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Technology in education has arrived, and it is here to stay. 

Technology in Education

In the 1980s and 1990s, society was handed “education super tools” through computers. Technology promised an educational breakthrough across all borders, and that students and teachers would all be able to advance themselves in knowledge with the aid of computers. Numerous educational software applications were available, however, there was still something missing.

In the 2000s, the mass adoption of the internet provided people with reason and depth for all the gadgets which the tech sector continued to manufacture at a high rate. After two decades since the education sector utilized technology—the internet granted everyone an understanding of how technology could be optimized to benefit people. 

Now, technology has become part and parcel of people’s lifestyles. From ordering food or depositing money to the bank to learning a new language or listening to music, technology has an answer for everything. 

Education-wise, students discovered the motherlode of educational resources through video hosting and streaming sites and other websites. Once regarded as the sun which a household’s common world knowledge revolved around, the Encyclopedia suddenly vanished, discovering it was no match for the galaxy of information Google holds.

Indeed, technology in education has arrived, and it is here to stay. However, there is still much room for improvement.

Challenges

“Since the early 1980s, with the appearance of desktop computers in schools, questions about their presence in classrooms have been debated,” said Larry Cuban, professor emeritus, Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.

Cuban has been studying the use of technology in education for decades. In 2019, he published a condensed historical account of the use of technology in public schools. In his entry for the National Education Policy Center, he wrote that the world’s interest in equipping schools with technology started in the mid-’80s. Educational institutions were promised that students would learn faster, lessons would be more student-friendly, and that graduates would be ready to enter a modern workplace.

However, Cuban felt that by the 2000s, there was no clear evidence whether or not these promises were achieved. “Could funds that went for hardware, software, professional development of teachers and administrators, wiring of buildings and installation of Wifi, and replacement of obsolete hardware have been better spent on increasing capacity of teachers to teach effectively or reduction of class sizes, or other policy alternatives?” the author asked readers.

Changes

 In a 2016 survey by McGraw-Hill Education, which collected responses among 3,311 college students enrolled in higher education institutions across the United States, it reported that the majority of the students welcome digital learning technology in their studies.

Source: McGraw-Hill Education 2016 Digital Study Trends Survey

In a 2019 survey that rounded up opinions of online college students on the quality of online education in the U.S., it was found that 41 percent of graduate students found their online college-level education to provide a better learning experience than their college-level classroom education.

The question rather, is not whether technology is futile in the purposes of education, but if educators, guided by their institutions, can be trusted to harness the benefits of technology for study, and be also responsible enough to limit students’ dependence on it. 

Innovations

There is so much under the umbrella of technology in education that it is not only limited to the confines of a classroom setting. It is not even limited to education per se. As mentioned earlier in this article, technology is deeply embedded in people’s lifestyles. The same can be said about educational institutions.

Here are a few examples of how technology has affected the academe:

Through online innovations, educators today can efficiently monitor students’ works through internet platforms, doing away with tons of paperwork. In addition to just reading their books (electronic books saved computer tablets, for some), students can now research on their own and watch videos on a particular subject matter on the internet. 

Compared to before, students can now store more learning material through their computer tablets.

This technological breakthrough is not only for those inside the classroom, as office and administrative tasks have now become more streamlined. Enrollment management, for one, can now be administered with the use of new tech-based platforms such as MSM Unify, which have emerged to become a portal for higher education institutions (HEIs) to recruit and admit students as well enhance their enrollment management cycles. Additionally, settling tuition and other payments, can now be done long-distance. And of course, people these days might take emails for granted, but imagine how official memos, notices or updates have become much easier to disseminate? 

For branding, sales and marketing, technology in education goes beyond the internet. With the use of the latest cameras, and photo and video editing software for production and post-production, institutions can ensure they are able to capture moments most representative of their highest qualities. With the power of social media, higher education institutions (HEI) can even reach students just about anywhere in the world. 

Even campus facilities are not only upgraded to the latest in engineering and architecture but also in health safety and security. All in all, technology optimizes campus management. 

All of the past questions about technology in education are gradually getting their answers. Students today are holistically molded into becoming not only better world citizens but leaders in their own fields.

In a 2016 Workforce Readiness Survey by McGraw-Hill, the results showed that “85 percent of college students feel having used tech in classes or to study has helped to make them a better job candidate.”

Post-pandemic

Higher education has enjoyed an extended summer in the last few years, only to fall flat with the coronavirus pandemic. Since the World Health Organization declaration on March 11, 2020, more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries have been affected by school closures.

Since March 2020, HEIs have quickly responded to the needs of the times. While students returned to their homes, some international students back to their home countries, some HEIs—with their local government or state’s approval—continued on with their programs, with institutions reaching out to students through online learning. It would be prudent to think that if not for technological advancements in previous years, HEIs would definitely have buried themselves, trapped in a long winter.

Conclusion

There is so much more to experience and learn about technology in education. For now, we know that knowledge is no longer administered vertically from the learned to the untaught. This time because of the internet, the four walls of a classroom have expanded themselves as far as the cardinal directions would allow. Because of technology, anybody can have access to a wealth of information on the internet.

Quality education is another question. Proper discussion facilitated by trained educators still plays an important role in how all this knowledge is interpreted and ingrained into the minds of students. In the near future, perhaps when face-to-face classes resume, students may be pleased to find their school as a place for social, intellectual and professional growth, as they do so safely and securely within a technologically advanced campus.

A responsible educator or institution knows that learning is not dependent on technology. Rather, technology harnesses the power of inspiration, which transforms knowledge into deeper understanding.

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Data Sources:

Cuban, L. (2019, October 18) Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice: Teaching with Technology in Public Schools. National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from https://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/teaching-technology.

2017 Digital Study Trends Survey (2017) McGraw Hill. Retrieved from https://www.mheducation.com/highered/explore/studytrends.html.

Duffin, E. (2020, October 26) How would you compare the instruction of your college-level online learning experiences with your college-level classroom experiences? Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/956123/opinions-online-college-students-quality-online-education/.

New Survey Data: Four Out of Five College Students Say Digital Learning Technology Helps Improve Their Grades (2016, October 2016) McGraw Hill. Retrieved from https://www.mheducation.com/news-media/press-releases/2016-digital-study-trends-survey.html.

Education: From disruption to recovery. Unesco. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse

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