Use of Technology in Education
Contemporary society has witnessed tremendous technological advancements which have affected various spheres of people's life, including education. Nowadays, technology plays a pivotal role in the educational sector. Among other technologies, computer and internet technology have greatly revolutionized educational processes worldwide. Technological advancements have been widely used to manage education-related matters related to enhancing its quality, accessibility, and affordability. Nevertheless, one should not downplay the fact that the use of technology in education also poses a number of challenges both to the learners and instructors. Although technological progress has dramatically transformed educational sector, it can negatively influence the learning process due to such factors as learners risk of addiction, lack of proximity between educators and students, and multiple distractors.
To begin with, education has eliminated physical barriers to learning by enabling learners to access their tutors virtually. In fact, distance education was unheard of before the advent of the internet. Many learners who were physically unable to access the learning institution were automatically disadvantaged as far as learning is concerned. Currently, many graduate schools are utilizing distributed learning technology to gain access to as many students as possible. Teachers and students no longer require geographical proximity for learning process. The trend of using online classes has become popular to an extent that there are universities that allow their learners to complete their studies purely through distance learning.
On the other hand, students are capable of learning new content that is not related to their daily lives. The process of online learning is supported by a wide range of online databases that have a large mass of educational materials. These materials are made accessible to the students in real time by their learning institutions through the internet technologies. Therefore, it is safe to argue that online studies expose students to numerous materials without much struggle and this is a huge advantage over traditional learning methods.
The use of educational technologies such as simulation and multimedia enables learners to view specific geographical locations and landmarks without having to travel to the site and watch them physically. Even though trips have been a good option, the use of three-dimensional programs as well as geographic programs helps the students to walk through distant areas that could have taken them much longer time and heavy financial burden to access. It is worth noting that internet-based learning offers a multitude of discussion forums and socialization among learners, which adheres to constructivist principles of learning. According to the constructivist principle, effective learning occurs when people experience and define knowledge in a social set-up.
In addition, the use of technology in education has been embraced as it overcame the challenge of distance by enabling learning all over the world through online education technology. In the past, learners had to travel to different destinations in pursuit of education and this was characterized by numerous challenges including issues of costs and convenience. These barriers have been efficiently addressed by the use of technology. Instructors and learners no longer have to depend on proximity to the learning institutions for learning to occur as the world has become a global village due to the emergence of internet and computer technology.
Despite the benefits of using technology in education, it is also associated with a number of challenges. Technologies used in education may also stimulate other activities apart from learning. For instance, computer and internet technology support numerous games, networking, and entertainment sites and programs. Since these activities are interesting, they attract students and actively engage them in the processes distant from learning. Fisher documents study findings by the University of Michigan where 75% of student respondents acknowledged that when they had their laptops in class, they spent much time on non-learning activities such as social media engagements that this really distracted them. The technology does not just distract a particular student but also tends to distract other students too. Spending more time on activities that are not related to learning is detrimental to the educational process as it consumes valuable learning time. Further, it reduces students concentration which definitely translates into poor academic results.
It should be mentioned that some of these activities are very addictive and may cause psychological problems in students, and this undermines their academic endeavors. Apart from negative influence on students academic performance, one should bear in mind that if this trend is not checked, it can easily propagate a sick society which is highly dependent on technology for psychological gratification.
Traditional learning has been praised for enabling one-on-one interaction between teachers and students. Students need to physically connect with their teachers to promote the use of all senses in learning. For example, in this type of learning, students can pay close attention to the gestures of their educators and vice versa. In technology-aided education this crucial benefit is significantly reduced. This is because students are not in a position to see their teachers face to face. This also affects the teachers ability to clarify certain points as they monitor the body responses of their students during the explanation to check the level of understanding of the material.
In conclusion, it is universally acknowledged that the use of technology is highly beneficial in education, since, for instance, it fuels students interest in the courses, enhances their academic performance, and enables online studies. However, it also presents a number of challenges like distractions during learning, addiction, and a lack of the crucial physical connection between teachers and students. It is therefore imperative that the use of technology in education is embraced and enhanced for the better output while deliberately eliminating related challenges.
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