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Before modern technology arrived, most educational curricula required students to master academic subjects through tried and true methods of rote memorization of facts. That included math and scientific formulas. Teachers simply supplied information to their students, however, with the advent of technology the way in which information is communicated, in addition to the way students learn, has evolved tremendously. More than just a vehicle by which information is stored and retrieved, technology has revolutionized modern education.
One result of the technological revolution was the creation of the massive warehouse of information called the Internet. Teachers can now cover topics, discuss them with students and conclude with an activity requiring research and written response to the subject. Students now have the means to find a plethora of information on any topic set for them without visiting a library; they conduct their research via the Internet.
Technology has transformed the classroom in such a way that devices are now used to engage students and encourage critical thinking and scholarship. One feature, learning management systems (LMS), allows teachers the flexibility to create virtual classrooms. Advanced apps allow students to use social media as a source to find valid, credible information on any subject. More significantly, cell phones, typically seen as a nuisance to most teachers, have now become a part of the instruction process.
Technology and education
In most educational institutions today, LMS has made education convenient for teachers and easier for students. In essence, LMS allows teachers to create classrooms online that not only provide resources for students, but also permits pupils and teachers to interact virtually with each other outside the classroom. Also, the teaching method where the teacher lectured the entire time and then assigned work based on information contained in the lecture has changed. Today’s teachers might have students watch a lecture at home and then complete work in what is called flipped learning, where students spend classroom time with the teacher practicing concepts covered in a lecture.
Although the flexibility in these educational systems is seen most readily in online assessments, when a student takes a test, most LMSs will allow instructors to set a time limit, allow them to scramble test questions so that every student in the class receives different questions, and allow instructors to grade the test online so that students know their grades as soon as they have completed the assessment. LMSs allow for teachers to lecture on a particular subject and provide resources on that subject so students can research the topic further, if necessary. Teachers can incorporate pretty much anything from YouTube to online tutorials like Kahn Academy into the class curriculum using a LMS.
More significantly, though, technology has allowed students the opportunity to take ownership and control of their educations. This autonomy can be seen in just the sheer number and variations of formats students have in which to learn. Students can enroll in online classes that give them the freedom to complete the coursework at their own convenience but it does require self-discipline. Additionally, technology has provided students with the opportunity to take classes through private online schools such as Kolada or receive online tutoring at no cost.
Educational Applications (Apps)
Online games and other educational apps have become a mainstay of the educational landscape. These games and apps allow for students to master skills through constant practice, but more importantly, these apps allow for students to engage with information directly. Technological apps can be employed in the classroom so that students can calculate and record information, can access reference material, and can assess their own progress. For teachers, the educational app has allowed them to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of students accurately, so that they can create appropriate lesson plans.
The cell phone
Cell phones plague many classroom lectures; students looking into their laps at text messages or just letting their phones ring during class are a constant distraction. However, even cell phones have positively affected student learning. Cell phone internet functions allow students to access information in the absence of classroom computers because instructors have adopted social media as a way to impart information to them. Oncotarget, an online journal, can be accessed from a student’s phone, so while the teacher is lecturing on a particular subject, students can easily find further information on the topic.
In today’s tech-saturated environment, teachers have now become facilitators of learning. While teachers are the primary resource and authority in the classroom, students now have other avenues by which to get information on any given subject. Technology has created classrooms where students engage with subject matter directly and in a way, that goes beyond just learning facts. It now encourages critical thinking needed to master most academic subjects.