This millennium stands testimony to the fact that the human mind is one of the new frontiers that we are trying to conquer. Breathtaking technologies are being introduced almost every year, and it seems we’re on the way to make our life easier and more comfortable. Education – that is a reflection of the development of a society and is the foundation stone of the bright future of a nation that has undergone drastic changes in the last fifty years.
Positive Effects of Technology on Education
Talking in a positive sense, the impact of technology on education has been phenomenal. Using Internet and computers as en effective medium to establish communication between schools, teachers, students and parents; educational institutes have been able to handle many issues that were previously not handled with ease due to geographical limitations or lack of adequate training technologies.
Enhanced Teaching and Learning
Technological developments like digital cameras, projectors, mind training software, computers, PowerPoint presentations, 3D visualization tools; all these have become great sources for teachers to help students grasp a concept easily. It has to be understood that visual explanation of concepts makes learning fun and enjoyable for students. They’re able to participate more in the classroom, and even teachers get a chance to make their classes more interactive and interesting. The importance of technology in schools can be understood from the fact that it empowers the educational system and produces better students.
Being exposed to technological wonders like computers and the Internet and learning to operate them from an early age, students are able to develop a sense of self-esteem and confidence. There are many things that students are able to do on their computer that their parents aren’t even aware of. This makes them believe that they stand strong in global competition.
Increased Cooperation Amongst Peers
A majority of teachers have stated a very surprising fact that introducing technologies in a classroom has increased peer-to-peer interaction. Many kids who’re comfortable in handling computers come out to lend a helping hand to students, who face problems in working on computers. The importance of technology in the classroom goes beyond computers and Internet. They’re now, just as important as notebooks and school bags.
Teachers have reported that students who sincerely complete their research projects by referring to the plethora of information available on the Internet are able to develop good analytical and research skills. By referring to a large number of resources, a serious student utilizes his or her common sense and judgment skills to choose the best material and use it as an advantage to complete the project. By getting exposed to numerous ideas for their assignments and the creative ways to finish them, students develop excellent research abilities.
No Geographical Limitations
With the introduction of online degree programs there is hardly any need of being present physically in the classroom. Even several foreign universities have started industry oriented online degree courses that aspirants can join. Distance learning and online education have become an integral part of the education system nowadays. Certainly, the value of off-campus education may never be equal to that of on-campus training but for diploma and other courses, when the student is thousands of miles away from the educational institute, these online courses can be of great advantage.
Negative Effects of Technology on Education
Teachers and scholars across the globe have unanimously stood for integrating technology in education. This is owing to the fact that just like students, even teachers find it easier to circulate study materials by using Internet as a communication tool. Technological developments have made life easier for teachers and students. However, there are other aspects of this that most of us are not familiar with.
Poor Teacher-Student Relationship
Many teachers have a common complaint that negative habits of students are more exacerbated due to the use of technology. In countries like the US, where assignments and homework are required to be submitted online, students tend to forget common email etiquette like salutation and sometimes, even adding texts in the attachments! Moreover, the trend of last day submissions has now transformed into last hour, last minute submissions. Students submit their assignments even hours after the time for submission is over and their emails don’t contain any explanation or a note of apology.
Moreover, questions, queries and problems regarding any topic in assignments that should reach to the teacher within 24 hours of submission of the homework, remain due for days. Not many students are even bothered to get their queries cleared. Those few who raise questions want them to be answered online which is not always possible, as teacher – student interaction is something that is vital to understand intricate topics. The trend of blackboards wherein, teachers post online notes, lectures, assignments and other information has cultivated the habit of skipping college lectures amongst students.
The belief that Google is always there, has made students disorganized and impatient. They just want to copy and paste the information, so that they can finish the assignment. Going to the college library, searching for information from books or even online library facilities seems to be a daunting task for students. Teachers have expressed concern that not many students are productively utilizing technology for their growth. Teachers are also concerned about the fact that students don’t fix appointments with them to seek answers to queries or to know something more about the subject.
Increasing Incidents of Cheating
Technological developments like graphing calculators, high tech watches, mini cameras and similar equipment have become great sources to cheat in exams. It is easier for students to write formulas and notes on graphing calculators, with least chances of being caught. While vigilance can curb this problem, there seems to be no clue as to how issues of plagiarism and ‘cut- copy-paste’ can be dealt.
Lack of Focus
SMS or text messaging has become a favorite pastime of many students. Students are seen playing with their cell phone, iPhones day and night, right from crossing a street, or driving and very often even between lectures. Being ever-connected to the online world has resulted in lack of focus and concentration in academics and to some extent, even in sports and extracurricular activities. It is certainly not possible to read a difficult subject and at the same time, chat with a friend, and remain logged in on Facebook. These are very obvious distractions that have eroded the sense of mental focus, peace and concentration ability from students’ life. Video gaming, for instance, has become the greatest distraction for students. Teenagers are easily swayed by gadgets and technology, which also makes them splurge unnecessarily.
Poor Reading and Writing Skills
Reading seems to be a lost hobby in this age. While there is a plentiful of information in the form of free ebooks available on the Internet, anybody who likes reading will agree that reading a book online and reading a printed form of book certainly has some prominent differences. Even if students were reading books online, it would have been fair but the fact is that owing to bombardment of information, the moment a teenager opens a website, he is lost elsewhere, either searching for new games or opening his or her Facebook profile. Since assignments are mostly done online, students are losing their handwriting skills.
It is understandable that in this age of computers, there is hardly any requirement of handwriting skills but still, a good handwriting is an integral part of learning. It improves our eye-to-hand coordination, makes us more focused and gives us an opportunity to express ourselves, more profoundly. Writing skills also convey deeper aspects about our personality like our organizational abilities and ability to express our ideas in a refined manner. Certainly, typing on a keyboard doesn’t impair creativity in writing (in fact they are useful, as using a backspace, one can easily change previous sentences). Nevertheless, handwriting skills are certainly an integral part of good education.