Technology and the Future of Education
Technology is an incredible thing. Isaac Asimov described it as being “indistinguishable from magic” and it is capable of inspiring wonder in children and adults alike. It is no surprise then that technology has gained an increasingly prominent role in education, not only as a supplement to existing teaching methods for traditional subjects but also to prepare children for a world where technology is ubiquitous and an ever increasing number of the everyday objects around us are becoming interconnected. Technology has an extraordinary amount of potential as an educational tool. It was not long ago that the idea of having a device in everyone’s pocket that had constant access to an ever updating online database of human knowledge (as Wikipedia is) was unthinkable, but now it is the norm.
An Encyclopedia in Your Pocket
We should be doing more to encourage children to view their technology (an increasing number of children now own a smartphone) as a device with which they can learn and explore the vast banks of knowledge available online. We should be instilling in them the importance of being inquisitive and knowing how to use their technology to answer any questions they have.
Learning how to learn is a skill far more valuable than the ability to memorize and relate facts. Classrooms have historically been hostile to cell phones, and with good reason, but the nature of cell phones has changed dramatically and they are now not only powerful resources but also something most people own anyway. A high-end smartphone isn’t required to take advantage of the device’s potential for learning.
Making Learning Interactive
More and more schools are being given tablets of various degrees of complexity for the students to use. This is a fantastic step in the right direction, as digital learning experiences offer a level of interaction with abstract concepts that are difficult to achieve in the classroom. There has also been an explosion in the number of educational apps available for tablets with museums and other institutions producing cheap or free apps that offer virtual access to their archives. There are also more targeted apps designed to teach or convey a specific thing. These include apps that give a virtual skeleton for the user to examine and learn about and even apps that allow you to perform virtual dissections of various animals.
Making Learning More Accessible and Affordable
The rise of the online university course has been a long and troubled one. Online degrees were once routinely the butt of jokes and were associated with low-quality degrees and dubious business practices. Thankfully, this is no longer the case and there is now a wide range of reputable and respected educational institutions offering online counterparts to their traditional campus courses. These courses are just as diverse as they are offline; from masters in photography and history to an online MHA degree. Maryville University offers a renowned online masters in health administration degree, which potential employers hold in equally high regard to its campus offering. Making subjects like these more accessible and affordable has the potential to change our society for the better in both the short and long-term. After all, everyone wins when our population is educated.
Technology is continuously evolving, just as our educational institutions are, so we should always be on the lookout for new and exciting ways to combine them together.