teachers and students. Let’s discuss practical ways in which technology can impact modern education, as well as the challenges of contemporary education in 2020 and beyond.
Education in the Age of Modern Technology
Let’s start with modern education – what makes it different than formal education from 15 or 30 years ago? For starters, students become used to devices such as smartphones, laptops, and digital home appliances far sooner than their parents did. What are the challenges that today’s teachers face in the wake of modern technology?
- How to keep up with young generations in terms of digital tools and platforms
- How to encourage teamwork despite each student having a digital device
- How to emphasize creativity and outside-the-box thinking despite using a digital environment
- How to be fair, objective and helpful in the way they grade students’ performance
This also creates expectations from the school system in the eyes of young pupils. If someone is used to digital devices and then suddenly told not to use them, “because the teacher said so”, that won’t suffice. Just like the job market before it, education needs to catch up with modern technology and enable students to better prepare for contemporary professions.
The benefits of using technological innovation extend to teachers, as you can introduce a plethora of devices and software to your curriculum. For example, writing platforms such as Evernote, Subjecto, and Canva can be used to create, edit, and format engaging digital content for your students’ benefit. Likewise, learning hubs such as Khan Academy can be taken full advantage of in classrooms to engage students with learning more effectively. Once digital devices are available in the classroom, the world will be your proverbial oyster.
Ways in which Technology is Impacting Modern Education
- Per-Student Personalization
- Highly Targeted Skill Learning
- Fact-Based Education
- E-Learning Enabled Environment
- Demonstrative AR & VR Technologies
Let’s take a typical classroom of 30 students as an example. The group of 30 will most likely have one teacher without any assistants to back them up. This puts enormous strain on the teacher in regard to any form of personalization of the school curriculum. While some of us are good at math or physics, others will excel in history or social sciences – no two minds are alike.
In traditional education, such difficulty is simply glossed over, and specialization is reserved for late high school when academia becomes a trending topic. With modern technology, teachers can effectively monitor each student and adjust the curriculum to their capacities and affinities. Ambitious students can push forward with more exercises and assignments while those that struggle can get the attention they so desperately need.
The modern job market is all about soft skills and hard skills. Letting students know which is which early on with modern software solutions is a huge step forward in contemporary education. Teachers can use learning platforms such as Udemy and Lynda to highlight how the world outside of school works and how professionals think. While such an approach should be used lightly in K-12, academia can greatly benefit from practical skill learning.
Wyatt Emerson, HR Specialist at Best Essays Education and Content Writer at Trust My Paper, said: “Modern technology can invite practicality to the classroom. Students are often disengaged from the curriculum due to vague theory, dry monologue, and lack of practical examples or exercises. Introducing digital technologies and meaningful skill-learning can pique their interests sufficiently for them to at least tolerate subjects they dislike.”
Unfortunately, traditional education often relies on outdated literature in fields that rely heavily on up-to-date information. The benefit of using technology in classrooms is that every fact can easily be checked for validity.
This opens the door for teacher-student collaboration, as both learn new things based on proven facts and research. It also encourages students to think critically about any piece of information they are presented with, rather than accept it as fact at face value.
While commute might not be an issue in large cities, students from rural and distant areas always had problems with formal education in that regard. The need for e-learning has only grown in 2020, as we face COVID-19 and social distancing is the new norm.
Luckily, modern technologies can alleviate much of the problems found in traditional education in regards to physical attendance. Teachers can rely on platforms such as Asana and Trello to organize study groups, assign homework, and stay in touch with their students 24/7. This ensures a more laid-back and approachable form of studying which doesn’t box students into strict timetables and deadlines.
We’ve mentioned that today’s students are very familiar with modern technologies – there’s no better example of that than Pokémon Go. This is an AR-based smartphone game that took the world by storm recently and has showcased that youth is quite adept at using modern tech.
Introducing educational AR/VR software similar to Pokémon Go and its contemporaries can do wonders for classroom engagement. This approach further emphasizes practical learning and real-world examples of what the curriculum is all about currently. It also enables students to create visual associations with important curriculum information and terminology because AR/VR tech was present during the class.
What the Future Holds (Conclusion)
The concern in regards to AI and automation will always be a point of discussion in regards to technology in education. However, modern tech is already present in classrooms around the world – we just don’t utilize it effectively as teachers.
Don’t discourage a student from using Google during class (except during grading) – ask what they are searching for and involve everyone in the discussion. Think about how you can encourage your students to use their smartphones and laptops for educational purposes, life-long-learning, and classroom tools. No one can say what the future holds – we can only do our best and embrace today, to better prepare for tomorrow.
Bio: Kristin Savage is a professional content writer and editor at Supreme Dissertations and Classy Essay writing services. Her writing portfolio consists of articles, case studies, and research on trending topics in digital technologies, marketing, and business development. Kristin is an active writer and contributor at Grab My Essay, rounding out her career as a content creator. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys swimming and listening to jazz tunes.