How Vital is Technology in Education?

From smart phones to sat navs, it’s fair to say that technology is a huge part of our lives. But how do you feel about the influence of technology in schools, colleges and other educational facilities?

Generally, there are two sides to this debate, with one claiming technology can advance learning and the other branding it a distraction. To help make sense of the pros and cons, United Carlton — a leading print management software provider — has investigated how technology has improved the classroom experience and what the education system could look like in the future.

 

To what extent is technology already used in learning establishments?

Gone are the days of boards, chalk and paper-based-only lessons; universities, colleges, schools, and even nurseries have all incorporated technology to deliver a better learning experience. Not only does this provide young people with a better education, it also gives them the preparation they need for what has now become a tech-savvy world.

It was reported that there were 430,000 tablets in education establishments in 2014 and this figure was expected to rise to more than 900,000 by 2016. Although, no confirmation result has been released.

If you’re not convinced that technology plays that great a role in learning and education, take a look at the stats. Reportedly, 68% of primary schools and 69% of secondary schools in the UK use tablet devices, according to a study by Barbie Clarke of the Family, Kids and Youth research group. What’s more, 9% of these schools said that there was a tablet device for every pupil, which shows a dedication to technology as a learning tool. This study also found that those schools without tablet devices claimed that it was something they were looking at introducing in the future.

 

How is technology used?

While many people will accept that technology will play a part in education, there are queries regarding what gadgets, like tablets, will be used for. Tablets and other gadgets are making lessons more interactive regardless of the subject, encouraging more pupil participation and helping to improve the retention rate of learners. By catering to different types of pupils, they are more likely to hold onto the information, as opposed to how they’d remember facts if simply hearing it stated by a teacher from a textbook.

Technology also allows for bespoke lessons that can be tailored to the specific needs of the students — a massive help for teachers. For example, this can be done through the use of games, music and even e-books. Another benefit is that teachers now have the ability to search for materials they need online, allowing them to access additional resources.

Outside of the typical classroom, technology can assist in spreading knowledge and making learning more accessible. With technology, teachers can host webinars which allows them to connect with a group of students remotely. This is most prominent in university and colleges, although it can also be used for younger children to teach them a specific subject or module. Exams can also be taken online which has shown a huge shift in the traditional methods.

 

What does the future hold for technology and education

In the future, technology and education only promise to form a closer bond. Sir Anthony Seldon from the University of Buckingham claims that within the next ten years, artificial intelligence (AI) will cause a shift in how we teach students and: “open up the possibility of an Eton or Wellington education for all”. Although teachers will still have a job in the classroom, they will act as assistants while letting the AI device teach the lesson. Essentially, teachers will control classroom behaviour rather than educate.

Apparently, AI will allow lessons and learning materials to be personal to the student. This technology is capable of recognising how quickly a student learns, so it can adjust itself to help them advance as quickly and efficiently as they can, rather than trying to keep up with their classmates.

Technologies are always changing, so we’ll have to wait to see what’s in store for schools of the future!

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