Advances in technology have improved many aspects of our lives and have made the world a smaller and more accessible place. We, as a people, love technology as we queue up for hours waiting to buy the new iPhone or others gadgets. We assume that technology can and will improve all aspects of our lives and the lives of our children when it comes to learning. However we must be careful when it comes to integrating technology and education. A study conducting by the OECD (Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development) found that there were no significant increases for academic achievement in science, reading or maths in countries that were heavily invested in technology for the classroom.
That is not to say that technology in the classroom could not be hugely beneficial but we must find a way to utilize technology in learning while understanding that it has limitations.
Technology must be seen as a tool in the teacher’s arsenal rather than something that can replace teachers. If you were to Google “online classes” you would be spoil for choice as even Ivy league universities in the United States offer online courses for free. As adults we can learn like this, solely online, but as adults we have a learning foundation to draw from. Children do not have that foundation and while technology has shown some benefits teachers remain indispensible in education for their formative years. That is not to say however, that the role of the teacher has to remain the same nor the mediums in which we learn. Flipped classrooms are being trialled in schools in the here and the United States as students can learn at their pace, use their own initiative instead of being told what to do and how to do it, as well as being able to engage in areas of individual interest.
Using technology for learning is a double-edged sword. Global spending on computers in schools has been estimate at £17.5 billion per year but studies have shown that they do little for academic improvement. However just giving students access to computers is not enough. Specific programmes and platforms must be developed to truly benefit from what technology has to offer students today. Technology changes rapidly according to Moore’s Law and because of that we will always face difficulties in integrating technology and education effectively but we should not give up as the benefits of technology in the classroom could pay-off big for the next generation.