It can be said that the two biggest truths of human existence are death and association with technological advancements. Whether one like it or not, technological advancements are occurring at an exponential rate, and the roles of technology in the lives of people is getting expanded with each passing day. The presence of technology in the lives of humans cannot be denied as it is linked with innumerable actions of the people in the world society. Right from the presence of smartphones to laptops to GPS systems, innumerable examples of such technological devices that are linked to the day-to-day functions of people can be cited. Moreover, the Internet has revolutionized communication all over the world. Thus, be it good or bad, the huge importance of technology and technological devices in the lives of people cannot be denied in any way. As such, technology also impacts the process of education owing to its facilities that can help the academicians, students and teachers alike.
In our society today, it is rare for someone anywhere to not own a phone, let alone a smartphone that’s capable of tying into the Internet and accessing infinite amounts of information. This fact is significantly affecting those who have grown up in this period in our society, exposed to this technology at an early age or even as infants. Technological advances also indicate big changes for the future. The question we must come to as a society is not whether technology’s role in our society is good or bad, because it has become an inevitable part of our lives, but rather how we can go about making it more of a positive tool and reducing negative outcomes. Technology is the catalyst to change in educating generations that is affecting us all both positively and negatively through its shaping of education itself, social culture in schools, and future prospects for our nation’s younger generations. These technological advances are going to exist regardless of anyone’s opinion, and it’s up to us to make it a useful tool.
Almost everybody sees technology as advancements that have made life easier due to their ability to reduce time needed to complete tasks and research, as well as their ability to make quick and accurate calculations. By having the world available at one’s fingertips through the use of a smartphone, making appointments, plans, contacting others, and getting the answer to questions and problems has never been easier. Smartphones have developed a strong role in education because they are the primary source people use as means of receiving information. Over the last two decades of being a student, I have observed books and libraries becoming less and less of a tool as phones have become more and more capable over the years, and in turn have become dominant. The archives available on a smartphone the size of a hand contain more information than the largest library in the world could ever hope to. This makes research, citing, and computing much easier and less time consuming than it was five, ten, and especially twenty and more years in the past. Reading on a smartphone, tablet, or other device has been shown to increase vocabulary since one can look up a word on the device as necessary without having to get up and open a book. These devices have proven to be useful tools in the classroom, but are equally as effective as a distraction. With access to every part of the Internet, students are not only able to communicate with each other through text, but can also immerse themselves in the world of social media, listen to music, and even watch movies.
Technology has connected us globally and has allowed us to access information and discoveries taking place in other countries. It also allows us to experience different learning strategies developed in different cultural environments. Technological advancement has connected the entire globe, and helped the research work in the field of education. The library of an educational institution might not be well-equipped for some particular research. However, if such an institution has a computer lab, the students can easily access the Internet and use the digital encyclopedias so that they can get to know the things needed for the research work. The students can access online academic journals from the various corners of the world. (Christensen) The Internet simply enhances the reach of academic data to every corner of the world, and facilitates the process of educating students.
The technological advancements that bring about globalization in educational process have a positive effect on the students as well as the educational institutions. The Internet enables the students and the teachers to communicate with their counterparts from far away parts of the world through video conferences. This makes the students get the facility of being trained by the best experts from any part of the world with ease. The factors like geographical distance, expenditure, and barriers in communication are minimized due to the increasing effect of technology in education. Thus, conferences, collaborations in research, and discussions are greatly promoted by the advancement in technology all over. In this context, it should be remembered that distance education is greatly aided by the technological devices and advancements. In the past, the students could avail the distance learning courses or the correspondence courses at the universities or community colleges. However, the distance limited the scope for communication. But, as the Internet has taken over the world, distance education has become very convenient for the students and teachers. The study materials along with the video classes can be distributed among the enrolled students via the Internet, and communication among the students and teachers has become very easy. Thus, technology has helped the spread of education to a wider number of people all over the globe. (Wetzel)
If the education system at schools is considered, it can be understood that the students get trained in computers right from a very tender age in schools. The teachers use educational games in the schools so as to make the students accustomed to computers and their uses. Thus, the students are able to learn the basics of counting, spelling and many other educational lessons via computer games in a fun way. A proper grooming from a young age makes the students accustomed to the use of technology in education. As they grow up and learn more, they try to integrate more and more technological devices and ways to help their procedures of learning and education. The students in schools are also able to use the Internet for virtually attending the Web seminars that are conducted by various educational institutions and museums. One such program is conducted by NASA that allows the students to converse with the astronauts in space. In this way, the students get a better idea about the world through the help of technology.
In the digital world advertisements are found everywhere we look. There is already proof that this has developed a nation of people who are compelled by what media and corporations are directing them towards in order to support the consumer market. By forcing students to use the Internet as means of educational sources we are subjecting our kids to this type of manipulation at an early age. Hence, as the students get more accustomed to the world of technology, it is also the duty of the teachers and parents to guide them about the proper use of the Internet and the technological devices. As the students mature, they need to be made aware of the ability of the media to condition their thinking and block their freedom of thought. They should be taught to use the technological advancements for their own purposes, rather than being influenced by the attempt at mental conditioning. Moreover, they need to be made aware of the possible threats that are associated with the use of technology. Setting students up online without teaching the proper means of doing so and precautions that should be taken can make them become vulnerable to having their information lost or stolen which can impact their educational career as well as personal life.
But yet, the positive effects of technology on the educational system have to be considered. Digital multimedia enhances the efficiency of access for the students and the teachers. Also, the multimedia presentations that include video, sound, text and images can be important in creating stronger memory links among the students. Moreover, the digital technologies facilitate instant playbacks that help the learner to access various sections of the study materials with much more ease in comparison to a textbook. (Hay) The data that is found on the Internet can be taken to be authentic as the source can be verified. The authenticity and cultural relevance of data helps the students to learn their lessons and continue research work. Apart from all of this, the Internet provides the students with immense communication opportunities.
However, there are common concerns among the teachers. Since the students get access to the Internet, their thirst for knowing things is getting diminished. It is thought that the students do not pay much heed to use their memory as they are complacent about the fact that they can get to know all they want at the click of a mouse or a smartphone with immense ease. Thus, the students have become quite accustomed to get quick answers to their queries, and they are likely to give up the search when they come across an easy answer. Many of the teachers have the opinion that the students have become conditioned to go for the easiest of answers found on the Internet. The teachers need to take the charge in this matter. They need to make the students understand that it would be best for them to use the Internet for gaining knowledge, instead of surfing for the easiest answer. “Some colleges of education appear to be proactive in preparing teachers to integrate information technology to support pedagogy and learning, while others seem to be maintaining a status quo.” (Duhaney) It would be correct to say in such a scenario that the pros and cons of technology getting integrated in the educational system would be there. But, the students and the teachers have to find the ways in which technology can be used in the most constructive way for the purpose of imparting education.
There is a higher possibility of plagiarism in the age of technology as students can easily copy from the internet. However, there are tools available on the Internet itself that can track the plagiarized content. Thus, it can be said that while the Internet can be misused by a user, the same technological advancement provides the tool for countering the misuse. In contrast to unethical practice of plagiarism, the Internet can also be used to work on shared spreadsheets or documents that facilitate multiple users to access and work on the same file at the same time. The online storage services are also available that ensure that no data gets lost. People have the facility of accessing the stored data from any Internet enabled device from any corner of the globe. In this way, technology proves to be of immense importance in easing the process of academic work and spreading education among students. Moreover, “technology assisted education can be employed to supplement direct instruction by professors or it can substitute for direct class-room teaching.” (Eddy et. al)
Technology goes beyond what the eye can see. New opportunities are arising, as other positions are becoming outdated as they are being taken over by technology like assembly line robots or managing software for companies. This is occurring across the job market from the medical field to all of the government agencies. It makes one consider the benefits of a school system that integrates technology into its agenda to create a generation that is prepared as users of the advanced technology. It would be a mindless act to ignore the presence and immense utility of technology in people’s lives including the education system. Hence, it is the best option to train oneself to use technology in the best possible way. People should aim at extracting all the positives out of the technological devices and methods. The teachers and students truly need to integrate technology as an effective and essential tool in the process of education. But, the distracting factors that aim to pose problem to the process of constructive use of technology have to be eliminated by the users of technology. Only then it can emerge as a powerful tool that can revolutionize the process of education in the entire world. Technology is the way of the future. No matter how a person uses it for his or her own purpose, the presence and effects of technological advancement cannot be ignored in any way in the present age.
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