In an emerging post-coronavirus world, there has been real spotlight on how we can use technology in more ways everyday. Whether that be contactless bus tickets, Zoom interviews, or answering your front door from your phone, there are endless ways that technology has crept into our lives and living rooms over the past few years.
One undeniable impact modern technology has had is in the classroom. What was once chalkboard and fountain pens are now whiteboards and iPads, and although this can be considered a natural change with time, the coronavirus pandemic has given a huge acceleration to the development and the use of technology in schools.
During the COVID-19 school lockdowns worldwide, there was a rapid shift to digital learning which has evidently lingered long after the schools reopened.
As someone who works in education, I hear a lot of negativity from parents, and even teachers, about technology.
"It's too temperamental." "What was wrong with good old-fashioned paper and pen?" "It's rotting the children's brains!"
But what about the advancements in technology that have supported our children's classroom experiences?
Here is some exploration into some of the benefits of recent technological developments in education:
An improved access to the curriculum
For children with lower or higher abilities than the classroom is catering for, technology and the internet can provide a new avenue to explore for learning, solidifying, and expanding knowledge. For children who are struggling with the comprehension of a topic, using different web sources with different explanations, videos, and visual models that you can find online may be what it takes to make a concept click. For higher ability students, having access to wider source of knowledge outside of what's being taught in the classroom is also important. In general, technology can make learning more immersive, engaging, and tailored. Not all children will understand one teacher's method of teaching, or one textbook's explanation, which is where technology is great for unlimited and endless interpretations and approaches to subjects.
Inclusivity for all students
The rise of Zoom and collaborative online workspaces means that more children and teenagers can access education. Schools can provide children who miss school due to long-term illness or challenging circumstances with online resources and information at the click of a button. This means education can become more accessible to children with disabilities, who may be in hospital frequently, or encouraging those with low attendance to engage with learning from the comfort of their home. For higher education, such as college and university, the boom of online learning has given more students more ways to learn. For those who travel and commute for their education, attending a Zoom class online will save money and time, a step in the right direction of those from a low socioeconomic background having equal learning opportunities.
Many educators know that for children to achieve at school, it has to be supported also in the home, and technology has made this more widely available. Nursery staff can use apps to send real-time photo updates of the children, documenting what they're discovering and when, teachers can communicate with parents throughout the day with messages and reminders, encouraging parents to take a more proactive and involved approach to their children's education, something that is undeniably beneficial. If school can communicate with home easier and more efficiently than ever, this may bring improvements in attendance, home learning, behaviour, and safeguarding.
Overall, various forms of technology have seen rapid increases in use in the last few years, whether that be for learning, teaching or wellbeing in school. Apps, YouTube, internet browsers and online learning platforms have made education more accessible, more attainable, and more tailored to every child in the classroom.
If so much change can happen in a few years, what will the next few years bring? Maybe we'll begin to see virtual reality in the classroom, and perhaps even ways of using technology we haven't even begun to think of yet.
Either way, the future of technology in education is a rapidly changing, exciting one.