Technology on earth had started its journey 3.3 million years ago when our ancestors (i.e. Neanderthals and early modern humans) decided to develop tools using stones, wood and antlers. Since then, technology has come a long way. And over the period of 3.3 million years, it has touched all areas one can possibly think. The field of education and learning was no exception.
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Today, every student you meet will tell you how reliant he/she is on technology for the course of learning. From getting a certification done online to availing assignment help on the internet – technology has revolutionised the whole scenario of student learning in the past few decades.
However, technology is often recognised as the biggest obstacle in the path of learning. Social media, video games and the world of internet, allegedly make it difficult for students to focus on learning.
This blog will try to analyse the impact of technology on education and show you whether technology is good or bad for learning. Let’s start with the positive sides of modern technology in learning:
Why is technology good for learning?
In today’s date, a majority of the learners have access to the internet. And whether they realise it or not, it now has a greater impact on every learner. The following points can help you understand the contribution of internet-based technology in improving the learning process.
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- Facilitating better access to resources:
If you ask a student to tell you the value of Pi up to 5 decimal places, he/she will just take out his smartphone and tell you that it’s 3.14159. If you asked the same question to a student 50 years ago, he/she would have to either calculate the 22/7 at the spot or would have referred to the textbook – both of which would have taken a significant amount of time.
The point is that technology, in the forms of smartphone, computers and tablets, has made it easier for the learners to get access to resources that help them in their process of learning. As long as you have a smartphone or a laptop with an internet connection, you can get research materials for almost any topic that is studied in this world.
Moreover, technology has helped transform the lessons into interactive videos, ebooks and more – making them more interesting to the learners.
- Improving student engagement:
Whether you look at the academic learners and the professionals enrolled in a corporate training program – the process of learning is becoming more and more engaging for the learners – thanks to technology.
It’s not just about attending lectures, getting assignments and appearing for exams anymore. Now, there are tech-enabled group discussions, where learners can participate and interact with their peers through video conferencing or a learning management system (LMS).
Not to forget the gamification part of tech-enabled learning. To make learning more engaging, course designers in various academic institutes as well as in the corporate training programs have introduced rewards for learners for accomplishing the certain level of training or learning.
- Going beyond the boundary of classrooms:
E-learning, the gift of modern technology has enabled educators to create an ideal learning environment beyond the four walls of the classroom. With e-learning, it is now possible to provide a world-class education to the remote parts of the world. Thanks to technology, physical boundaries are no longer holding anyone back from learning what they wish to learn.
It is important to mention that in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, a majority of the academic institutes (which are still operational) are leveraging e-learning facilities to provide education to students in countrywide lockdown.
Technology has also made peer-to-peer learning more convenient for learners. In fact, learners can interact with peers from across the globe and learn about various things. It is more common in corporate training programs. However, this has great application in academics as well.
- Providing with individualised learning:
As a student, I have struggled to ask questions in the class because I was intimidated by the professor and was also afraid of embarrassing myself. Unfortunately, there are millions of students like me, who cannot get their queries resolved as they are afraid.
E-learning has given educators the opportunity to facilitate personalised learning which not only helps the students to have one-to-one interaction with the educator but also provides them with a self-paced learning environment. It means, learners now have the opportunity to learn the lessons at the speed that they are comfortable with,
Due to the always-on nature of technology, students can now access online resources whenever they want, and teachers can provide assistance to students who may need additional help.
In addition, technology has also created numerous opportunities for educators to promote innovative teaching techniques that make learning more fun and engaging for learners. However, all these features and functions belong to one side of the coin. The coin also has another side, and it is not as pretty.
Why is technology bad for learning?
We live in the age of science and technology, and it is next to impossible to avoid modern technology in today’s date. So, even if there are some negative impacts of technology of the process of learning, we cannot really remain unaffected by them.
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- Lack of trained educators:
While technology is rapidly evolving in the field of education and learning, there is a significant shortage of professional educators who are trained in managing modern techniques of teaching. Most teachers across the globe are comfortable with the traditional way of teaching with blackboard and chalk.
Introduction of e-learning modules has given the opportunity to access lessons on-the-go. But in the hands of incapable people, it is doing more harm than good. In such a situation, the traditional way of learning is doing better than the tech-enabled learning environment.
- The spread of misinformation:
While technology has made it easier for learners to access numerous resources, it has also exposed them to an ocean of misinformation. Everything that is found on the internet is not true. But most learners aren’t aware of how to identify genuine information from wrong ones. As a result, they are learning the wrong things if it is not monitored properly.
Moreover, access to resources is also encouraging a certain section of students to use plagiarised content in their essays and dissertations. In short, the accessibility that technology is providing with is also affecting the quality of education.
- Wastage of time:
The devices and software used for e-learning purposes are not perfect. They also experience breakdowns and glitches, which require a significant amount of time to repair. Anyone who deals with digital platforms can tell you how irritating it gets when the server faces some issues, or there’s a malfunction in the hardware.
If learners encounter such a situation during their online classes, it will not only waste a lot of time but may also corrupt their files and crucial assignments, making them work on the paper for one more time.
- A major source of distraction:
I guess we all would agree to the fact that technology can be quite distracting, especially for young minds. And now that a majority of the students across the world is using devices like laptops and tablets, it may seem tempting for them to open a new tab and browse the Facebook or Instagram for a while studying. Statistics show that more than 90 per cent of the population uses social media.
Besides, there are online games, web series, instant messaging apps and lot more elements that cause a distraction for the learners. As you may realise, such frequent distractions can break the concentration of the students, and increase the gap between students and educators.
It is also a concern that the world of technology often disconnects the learners from the real world. So, they do not develop proper communication skills. This makes the students socially awkward.
It is quite evident that technology has a huge impact on the field of education and learning. With e-learning and other digital avenues of education, technology is certainly revolutionising the landscape of education in more than just one way. However, we also cannot ignore the fact that the technology that we are talking about is still in a nascent stage and requires proper implementation.
The good news is that technology is only going to evolve from here. And as it gets better with time, we will be able to close the gaps which are still there in tech-based learning. Whatever the future holds for technology in learning, it is important to realise that technology itself is not bad for learning. It is how we choose to use it, makes all the difference.
Olaila Lee is a marketing expert who is working for an MNC for the past 6 years. She has been associated with Myassignmenthelp as an academic expert for a couple of years and provides assignment help and essay help services Apart from writing engaging blogs on marketing, tech and education trends, she likes hiking and surfing when not wooing her international clients with amazing marketing advice.